What can you learn about target marketing from Taco Bell, Amazon and The Big Bang Theory?
Innovative businesses seem to always WIN! Whether being first to the market, improving the shopping experience, introducing a new marketing plan, or making life easier, the Pioneers of Commerce make their mark and their money, leaving their competition to choke on a dust cloud.
Step one of innovation is to make sure there are buyers for your new products or services. Innovation without an audience goes unrewarded in the business world. So, you select your target market and create plans and products that they will enjoy and BUY! The cool thing is once in a while you hit your target dead center, and also hit the outer rings, getting new customers you weren't even aiming at.
It seems that EVERYTHING is being directed towards Millennials, these days, and why not? They are a large portion of our population, just now becoming viable consumers. You’ve read it before-they think, act, work, and shop differently than Baby Boomers and Gen X. Certain businesses have directed all of their efforts towards gaining the attention of this new generation. And while no one will ever confuse me with being a Millennial, I do enjoy some of the operations that cater to them.
Taco Bell Your Assortment
You have to be nimble and innovative to be successful in the fast food business. No one will mistake Taco Bell for a five star restaurant, in fact their slogan oughta be “It’s not food, it’s fill”. But check out their menu. There are six basic ingredients and 75 menu items. They mix up assemblies of beans, tortillas, cheese, meat (?), sauce, and sour cream. Every month they have new menu items “for a limited time only” and some are only a buck! Since every item is made on demand, they can change out ingredients to make it your way. You can fill your Mega-drink as much as you want, and they don’t even mind if you take a few packs of sauce home. I know this because when I started out in business I lived on Top Ramen seasoned with Mild Sauce. It tasted just like POVERTY!
Do yourself a favor and stop by the Bell sometime around the noon hour. You’ll expect to see some young moms and kids there plus working men and women who don't want to spend a lot to grab a quick lunch. While there, you may be surprised to see a different customer demographic, retirees and seniors! They may not want to make a run for the border, but in my last few trips, about half of the dining room was filled with patrons 65+years old. There is not one shred of Yum! Brand advertising directed towards them, yet Memaw and Papaw are standing at the counter ordering a Quesarito and Escondido with extra sauce.
There is so much written and discussed about marketing to Millennials. I encourage you to reach out and grab that audience before the store down the street does. But if you copy the winners, then you’ll probably never lose! Take time to “TACO BELL” your product assortment. Your store probably has five or six ingredients that make up your most common sellers. Think about arranging them in different combinations, all with a value price to give your shopper a LIMITED TIME opportunity. And if Taco Bell can make up 300 special orders during the 45-minute lunch rush EVERY DAY, you can custom tailor your product selection so each shopper walks away buying a combination made just to their taste.
Big Bang Your Shopping Experience
Another operation targeted towards Millennials is the popular TV Show The Big Bang Theory. Now in its tenth season, the show is a story of computer nerds interacting with the world in general, and the unobtainable “Popular” Girl. For us, the show is entertainment. For CBS, it’s big bucks catering to the younger people that national advertisers love to spend big bucks to attract. Between the Network airing of new shows and cable reruns, you can view this show 20 times a week! Check out the audience. The viewing age ranges from 15 to 85! And, just like Taco Bell, not one part of the show, or the marketing budget devoted to promoting that show is directed towards anyone over the age of 35.
THE BIG BANG THEORY is successful, not because of the target market or subjects covered. It’s a winner because it’s just plain entertaining. Many of us can identify with being the out-of-place person wanting to fit in with the "A" crowd. Listen to your sales associates' presentations. If they include fact after fact after boring fact, you might as well give your shopper a spec card. People buy from people that they like, and they like to be entertained, but hat doesn’t mean juggling or card tricks, and definitely not the accordion. But it does mean having fun, changing voice levels, and using demonstrations that are interactive, logical, and FUN!
Amazon Your Selection
Most retail stores arrange their merchandise in aisles. Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and even the local Frugal Hoosier have an aisle for every category. Your store may be arranged the same way, whether by color, style, room, or price point. And like all good things, those aisles are finite, limited by the space inside your four walls. The number two retailer in North America has endless aisles, and you never wasted a footstep shopping them. In the jungle of retailing, AMAZON started as a book seller for those savvy enough to shop online at the turn of this century. They appealed to a younger crowd that didn’t want to walk through a store and wanted an endless selection of book titles which could be sent right to their home. After a while Jeff Bezos figured out he could add clothes, tools, appliances, auto parts, and more merchandise than you could dream of, where you had 1000 choices but never had to drive anywhere or stand in line to pay. Lately they’ve added food, household cleaning supplies, and, in some markets can deliver on the same day. It may have been in the back corner of Jeff’s mind, but he probably never imagined that seniors, some without driver’s licenses or limited mobility, would LOVE the idea of point, click, and buy, then have the UPS driver bring purchases to their door.
Your physical selling space is limited by the space in your store, whether it's 3000 square feet or a couple of acres under a roof. But you can get out the wall stretchers and offer the same endless isles just like Amazon. You can act like it’s still 1974 and keep a few catalogs around that will be out of date in six months, or you can party like it’s 2017 and get that same information online and present it on a tablet.
Product demos, local and national TV spots, spec sheets, and even some of the information from the Evil Empire down the street that wants to take sales and the resulting money out of your bank account, can all be stored on an iPad. Imagine how easy life will be when your shopper says they saw your commercial and want to get that HOT deal. You can just click your tablet to see that commercial.
You may be living under the false hope that people HAVE to touch and feel your product category before they will buy it. That’s probably the same thing Ma and Pa Bezos thought before little Jeffy went out and created Amazon!
Now Build Your Business
If you know your products and your audience, then you have a good foundation to build your business. Be prepared to sell your merchandise one shopper at a time, no matter their age or income and you’ll build your business every day!