The High End

I often encounter people when talking about marketing, referring to ‘the high end’ of the ‘market.

Hmmm . . . can’t recall anyone talking about the ‘low end’ though – wonder why?

They want their product or service to appeal to or attract the ‘high end’.

Now most people would assume that this means people of ‘high net worth’, people ‘with money’, people whose first consideration is not the price.

Or people representing businesses of that ilk.

(Remember that there’s no such thing as B to B – unless it’s all carried out by robots).

But of course, marketing isn’t all about ‘business’.

Sometimes it’s about people.

Or more to the point, you and I communicating to other people what we have to offer.

As a friend, as a partner, as a spouse, as a parent, as a child – and so on.

There’s so much confusion about what ‘marketing’ really is.

Which is not surprising.

As a marketing tutor at Warwick Business School I came into contact with lots of marketers, and lots of marketing textbooks and papers.

There is no common definition of what ‘marketing’ actually is.

Every expert and every practitioner has their own.

This is mine:

“Marketing is what you do so that you don’t need to sell.”

This of course depends on the concept of ‘selling’ as a form of personal persuasion – a last resort to get someone to buy – or buy into – some thing or some idea.

If you do the marketing well, then the ‘buyer’ will ‘sign the order’ or ‘agree to the deal’ without question.

They won’t need to be persuaded because they’ve already been convinced by the marketing that this is what they want.

(Perhaps it’s about time politicians learned a bit about marketing rather than engaging in what seems to be a constant ‘sales’ battle!)

You may think I’m talking semantics here but there is a distinct difference. Marketing does not necessarily require person to person contact – but sales does.

But what is this ‘high end’ that everyone seems to want?

Well, it’s really whatever ‘target’ market you decide to choose.

And what is a ‘target’ market?

The target market – and you’d be surprised (or maybe not) how many so-called marketers forget this – are the people (or people in businesses) most likely to want what you have to offer.

They are the people who will want it whatever the price.

They are the people who are already looking to solve the problem or provide the benefit that your offering satisfies.

They are the people who want it, whatever it is, now.

And there’s a really important distinction to remember . . .

They are not the people who need it!

Well, they may need it but if they don’t want it, that’s their problem. It’s not your job as a marketer or a sales person to persuade people to buy something they need but they don’t want.

Unless of course you’re some sort of masochist who just loves being rejected!

People will always buy what they want at the expense of things that they need.

Of course, if they want it and need it so much the better, but it’s surprising how infrequently that occurs.

The ‘high end’ are not just people with cash to spare.

If they don’t want what you’re offering they’re not going to be interested, they won’t buy it anyway just because they can. They will always spend their money on what they want.

I define the ‘high end’ as this

  • They want what you’re offering
  • They want to solve a problem that your offering addresses
  • They want a benefit that your offering provides
  • They will find the money regardless

And when you do the marketing properly you will attract the ‘low hanging fruit’ who –

  • Want what you are offering as opposed to an alternative
  • Want it now, or yesterday!

Identifying this ‘high end’ target market needs to be precise.

It’s not about people who might need your stuff, it’s about identifying the problems people want to solve and the benefits they want to get.

So what problems does your offering solve?

What benefits does your offering provide?

Here’s an exercise – just for fun, but hopefully to make a point.

Imagine you’re looking for a life partner.

  • What are the problems you could solve for him or her?
  • What are the unique benefits that you can provide them?

Who is your target market?

And I don’t want to cause any ‘trouble’, but if you have a life partner – how well did you do?

Identify your ‘market’ – the people or person you are wanting to attract in terms of problems and benefits in relation to what you have to offer.

If there isn’t a ‘match’ then you’re looking at the wrong target.

And of course, hitting the wrong target is just a waste of effort. A bit like climbing up the latter when it’s against the wrong wall.

It might get you somewhere, but probably not where you want to go.

The ‘high end’ is the bullseye in your target market.

There may be other potential ‘purchasers’, all well and good, but although they may show ‘interest’ in what you have to offer, although they (in your opinion at least) may ‘need’ what you have to offer, they aren’t who you want.

Apply the dating analogy again – it’s actually quite helpful!