Who Are You Selling To?
So I’ve had this many times lately, “I have this great new product I want you to try (buy)” or “I’ll open this new place, come over to support us” or “I can teach you how to make healthy choices.” All good stuff and I understand people are passionate about their new beginnings, it’s just that sometimes, and looking at things from the outside, I sadly don’t see these products going far.
That’s probably because I’m not part of it. But then that’s why there’s RESEARCH. Market research, consumers’ needs, how did similar products do? I don’t say that if you do a good market research your product will fly but it’ll probably reach some more clients other than your friends.
Now your friends are not your main clients’ group. They might be your try-me-out bet or they might even advocate for you or buy your products (if they like them they’ll continue to buy them, if not stay assured they won’t) but they’re not the clients you want to reach.
So much of what I see around me as “homemade” or “handmade” or “tailored to my needs” is lacking market research. I’ll buy the product or the ticket to support the initiative, but in order for me to come back, I’d have to need this. You need to sell me something I need, not something that you think I need. And in order for me to get out of my way and come back no matter what, you’d have to sell me something that is special or something I can’t find elsewhere. So those cookies are ok and taste great but I don’t think I’ll come over anytime soon unless I happen to pass by. If your product targets the average consumer then there’s a problem here. If your product is for the few, if it’s something that you channel your creativity into and this is enough, then that’s absolutely fine. This is not what I’m referring to. There are people that dream of living from the product, pay their bills.
And there’s no amount of (online) marketing that can save your reach for long. You can get a boost but the only way to maintain traffic is to have a product your clients need at a constant rate. And work hard, change, adapt, reintroduce, be present, and quit if it’s not what you thought it would be.
I know I’m not saying anything new. It might have been me making the same mistake and introducing something that would make no profit. As an outsider though I see quality products targeting the wrong client segment or quality products similar to many other quality products. Yesterday I was at a market with local products trying to understand the business plan for each idea. Great products but do you really make a living out of it? Are there enough clients that need them? Mass production competition anyone? Such a cliché question but we seem to get it wrong.
Maybe I’m not the average consumer but I’m a big advocate for small businesses and I want to see them thrive. I wish all these products are profitable because I know you put so much love into them.
But please imagine I don’t need another soap, unless…
Realise I won’t buy another pair of sandals, unless…
Understand that I don’t need a workshop in order to learn how to bike. Oh wait; there might be many people who need to learn to ride a bike in Amsterdam. Does anyone want to put this to the test?