How Do You See Your Market?

Connoisseur GogglesToday, my business-building friend, we’re on a mission … an ongoing mission to to expose an insidious blind spot affecting Main Street business owners, like you … a blind spot that is most likely leading you astray.

The target of today’s exposé?

An all too common case of wearing “connoisseur goggles” best described by Youngme Moon:

“Where a connoisseur sees the differences, a novice see the similarities. Where a connoisseur can discern subtle shades of distinction based on nuanced asymmetries, a novice lacks the necessary filters to canvas, to organize, to sift an assortment in a meaningful way,” says Youngme Moon. “Where a connoisseur can navigate a category with effortless intuition, a novice will struggle to find beginning, middle, or end.”

So let’s be clear about the role you play as a Main Street business owner: YOU’RE the connoisseur … you’re intimate with your products and services … you’re steeped in your market and competitive environment.

But, your customer is NOT.

Put simply, she doesn’t have the time, energy or desire to be ANYTHING BUT a novice. Yes, a well-informed novice – but still a novice when compared to you. (Let’s face it, she’s not even close to being in your league.)

And with a mind-boggling volume of advertising messages confronting her daily – as well as a million and one other things tugging at her mind – your customer’s attention span is running on fumes.

What’s more, viewing your market as a connoisseur sends you into even deeper waters, especially when analyzing your competition.

Take my word for it:

The moment you place your time and energy into a game of one-upmanship – a game that drives you to the point of an insatiable madness where you drool, obsess and COPY every feature and benefit offered by your competition – well, YOU LOSE. You lose your identity … you lose your point of differentiation – and most importantly … you lose credibility with your customer.

Once this happens, you and your competition begin to look like drab and lifeless clones. Worse yet, you begin promoting features and benefits that your customer cares nothing about.

In other words, you’re answering questions NO ONE was asking, and you’re doing NOTHING to stand out from all the available choices in the market.

That, my friend, is a surefire way to lose sales.

So rather than drive your marketing efforts by imitating the competition – focus on providing value that plays to your strengths and speaks to the customer’s felt need. This will help you to remove your connoisseur goggles and rise above the copycat-mentality that’s pulling you under and preventing you from looking remarkable in the eyes of your customer.

P.S. If you enjoy reading WonderBranding, why not tell your friends and colleagues about us? Just send an email to everyone you know who runs a Main Street business … works in marketing … or writes copy – and invite them to visit our blog.

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4 Responses to “How Do You See Your Market?”

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  1. Daniel says:

    The Youngme Moon quote describes my situation perfectly. I’m definitely a connoisseur trying to market to novices. I do make a point of being available to answer questions about my products, but very few people ever ask those questions.

  2. Tom Wanek says:

    Daniel, are you referring to questions that you believe are important as a connoisseur?

    If so, try and get to the heart of what’s important to your prospects and the questions they believe are important. I know it’s hard. Ask your front-line employees which questions are most frequently asked. Also visit Internet forums where your customers congregate. These techniques should give you a different perspective into the heart and minds of your customers.

    Let me know how it goes!

  3. Daniel says:

    I’m a one-man operation. I don’t have employees. I posted on my blog, that people should send me questions, and I’d answer them on the blog. But no one sent me a question. I do participate in a couple of forums dedicated to hypnosis. But most participants are other hypnotists or people trying to learn how to be hypnotist, not people who want to be hypnotized.

    I’ve created hypnosis mp3s/CDs that are both entertaining and helpful for people wanting to explore their sexual fantasies. And I do everything I can to create a unique (even artistic) experience for my listeners. But I see less talented hypnotists selling 5-10x more than I do.

  4. Tom Wanek says:

    Actually, that’s not all that different from a marketing blog. Many of our readers our colleagues or fellow consultants. Keep trying to get questions, even if you have to gather them offline somehow.

    Daniel, I dislike consulting from the hip … especially since I’m unfamiliar with your product and market. Just keep in mind that when it comes to marketing *everything* matters. Plenty of business owners have built a better mousetrap so to speak, but that doesn’t mean that they will dominate their competition.

    Some questions to ponder:
    Does your competition do a better job explaining their products?
    How about demonstrating or presenting their products?
    In other words, do they have a more compelling marketing message?
    Do they do a better job transferring confidence?
    Does your offer differ somehow from that of your competition?
    How does your prospect feel when he looks for the kind of product you’re selling?
    How does your prospect feel about your industry? (Honest, untrustworthy, glamorous, risky?)
    What is your prospect’s most urgent problem regarding this issue?
    If he/she could wave a magic wand, what would he want more than anything else in this area?
    What does he/she want most to avoid?

    I could go on and on … these questions are only a handful that you should consider. And as you probably noticed, these questions are strategic in nature. This is where I would start.

    Best of luck!

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