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Targeting the right people the job of a foolish marketer.

When a marketer segments the potential customers, spends hours and hours understanding the next move of customers, and hopes to make a meaningful connection with these customers through advertisements, direct mail and what-not, he is obsessing about the wrong aspect of the customer - his characteristics. The profile of customers created by marketers (SEC A,B...) is an old (obsolete?) technique.

It no longer provides competitive advantage.

This classification was useful when mass marketing through TV advertisements was at its peak. It allowed marketers to make an advertisement that a majority of their potential customers could resonate with. Everybody can do this now. Market research agencies are in abundance. Advertising agencies are in abundance. With 600+ TV channels and youtube and hundreds of newspapers and thousands of magazines, media space reserved for advertisements are in abundance. Which means every brand can get a good advertisement out at the right time for what they feel is the right segment of potential customers.

Scarcity makes room for competitive advantage.

Not abundance. What is scarce today? Trust. Customers rarely trust the advertisements that they see. Real. It is very rare to find a brand that lives up to its claims. That is why we single out and praise the few brands that are real. Surprise. Every brand is afraid of making a mistake that will provide a competitor mileage. This is making every brand stick to what is safe, tried and tested. Again, we single out and praise those brands that show surprise.

Brands that are Real, that provide Surprise, and that gain Trust are the ones that will have customers willing to pay a premium for their products. How does a brand achieve these? By focusing on the needs that drive the product rather than obsessing the kind of customers that might buy the product.

With social media and big data accessible by virtually every brand, it is no longer acceptable to be average and to focus on what worked before. It is those who create value and highlight it that will thrive.

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