Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Is your product or service 'One Size Fits All' ?

A meeting with a sizable Norfolk based business during the week reminded me of an analogy I have used in the past when running sales and marketing workshops.

Making your product or service appeal to a much wider audience can be a challenge for many, and even seem unnecessary to others.

Niche is king and specialising can be the route to fame and fortune.

But does making that product 'one size fits all' mean you are missing out on extra buyers and profit?

Think for a moment about a flight from London Heathrow to New York JFK.

It's simply an aeroplane that takes it's passengers quickly and efficiently between the two points in order to achieve something beyond the flight itself.

For some it's an essential to their job and the important part is the work at the destination. For others it could be the first part of a very special holiday. It could even be an trip to visit a relative in ill health at an inconvenient time financially.

But they will all travel on the same 'plane, on the same route and to the same destination.

Some of those people will want to make the flight part of the experience and really enjoy it, others will need to relax as much as possible to be fresh for the challenges on arrival, some will need to manage the trip as cheaply as possible.

The mainstream airlines deal with this extremely well by dividing up that metal tube into First, Business and Cattle Class. Each section has it's own level of service, comfort and added value with a price tag to match - but it's still just a flight between the two points.

Understanding your customers is the key.

You probably feel that the vast majority of your customers fit into the 'cattle class' bracket and you may well be right. The airlines allocate more seats to that category than to the others. But they still realise that there is value, and profit, in providing the higher levels too.

Think about your own product and customers. How could you offer a First and Business class variation? Or conversely, if that's where your products are now, how could you offer a budget version - maybe under a different brand so that you don't devalue your current status?

What would that include? What would you need to charge? What would you have to do in your marketing and sales to ensure that those likely, and in a financial position, to take up the offer could see the benefits and value.

And remember that, if you are going up a level, those benefits will not be the ground level result of getting from A to B. They are more likely to be about status, dreams, lifestyle and goals. You need to tap into them.

If you need inspiration visit the website for Bentley cars. That site doesn't sell cars. It's sells the feeling of pride and pleasure you will have from owning one. Then go to Kia cars and see the difference!

If you need help working out how best to sell your products, just ask.