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The Marketing Sweet Spot

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concept from Harvard Business Review


What’s in the Sweet Spot?

What is in the sweet spot in your market? Several companies like Redfin are seeking a targeted sweet spot that they feel no one else can touch- in their case it’s techno types (although they swear it’s not). But what about in your market?

Is it lit sale signs? Is that unique enough that competitors can’t touch you? Or is it your email campaign, your blog, your television commercials, your print ads, your hosted happy hours, your involvement with social media, or your charity work? Is the sweet spot in the appearance of your marketing, your copy, your tone, your font choice? Is the sweet spot in your commission structure offerings, your rebates, your donating 10% of all income to Habitat for Humanity? Is it in your designations, your eco-broker title, your GRI, NAR, TAR, etc written on your business card? Is it in your wardrobe, your hair style, your awesome shoes?

Where exactly is the sweet spot for you? Could it be a multitude of the aforementioned? My feeling is that most people don’t realize there’s a sweet spot that their competitors can’t touch. Many think that business is simply going with the flow and simply trying to do things better or differently, but in every situation, there is always a sweet spot that no competitor can get to, no matter how hard they try.

Lani is the Chief Operating Officer at The American Genius - she has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH and Austin Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Matt Wilkins

    July 7, 2008 at 9:08 pm

    I agree that there is a both a market and personal sweet spot. Finding that target demographic through prospecting or spheres of influence that you are most comfortable working with and that create a steady stream of repeats/referral business is a key part of long term success.

    Example, I consider myself fairly tech savvy. I use a blackberry to be able to instantly communicate in several different mediums (many of my clients do not prefer phone communication). I also offer esinging of documents to streamline the preperation and delivery of required documents (also saves on gas and helps keep offers legible by the time they get to the listing agent to present to the seller). These are two of many systems I employ to attract clients who expect curent technology when dealing wiht a Real Estae Broker.

  2. Jennifer Rathbun

    July 7, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    Commenting so I can see all the other coments…

    Commitment – Integrity – Diligence – Honesty – Energetic

    That’s why I would work with me. They may not be new ideas, but they are core values. Then I add in all the techy up-to-date gadgets, community involvement, Realtor board participation, training….

    And a heart to really help my clients.

    At least that’s why I’m here.

  3. Matthew Rathbun

    July 7, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    As I am reading this post, I am in a hotel 3 hours from home, preparing to teach a Marketing GRI class for 8 hours tomorrow – 8 hours isn’t enough time to go over the marketing plan that agents should have.

    There are tons of consumer surveys out there, but mostly people are looking to know that you care and that you can communicate with them on a level that they can appreciate. What’s my “sweet spot?” Knowing that whomever I decide to work with cares about me and my family. Pushing to re-invent the industry is all fine, well and good – but if you leave the client out of the equation than the nicest personal brochure and all the “ribbons” you have on your name tag don’t mean a whole lot.

  4. Rich Jacobson

    July 7, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    It’s the CRAB. Lots of fresh, delicious Dungeness Crab…boiled up and chilled over ice. Dipped in drawn butter or cocktail sauce. Does it every time!

  5. Bill Lublin

    July 8, 2008 at 2:36 am

    I have to disagree with Rich (something that is fundamentally abhorrent to me) though I would agree that CRAB does serve a specific demographic, to me the sweet spot is a Hot Fudge Brownie Sundae served with a warm brownies, figh quality vaniall ice cream, hot fudge, whipped cream, and fresh sliced strawberries.. Now that’s a sweet spot!

    On a business level it is where unique company specific marketing meets the needs of the consumer (at least to me)

  6. Matt Fagioli

    July 8, 2008 at 8:13 am

    Great Stuff. It’s amazing when an agent or a team hits that sweet spot. At that point they can stand head and shoulders above their competition — in that specific niche.

    I don’t think it’s one thing, like a blog or a logo or whatever. Rather, it’s a chosen set of features. So, you have to select 5 or 10 key things that — as a package — come together to represent your sweet spot niche.

  7. Paula Henry

    July 8, 2008 at 11:16 am

    I will err on the side of caution, by agreeing with everyone here.

    Crab w/ butter for dinner, followed by the sundae. Either of these would win my business.

    It is the moral, ethical values of caring about your client first, combined with the tech tools, blog, internet presence and market knowledge(pick your 5 or 10), along with the ability to clearly define the benefit to your client.

    I agree it’s not just one thing – every client has different needs. I’ve had clients choose me because of my marketing, others, my passion, while others just wanted someone to translate the data and walk them through the process.

  8. Julie Emery

    July 8, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    Tom Peters put together an exercise for Fast Company magazine quite a few years ago now. The idea was to create a unique value proposition for yourself, one that captured who you are and what benefits that brings to a prospective client. (Somewhere I’ve still got a copy of that. Great exercise!)

    To me, that’s the sweet spot. It’s marrying the unique “You” proposition to what the unique needs of a client are. And, finding a way to market that proposition on a larger scale than just one to one.

  9. ines

    July 8, 2008 at 10:20 pm

    Rick is Miamism’s sweet spot! 🙂

  10. Ken Smith

    July 9, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    “…but in every situation, there is always a sweet spot that no competitor can get to, no matter how hard they try.”

    You are looking for something that can be copied, but never duplicated. What can you do better then the rest that even when they attempt to copy your system they just can’t duplicate it. When you find that you know that you have found your “sweet spot” IMO.

  11. BawldGuy Talking

    July 10, 2008 at 12:10 pm

    Yer generatin’ lots of thinkin’ out there, Lani. Good stuff.

    Josh and I have dedicated much of our time this year to totally retooling our firm’s marketing approach, and it’s goals. WAY time consuming.

    Bottom line though, is what it’s always been.

    The common denominator in all the different sweet spots out there is RESULTS. Results for your clients first. Do that well enough and long enough, and you’ve found your own spot.

    Sounds like I understand marketing, but truth is, I hafta look it up every time I talk about it. As we retool, we’re callin’ in lots of ‘guys’ to tell us which way is north on the marketing map. 🙂

    Nothing replaces results.

  12. Eric Blackwell

    July 10, 2008 at 12:21 pm

    Very well said, Ken! Ask yourself “who is the customer that I can server BETTER than anyone else. The one I can reach the most effiectively and add the most value to.”

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Business Marketing

Pay employees for their time, not only their work

(MARKETING) Yes, you still must pay employees for their time even if they aren’t able to complete their work due to restrictions. Time = Money.

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pay employees for their time

The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired a lot of insightful questions about things like our healthcare system, worldwide containment procedures, and about a billion other things that all deserve well-thought answers.

Unfortunately, it has also led to some of the dumbest questions of all time.

One such question comes courtesy of Comstock Mag, with the inquiry asking whether or not employees who show up on time can be deducted an hour’s pay if the manager shows up an hour later.

From a legal standpoint, Comstock Mag points out that employees participating in such activities are “engaged to wait”, meaning that – while they aren’t necessarily “working” – they are still on the clock and waiting for work to appear; in this case, the aforementioned “work” comes in the form of the manager or supervisor showing up.

In short: if the reason your employees aren’t working is that the precursor to completing the work for which you pay them is inaccessible, you still have to pay them for their time.

Morally, of course, the answer is much simpler: pay your employees for their time, especially if the reason they are unable to complete work is because you (or a subordinate) didn’t make it to work at the right time.

Certainly, you might be able to justify sending all of your employees home early if you run into something like a technology snag or a hiccup in the processes which make it possible for them to do their jobs – that would mean your employees were no longer engaged to wait, thus removing your legal obligation to continue paying them.

Then again, the moral question of whether or not cutting your employees’ hours comes into play here. It’s understandable that funds would be tight for the time being, but docking employees an hour of their work here or there due to problems that no one can control may cause them to resent you down the line when you need their support in return.

The real problem with this question is that, despite most people knowing that the answer should always be “pay them”, the sheer number of people working from home in the wake of worldwide closures and social distancing could muddy the water in terms of what constitutes the difference between being engaged to wait and simply burning time.

For example, an employee who is waiting for a meeting to start still fits the bill of “engaged to wait” even if the meeting software takes an extra half hour to kick in (or, worse yet, the meeting never happens), and docking them pay for timecard issues or other extenuating factors that keep them from their work is similarly disingenuous – and illegal.

There are a lot of unknowns these days, but basic human decency should never be up for debate – especially now.

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Business Marketing

Cooler temps mean restaurants have to get creative to survive

(MARKETING) With winter approaching, restaurants are starting to find creative and sustainable ways to keep customers coming in… and warm.

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Outdoor eating at restaurants grows in popularity.

Over the last decade we have seen a change in the approach to clientele experiences in the restaurant business. It’s no longer just about how good your food is, although that is still key. Now you have to give your customers an experience to remember. There are now restaurants that feed you in the dark, and others who require you to check all your clothes at the door. Each of these provides an experience to remember alongside food that ranges from good to exquisite, depending on your taste.

Now, however, the global pandemic has rearranged how we think about dining. We can no longer just shove people into a building and create a delectable meal. If you’ve relied mostly on people coming into your restaurant, you may struggle to survive now.

The new rules of keeping clients safe means setting things up outside is the easiest means of keeping large numbers of them from crowding inside. Because of this, weather has become a key influence in a company’s daily income. Tents that were a gimmick before, only needed by presumptuous millennials, are now a requirement to keep afloat. People are rushing to make their yards into lawns that bring some in some fancy feeling.

The ties to the sun in some areas are so strong that cloudy days have been shown to drop attendance as much as 14% for the day. This will become the more apparent the colder it gets. For me, I always mention hibernation weight in the winter, when all I want to do is curl up and eat at home. Down here in Texas we are already finding cooler weather, drops into the 70s even in August and September. We are all assuming a cold winter ahead. So, a bit of foresight is finding a means of keeping your guests warm for the winter ahead.

San Francisco restaurants have started with heat lamps during their cooler evenings. Fiberglass igloos have also been added to outdoor seating as a means of temperature control. A few places down in the Lonestar state keep roaring fires going for their outdoor activities. While others actually keep you running in between beverages by encouraging volleyball matches. This is the new future ahead of us, and being memorable is the way to go.

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Business Marketing

Canva is catching on to content trends, launches in-app video editor

(MARKETING) Canva launches an in-platform video editor, allowing access to their extensive library of assets and animations to create high-quality videos

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African American woman working on Canva Video Editor Desktop in office setting.

Video content consumption is on the rise, and the graphic design platform, Canva, took note of it. The $40 billion Australian startup has entered the video business and announced the launch of its video editor, Canva Video Suite.

The end-to-end video editor is an easy-to-use platform that anyone, no matter the skill level, can create, edit, and record high-quality videos. Best of all, it’s free, and it’s available on both desktop and mobile platforms.

The tool has hundreds of editable templates that you can use to create videos for several online platforms like TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook. Some templates can be used to create workplace and business videos, while other templates are perfect for personal videos. There are playful themes you can use to create that spooky video just in time for Halloween or make a laugh-out-loud video to send to your best friend! With a wide range of selections, in no time you’ll start creating your very own video masterpiece with Canva.

Caucasian man holding iPhone showing Canva video editor on mobile.

What else does the video software offer and what can you do with it? Well, let me tell you:

Collaborate in real-time

Having everyone on the same page is important and Canva’s video suite takes that into account. To collaborate with others, you simply send them an invite, and together you can edit videos, manage assets, and leave comments to give your input.

Video timeline editing and in-app recording

Similar to building presentation slides, Canva’s scene-based editor simplifies video editing by using a timeline approach. With it, you can quickly reorder, crop, trim, and splice your videos. Also, users don’t need to leave the platform to record that last-minute shot; within the app, you can shoot and record yourself from a camera or a screen.

Library of assets

The video editor is filled with an array of watermark-free stock footage, icons, images, illustrations, and even audio tracks that you can choose from – but if you really need something that is not on their platform – you can upload your own image, video, or audio track.

Animate with ease

Although still in the process of being released, soon you will be able to add animations of both text and visual elements in just a few simple clicks. Among others, animation presets that fade, pan, and tumble will help you transform your video and take it to a whole other level.

Overall, Canva Video Suite is very intuitive and has all the essential things you need to create a video. And by streamlining the video creation process, Canva is ensuring it enters the video marketplace with a bang.

“One of Canva’s guiding principles is to make complex things simple, and our new Video Suite will allow everyone to unlock the power of video, whether that’s to market their business, make engaging social posts, or express their creativity,” said Rob Kawalsky, Head of Product at Canva.

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