Posts Tagged Audiences

Who are your Competitors?

Posted by on Sunday, 19 January, 2014
Who are your competitors

Image courtesy of Amazon via Geekwire

Last week Amazon launched their back-to-school campaign by attacking independent college bookstores on their own turf – literally.

As reported by Shelf Awareness and GeekWire, they set up displays on at least four college campuses across the US and college-aged promo teams approached students with the Amazon Student program and offering the chance to save $1,000s on text books.

There was outrage. How dare big, bad Amazon be so cruel to independent bookstores?

“New Amazon Low: Trying to Steal Customers Outside Indie Store” – Shelf Awareness

The outrage was misplaced.

I don’t know a single independent bookstore who should consider Amazon a competitor.

Really, I don’t. And I can explain.

Do you know who your competitors are? Why are they your competitors? There are many different models you can use to do this. I like looking at the customers/target market, after all, they’re the ones handing over the cash.

Let’s use the Amazon and independent bookstores situation as a case study. To make it easier, I’m going to refer to all independent bookstores as one organization.

First make a buyer persona of your customers. Current and ideal works well. To keep this concise, I’m only going to look at the buyer motivators of customers from each organization. You will have multiple buyer personas, but I’m cutting this down.

Independent Bookstores
- value-driven
- passionate: genre-focused geeks
- community-minded
- local

Next list your competitors, and make possible buyer personas for whom you assume are their customers.

Amazon
- price-driven
- wants range and choice
- often geographically diverse

Have a look at the motivators for each buyer. Are they the same across organizations? How vast is the difference?

Your competitors are only the ones with the same customers.

Going back to our case study, you’ll notice the motivators never overlap; they are not the same customers.

An Amazon customer will seek out the lowest price.

An independent bookstore customer will pay full price for their books, knowing they can ask the bookseller for recommendations, attend book clubs, meet their favorite authors, etc. Sure, they love a bargain, but that’s a bonus, not the reason.

Should the Independent Bookstores Ignore Amazon?

Business plans are dynamic, so never totally ignore your “not-competitors”. They may change tactics, or you may change tactics and try to reach their customer. Just don’t focus on them and ignore your customers. The Amazon campaign was cheeky, but not something the college bookstores should be worried about. Leave the low margin customers to Amazon, and focus on providing value to your customers who may initially purchase text books, but come back for gift books and stationery.

Disclaimer: While I haven’t included any information or inferred anything that isn’t public, I do need to state that I am current contracted to the University Bookstore in Washington. I’m the Husky photographer for the online store, and help out with PR in any downtime. I wasn’t in the office during the Amazon campaign or involved in any of the communications around it.

The Impossible Post – Trying to categorize social media platforms

Posted by on Monday, 3 June, 2013

Social Media Audiences Research TableThis post could just as easily been called, “A blog post that takes three minutes to read takes three hours to write.”

This is about yesterday’s post. In summary, it tells how you can’t match social media platforms directly to audiences. If you haven’t read it, check it out.

I started researching and writing that post in March and spent lots of hours on it before posting. It changed focus three times and most of the research was discarded.

I tried matching each platform with a typical user profile. Something like, 30-40 year old mother, college educated, middle income = Pinterest. That one is reasonably accurate, but can’t be done for the other platforms. The platforms are all too general, and different people use them for different purposes.

Lots of stats were collated in the process and it would be a shame not to share. So here’s the base table.

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Tumblr Instagram Google+ LinkedIn
Active Members / Total Members > 1 billion / not disclosed 140 million / 500 million Unknown 108 million blogs Unknown / 80 million+ Unknown / 400 million Unknown / 200 million
Age 18-24 (33%) 25-34 (23%) 23-34 (30%) Under 25 Unknown Unknown 35-44 (26%)
Gender Female (57%) Female (55%) Female (80%) Unknown Unknown Male (68%) – 2011 data Male (65%)
Life Stage Unknown Has kids (55%) Settled, family (50% have kids), buying house late teens/ young adult Unknown Single (42% versus 27% married); Student (20%) Unknown
Education Unknown No college (49%) Unknown Unknown Unknown Unknown College (50%)

Lots of the gaps come from generalized data not being released by the companies (ahem, facebook), or the data available being out-of-date or inconclusive. The Pew Research Center does some great work polling users to see their usage. Their research is limited by how they conduct the polls (via telephone), the rules governing polling minors (they decided not to, which skews away from Tumblr), and the size of their sample. For an international study, I don’t feel it can be statistically significant.

Other stats may be out there, but after several fruitless hours I gave up.

References used include:
Wikipedia: Tumblr
The Huffington Post: 100 Fascinating Social Media Statistics and Figures from 2012
facebook: Media Room – Key Facts
Linked In Facts and Figures (Infographic)
Pinteresting Enough: Who Uses Pinterest (Infographic)

Thank you to Matt Forsyth, Nicole Gary and Neil Parekh  for your help choosing which platforms and how to position the research.

PS, sorry for the silly-looking table. The site redesign is close and will make it look better.

Search Engine Marketing is about being compelling… not creepy

Posted by on Tuesday, 13 December, 2011

When I was first at university, a friend and I would watch television advertisements and compete to pick the target audience first. Later, I took it a step further to pick the advertiser’s goal.

I’m struggling with this one…

 

The keywords are perfect to target the vlogbrothers and their fans. However, Google continually reminds us to make the image compelling enough to get people to click. That’s compelling, not creepy.

Display network ads are great for branding. Is he trying to brand himself? Gain awareness of his love of Hank and John Green, aka the Vlogbrothers? I’m older than the typical teen/young adult nerdfighter (as the vlogbrothers fans call themselves), but all this ad has done is frighten me.

If anyone knows the goal of this campaign or who this guy is, please let me know. There is no way I’m clicking the ad.

Check out the video and the Vlogbrothers here.