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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

What entreprenuers can learn about branding from trendy startups

(BUSINESS MARKETING) What’s the secret of focused startup branding, and how can you apply it to large enterprises?

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A set of wine from Craft Hugo, showing off pleasing branding in labels.

Think of your favorite brand. Is it the product they offer or the branding that you love? Exactly – brand ethos reigns supreme, especially with those trendy, aesthetically-pleasing startups (I never thought Glossier had good makeup, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t visit their website once or twice a month).

So let’s break it down.

Co-founder of Red Antler – a company that assists startups in creating successful branding – Emily Heyward believes in a few branding truths.

Firstly, you have to make sure not to market your brand as a single product or experience. Doing so, she says, will pigeonhole you and thus truncate your ability to expand and offer new products and services (she gives MailChimp, known almost exclusively for email marketing, as an example).

What Heyward does say to do is instead market an idea. For example, the brand Casper (one of Antler’s clients) markets itself as a sleep company instead of a mattress company. By doing this, they kept the door open to eventually offer other products, like pillows and bedding.

Heyward states that this “power of focus” is a way to survive – with countless other startups offering the same product or service, you have to position your company as offering something beyond the product. Provide a problem your customer didn’t know they had and offer an innovative solution through your product.

Ever used Slack, the app-based messenger? There were other messengers out there, so focus of Slack’s branding is that regular messaging is boring and that their app makes it more fun. And customers eat it up.

How can this logic apply to mid-to-large enterprises? How can you focus on one specific thing?

Again, placing emphasis on brand over products is essential – what is it about what you offer that makes your customers’ lives better? It’s more cerebral than material. You’re selling a better life.

Another thing to remember is that customers are intrigued by the idea of new experiences, even if the product or service being offered is itself not new. Try not to use dated language that’s colored by a customers’ preexisting feelings. Instead, find an exciting alternative – chat solutions are desperately trying move away from the word “chat”, which can bring to mind an annoying, tedious process, even though that is in fact what they offer.

Broadening the idea of focused brand ethos to a large company can be difficult. By following these tips and tricks from startups, your company can develop a successful brand ethos that extends beyond your best product or service.

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Business Marketing

Spruce up your product images with Glorify (just in time for Black Friday!)

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Want professional, customizable product images for your company? Consider Glorify’s hot Black Friday deal.

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Glorify app lets you create beautiful designs for your products.

Glorify, the app that creates high converting, customizable product images for your business, is offering a lifetime deal for $97 this Black Friday. In just a few clicks, you can transform one of Glorify’s sleek templates into personalized, professional-looking content – and now, you don’t have to pay that monthly fee.

Whether your business is in electronics, beauty, or food & drink, Glorify offers a range of looks that will instantly bring your product images to the next level. With countless font styles and the ability to alter icon styles, shadows and other elements, you can access all the perks of having your own designer without the steep price.

In 2019, Glorify was launched – the app was soon voted #2 Product of the Day and nominated for Best Design Tool by Product Hunt. Since then, they have cultivated a 20k+ user base!

Glorify 2.0, which was launched last week, upgrades the experience. The new and improved version of the app is complete overhaul of intuitive UI improvements and extra features, such as:

  • background remover tool
  • templates based on popular product niches and themes
  • design bundles for your website/store, social media
  • annotation tool
  • upload your brand kits and organize your projects under different brands
  • 1 click brand application
  • & much more!

“But the most important aspect of Glorify 2.0, is that it comes with a UI that sets us up for future scalability for all our roadmap features”, said CEO of Glorify Omar Farook, who himself was a professional graphic designer.

Farook’s dream was to provide a low-cost design service for the smaller businesses that couldn’t otherwise afford design services. Looking through reviews of the app, it’s evident that Glorify does just that – it saves the user time and money while helping them to produce top-notch product images for their brand on their own.

Glorify is one of the many new design-based apps that make producing content a breeze for entrepreneurs, such as Canva. As someone who loves design but doesn’t have the patience for Creative Cloud, I personally love this technology. However, Glorify is unique in that it is the only product-driven design app. All you have to do is upload your photo!

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Business Marketing

This new Chipotle location will be fully digital

(BUSINESS NEWS) In the wake of the pandemic and popularity of online delivery, Chipotle is joining the jump to online-only locations, at least to test drive.

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Chipotle exterior, possibly moving to a fully digital restaurant space soon.

A lot of industries have switched to an online-only model in the wake of the pandemic. Most of them have made sense; between abundant delivery options and increased restrictions on workers, moving away from the traditional storefront paradigm isn’t exactly a radical choice. Chipotle making that same decision, however, is a plot twist of a different kind—yet that’s exactly what they’re doing with their first online store.

To be clear, the chain isn’t doing away with their existing locations; they’re just test-driving a “digital” location for the time being. That said, the move to an online platform raises interesting questions about the future of the restaurant industry—if not just Chipotle itself.

The move to an online platform actually makes a lot of sense for businesses like Chipotle. Since the classic Chipotle experience is much less centered on the “dining” aspect than it is on the customizability of food options, putting those same options online and giving folks some room to deliver both decreases Chipotle’s physical footprint and, ostensibly, opens up their services to more people.

It’s also a timely move given the sheer number of people who are sheltering in place. A hands-on burrito assembly line is not the optimal place to be in a pandemic, but there’s no denying the utilitarian appeal of Chipotle’s products. To that end, having another restaurant wherein you have the option to order a hearty meal with everything you like—which is also tailored to your dietary needs—is a crucial step for consumers.

Chipotle’s CTO, Curt Garner, says he is hoping this online alternative will offer a “frictionless” experience for diners.

As a part of that frictionless experience, consumers will be able to order in several different mediums. Chipotle’s website and their mobile app are the preferred choices, while services like GrubHub will also be available should you choose to order through a third-party. The idea is simple: To bring Chipotle to you with as little fuss as possible.

For now, Chipotle is committing to the single digital location to see how consumer demand pans out. Should the model prove successful, they plan to move forward with implementing additional digital locations nationwide.

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