flowing motion

2nd secret of social media. Find more lucrative niches

Posted on: October 28, 2009

Think change in your market, not growth

The 1st opportunity that marketers have kept to themselves is that we can change with our markets.  Markets flex and morph quite naturally.  If we are fixed on growth, or grabbing market share, we are sadly missing the point.  Our reports need to be about change.  How is our market changing?[!]  When we closely in touch with the heaving, sighing, pulsating, shape-changing nature of the market, then we are in the game!

The 2nd opportunity marketers don’t tell us about is that we can move up the value chain. We can expand the margin in each hit.

Noobes and margins

Now I know that when we are new in business, we are obsessed with getting any hits, making any margin!

Please don’t be distracted though. Psychology comes into play here.  Getting started is fundamentally linked to getting finished!  If there is one thing that psychologists know, it is that when we know what we want, we ‘go like a train’. If we are not ‘going like a train’, if we are procrastinating, we don’t know what we want.  It is really that simple.

And how do we know what we want?  By getting out there and trying out the choices. We humans think better when real experience is in the mix. We don’t get anywhere when we are going against the flow or when we are telling people that we want one thing one day and another thing the next day. We confuse them and ourselves.   So we get out there, to learn how the world works, and to be clear about the parts we want to be part of.

That’s why noobes are no different (except psychologically) from people who have been in the game a while. We are constantly learning the market and figuring out what part we want to ‘play in’.

Low cost or high differentiation

Business strategists will tell us one of the first things we must think about is whether we are going to “buy them cheap and stack them high” or “do something very special for a few people and charge a lot”.

Obviously, in real life, there are permutations on the theme. The point is to be clear in our own minds what we are doing and experiment wisely so that we get clearer and clearer as we take small steps to get experience.  When we are unclear, we muddy our offering and our customers are unclear what they are buying and unsurprisingly, don’t buy!

Use social media to figure out whether to be low cost or high value

Now social media, doing business in virtual space or via the cloud, gives us opportunity for experimenting safely in the ways we can’t in real life.

We get window shoppers in the real world.  In the virtual world, we get a lot more. If we are wide awake, we might notice slightly different people arriving to have a peek.

Real life is so constricting

Let’s take an example.  Let’s imagine that a granny comes and peeks in our teenage store. In the real world, we have limited choices. We can’t run down the street and talk to her – who will mind the shop? We can’t drop what we are doing to entertain her – we have other customers. We can’t change the entire shop’s display to answer her questions.  We have teenage customers who come to do teenage things.  The real world has constraints – real constraints.

In the virtual world, it is dead simple to add another room!

But in the virtual world, we can add another “room” quite easily. Granny can look around our teenage store and we can lay out another page that allows grannies to talk to other grannies about their concerns. We don’t have to shut them out or exclude them. We also don’t have to demand that they pretend to be teenagers with teenage concerns. Any social media site like Facebook, Ning, etc. allows them (and us) to set up new pages, new groups and new activities.

We can also ‘run down the street’ after some who just peeked and didn’t stay. Google Alerts give us some idea of where they go. We can go and look and ask them, or people like them, what they are looking for. Herein lies the possibilities. Our peekers may be shy but we can get them to open up!

Stay clear by keeping your ‘virtual bundles’ clear

How does this relate to being clear, you might ask?  Teenagers and grannies? Aren’t we getting mixed up. Quite possibly. We can mix up anything.

I want you to remember that we didn’t begin by being all things to all people. Grannies arrived in the normal way that markets morph as their that underlying social networks twist and turn, shrink and replenish.

Our teenage store brings grannies to see.  People explore the world more readily online where they can window shop discreetly. Rather than shutting out unexpected visitors, we can draw them in.  In the virtual world, we can do that without watering down our offering to our primary market. Virtual real estate is very cheap compared to real shops rentals!

Some virtual bundles will allow you much better margins per hit

To continue the example- I have no idea what grannies will spend in your new store, or spend in the next door store buying gifts for their grandchildren, but you get the idea.

Your business will morph naturally with the morphing of the market – if you decide to dance in step with it.  If you try to make the market dance in step with you, you’ll get nowhere very fast.

Social media allows business opportunities to find you .  .  . if you want to be found

My message is this, by looking out for change you may find opportunities to increase the margin per hit.

It is a big mistake just to look at your numbers. At the end of each evening, also ask yourself how you were surprised. What was unexpected?

Are opportunities arriving at your site that you aren’t seeing because you have developed the tunnel vision (of greed)?

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