Sunday, December 14, 2014

Who’s going to buy THAT? (A Note about Your Mini-markets)

“I’m in business, and lots of people want what I’m selling.”

I meet a lot of people, and when I meet them, many of them tell me a statement…just like that.

I don’t run anything like the Shark Tank TV show, but I hear more than my share of business ideas and plans.  A few of them are good.  A few of them are really impressive.

Most of them, however, just plainly are underdeveloped.  (There isn’t enough there to say that “it stinks.”)

I don’t care if you have a really neat product idea, prototype, or inventory.  I don’t care if you are able to provide awesome service.

As a business person, you need to be able to answer the question, “WHO is going to buy (what you’re offering)?”

Mini-Markets: Who is going to buy that?

Since I help run an online marketing club, many people attend these and want to know how to get more business.

Honestly, this is a fair question…and a good want.

Unfortunately, there is NOT any catch-all location where you can sell to “everybody.”  There is NO place that everyone goes to buy things.

Even the largest companies have their target markets.  They realize that there are some people that will NEVER buy what they’re offering, and that’s okay.  These larger companies understand that there are “mini-markets” of people or companies that will.  (Often, each mini-market is called a market niche.)

At least, THAT is part what they plan.

The best companies identify their pool of mini-markets of people who are likely going to respond to them…and hopefully buy from them.

It starts with the key question, “Who is going to buy that from me?”

Only some people fitting within a certain niche are going to buy from you.

Example: Grocery Stores and Mini-Markets

To make my point more clearly, let’s compare three large companies that most people in the US will know pretty well: ALDI, Kroger, and Whole Foods.

ALDI: A discount grocery retailer.
ALDI: Anyone wanting to shop for grocery store bargains is likely to consider ALDI.  There are other similar stores, and people might visit and buy from those other stores, but ALDI knows its market.  Nobody looking for the highest-end of everything will visit ALDI.  If you want a large variety, ALDI is not your place.  ALDI has one major goal: selling items (mostly groceries) at discount prices.  To be fair, most of their stuff really isn't too bad.  (In fact, some of it is really quite good.)

Q: Who is going to buy that?

A: People looking to buy groceries at the cheapest price possible.

Whole Foods Market: A grocery store with mostly high-end and natural products.
Whole Foods Market: This is a store that is NOT known for having the least expensive prices, but they cater to a few different mini-markets.  Many foods at Whole Foods Market is natural and maybe even organic.  There is definitely a niche of people who are willing to pay extra to reduce artificial products entering their bodies.  Another mini-market they have is people who want to purchase higher end products.  One of their other mini-markets is people who want easier access to specialty groceries.  There are people who only shop at Whole Foods, and this store does a great job of catering to them.

Q: Who is going to buy that?

A: Three main groups of people: (a) people looking to buy natural or organic products, (b) people who want access to the best higher end items, and (c) people who want to visit one place that has many specialty items.

Kroger: Probably a grocery store near you.
Kroger: This is, by far, the oldest company of the three.  Over the years, Kroger has become a supermarket, meaning that it carries far more than groceries.  Of course, today most grocery stores do.  Of the three, Kroger offers prices that in mid-range between what you would expect to see at ALDI or Whole Foods Market, but they also tend to have the largest selection. Ironically, this store is the least defined niche, and it is not easy to define its market.  Mostly, it’s the leftover middle.  It’s a fine enough store, but the company’s age and financial backing most likely saves them.  Today, most people know the Kroger name.  Most people go here, because it’s not that expensive, and it usually is geographically convenient.  There are, by far, more Kroger locations than either ALDI or Whole Food Market stores, which means most people are closer to a Kroger store than they are to one of the others.

Q: Who is going to buy that?

A: This is the hardest to answer, but mostly, it is people who want to shop at a well-known place that won’t cost them top dollar.  Mostly, it just has to be convenient to where they live or work.  This is a store that tries to cater to "everybody."
Summary: Identifying Your Mini-Markets

If a Whole Foods Market store near you suddenly left, most likely there would be some outrage.

If an ALDI store near you suddenly left, most likely there would be disappointment.

If a Kroger store near you suddenly left, most likely people would just find another store, because there are plenty of other stores just like it.  (If Kroger started its business today, it would have a hard time duplicating its success...unless it targeted a certain niche.)

If you have or represent a business, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier to discuss when it’s target market is well-defined...when you know your mini-market(s).

If you’re just starting your business, you’re probably not as big as Kroger.  So people won’t be able to relate to your business simply by its name.

Most likely, you will make it easier to have conversations about your business with other people if you can explain which types of people are likely to buy what you are offering.

If you don’t know who should be buying it, how can anyone else refer those people to you...or decide for themselves that THEY want to buy from you?

It might be more than one (type of) person who should buy from you, but make sure you know who it is.  Make sure that you can count them...not just say "Everybody."

Everyone isn’t buying your stuff.  Trust me.  Nobody in the market is buying that, especially not from anyone new!

Remember that only some people fitting within a certain niche are going to buy from you.  Make sure that you know that niche.  More importantly, make sure that niche is really buying from you.

You can't market to "them" if you don't know who "they" are.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hey there! Thank you for taking time to read my post and share your thoughts with me and my other readers. I'm always tickled when I get a non-SPAM comment. Honestly, sometimes I'm even okay with some borderline SPAM.

Let me know if you would like for me to address a topic by sending me an email at

Thanks, again. I look forward to seeing you soon.