Narrowcasting (vs. Broadcasting)
Narrowcasting is when you focus your awareness and ad dollars on a pre-selected, pre-qualified, target-rich group of people.
Patrick Byrne, founder of Overstock.com, shared this narrowcasting concept with us on a StartupNation Radio show, and we just loved how it captured the idea so perfectly: find the most interested, most-likely-to-buy target market for what you offer, and deliver your message only to them. Do that, and you’re narrowcasting!
In particular, you can focus on narrow groups of high-quality targets by using the Internet and direct mail. Both of these media, unlike such broadcasters as network TV or billboards, enable you to put your message in front of only those people who have the characteristics to be viable customers.
Types of People to Target
Try to resonate with certain people within your target market – in particular, those who influence others – to start the sales snowball rolling. Do so effectively, and both awareness and demand can spread more rapidly and less expensively than any ad campaign could ever achieve.
We’ve created several categories of people here, building on all of our research and personal experience in offering products and services through our various business ventures.
Know-it-alls, in this case, are knowledgeable. For example, most consumers might not know that a certain product is more expensive at one retailer or another, but know-it-alls certainly do. When you share a news nugget with friends over dinner, say, about “discount tickets to Disney World,” the know-it-all is the one who inevitably responds loudly, “Yeah, I read about that several months ago. But there’s an even better deal through this Web site I use.”
Bloggers are another example of know-it-alls. Their opinion is wielded like a sword to cut through the useless and sub-optimal, and point you instead toward the smartest and best options available.
Earn the admiration of know-it-alls, and people will be hearing great things about you. The word-of-mouth generated can literally make you an instant hit.
These are know-it-alls on steroids! They not only know a lot, but they buy early. Also known as “early adopters,” the know-no-fears are people who are always first on the scene. They have the newest cell phone, this season’s shoes, and maybe that newfangled flat panel TV that doubles as an extra large computer screen (and also lets you have video calls with family members living in Maui).
Also like know-it-alls, more often than not they’re very opinionated, very educated, very smart and very outspoken – and therefore, very influential. By their very use of your product, they can compel other people to warm to it.
Razor Scooter never placed a single conventional advertisement, but put its product in the hands of popular know-no-fear kids and sent them scooting up and down the sidewalks. Guess what? Pretty soon, all the kids were tugging at their parents’ sleeves saying, “I want one!” They sold millions of units and made a mint – end of story.
Get the know-no-fears to embrace what you offer and you just might be on your way to building a more passionate core customer base.
We considered a lot of appropriate names for people in this category, including “blabbermouths,” “chatterboxes,” “big mouths,” “gossips” and “busybodies.” They all worked, but for one thing: We needed something that fit with our “Know-XYZ” theme, so we ended up with “Know-Everyones.”
While people in this category may not be as informed or discriminating as know-it-alls, and might not be as quick to adopt as know-no-fears, they certainly have the edge in who they know and their willingness to talk about it – a lot. Simply put, they know everyone! And as a result, they can be a major catalyst of awareness and demand.
Because they’re so connected, consider seeding the talk of the town by familiarizing Know-Everyones with what you offer.
You know their names, maybe from the tabloids or your trade association, and they’re always in the spotlight. We call this group the “known-by-alls,” and they can have a huge effect on your sales volume.
As we describe in our Key Move featuring Tina Aldatz and FootPetals, there can be major benefit in targeting high-profile “influencers” as customers – even if they get the product free. This includes celebs, but also other high-profile people in the eyes of your customer-base. And, boy, do consumers love to follow them.
For example, if Teri Hatcher was quoted saying, “I think [insert your product name here] is hip,” like she’s done for Tina Aldatz, then watch out! Tina rode a wave of buzz, then a huge spike in sales as more and more celebrities plugged her product.
To get the Known-by-Alls on board, you’ll likely have to work with their publicists. This can take time, but it’s definitely possible.