February 16, 2014

Monday Mailbag

We have one question this week, and it's a good one - it comes from Charles:  Your quote from last week makes a lot of sense to me ... "The future is proprietary merchandise that customers love, sold at a fair price with amazing customer service and a compelling story, yielding healthy gross margins that enable enough profit to pay employees well and allow the business to invest in the future." But how do you get the word out? What is the optimal customer acquisition strategy for 2014/2015? Sure, every brand is different and unique, but if you were launching an outerwear brand today, how would you do it? Clean slate.

In the context of outerwear, competition is fierce. Here's The North Face, for instance:

Look at what is communicated here. We have free ground shipping, we have a cause that customers can support, we have easy navigation (including featured products below the fold).

Each of the tabs takes us to a different story.

Now let's look at the other side of the coin - Amazon.

Notice the difference in selling technique? More on that in a moment.

First, I'm going to decide who my target audience is.

  • June - age 77.
  • Judy - age 61.
  • Jennifer - age 45.
  • Jasmine - age 29.
  • Jadyn - age 13.
Now that I know my audience, I'm going to decide where I stand on the pricing/fashion continuum. Am I fashion-centric, charging expensive prices with fat gross margins? Or am I battling everybody else in a race to see who is last to lose to Amazon?

Finally, I'm going to decide on my selling "style". Do I tell a story like The North Face? Or do I use Amazon's style of selling?

Of course, you can pay to get your message out there ... June / Judy / Jennifer / Jasmine / Jadyn all have channels that they prefer, so if I want to get my message out there to Jennifer, I might invest wisely in search to get my first $3,000,000 of sales in the bank. If my customer is Jasmine, I'm all over social/mobile as my way to get my first $3,000,000 in the bank. If my customer is Judy - I'm creating a catalog and I'm renting names from my competitors via co-ops like there is no tomorrow. The audience determines how I invest my money.

But most importantly, my story must be worthy of word of mouth. I know, this sounds pithy, but if I'm not doing anything that is worthy of getting customer to talk, then why I am even in business? What is the story I'm going to tell? Why would my customers share my story with their friends?

The storytelling aspect of marketing is seriously underrated. If I'm a reasonably new business, I need a story, a point of view, something that differentiates me from everybody else. Visit Mizzen and Main (click here). Do you see a point of view, a story, that differentiates them from everybody else?  This story, this point of view, is completely missing from marketing. It's the point of view that gets people to talk about you and to share your story early in your development. That's where I'd invest the majority of my time.

Ok, time for your thoughts. How would you "get the word out"?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Hey Kevin,
    Do you think this is good storytelling?



  3. I think it is a credible introduction for new visitors / customers, sure.


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