…And You Shouldn’t Try.
When we first started selling our LED jewelry, I thought I could (and should) sell to everyone.
After a few craft shows with NO sales, I realized this was patently false.
The one or two customers we did have were geeks and nerds like us. In hind sight it seems obvious who our target market would be, but we are engineers and selling does NOT come naturally to us. We thought if we built it, they would come. Turns out Kevin Costner was wrong. Jerk.
So if geeks and nerds are not found in large numbers at craft fairs or art shows, where can they be found?
Sci-Fi, Gaming, and Comic Cons.
It was a forehead smacking moment. Do’h!
Once we narrowed our marketing and attended genre specific events, we had a lot more success. We actually broke even at a few shows rather than bleeding money! Yippee!!
And we had more fun. We would have attended these shows anyway and now they were a company expense. Bonus!
What we stubbed our toe on is a concept marketers have known for decades, niche marketing. It involves highlighting how a product is different and speaking directly to a small but passionate group.
Small but passionate group, that describes geeks and nerds alright.
And this is the perfect strategy for us little guys. We don’t have the marketing budget to pay for a big enough megaphone to cut through the noise to get attention. And we don’t need to.
Our unique awesome-sauce speaks for itself and attracts people like moths to a bug-zapper. Er, maybe that’s a bad analogy…
Anyway, we connect with our customers on a much deeper level than Coke or Apple ever could.
They’re cool people like us (High School doesn’t count). We get them because we ARE them. More friends, yeah!
I still have people (who don’t know marketing) tell me I should’t use the word “geek” etc. They say it might turn some people away.
I am positive our marketing does turn some people off, and I am 100% ok with that (now).
We are a 2 engineer operation and only need a relatively small number of customers to make a decent living.
Taking over the world would be nice, but I’ll settle for work paid vacations to GenCon. It’s not a bad alternative. 😉
Speaking of GenCon, Lesson #4: Networking and Stalking.