Monday, May 5, 2008

An Old Baseball Adage

It’s baseball season, and after just listening on XM radio (love the XM) to my favorite team go down to their fifth straight defeat (get a hold of yourself, Joel, it's a long season...), I'm reminded of a column I fungo'd out to my readers a few seasons back that's still topical today.

Welcome to the National Pastime edition of Not Your Usual Marketing Tips from JDK Marketing Communications Management.
Here's the gist of that previous article:
There was a player around the turn of the century named Wee Willie Keeler. Whenever Willie would step to the plate, the chant would ring out, “Hit’em where they ain’t!” The meaning was simplistically clear: hit the ball where the fielders WEREN’T positioned, to improve the chances for getting a base hit.

What if, metaphorically speaking, you could “hit” your target markets…where your competition “ain’t?”

Most businesses – however small or large – tend to market themselves through the “standard” avenues…the local newspaper, the local weekly, the local regional, radio, TV. And “buckshot” mailings to one’s database of clients, colleagues and friends. Chances are that your industry counterparts are doing mostly that same thing.

Maybe the next time you’re “at bat,” consider going – pardon the pun – farther afield. That is, think about hitting those markets not just among your primary audience but also to the outer periphery of your “spheres of influence.”

A CPA, for instance – whose services are needed by virtually everyone – can make herself the go-to professional with the local remodelers trade association. A chiropractor might want to approach the public library system (think of all that stretching and bending all day long by the staff just to put books away) with clinics exclusively for that organization. A sometime caricature artist might join a wedding and event planners organization to be their unique source of party entertainment. (Hey wait a minute, that's me..!)

This concept goes beyond “target marketing,” though it certainly fits within the category. It’s applying what it is you do to the needs of a market that may not always be that obvious a target.
Maybe there’s a hobby you have, or a weekend passion you love, that can be parlayed into a business opportunity -- by providing your services to fellow aficionados. Do these enthusiasts have associations? Do they have meetings? Do they have means, i.e. literature or promotional materials, by which they communicate with one another…and in which you can contribute an ad or, better yet, an informative article?

Next time you grab that metaphorical bat and stand in the box…you may want to think outside of it every now and then. And hit’em where they ain’t.

See you again the first Tuesday of next month, with another slugging edition of Not Your Usual Marketing tips.

Joel Kweskin