Mays Business School
Venture Voices

The Three M’s of Marketing: Marketplace

Posted on January 29, 2013
Todd Sorrel
President of Select Premium
Todd Sorrel ‘96 has been an Austin Aggie since graduation. He worked for Motorola and A.G. Edwards before founding Select Premium in 2003. Select Premium is a premium finance company that prides itself on innovation, ease-of-use, and a focus on its relationships with independent insurance agents. Since 2003 he’s grown the company to five employees and has clients in four states. Select Premium has won the Aggie 100 for three straight years. Todd adores his Longhorn wife, Meghan, his daughter, Paige (3), and his son, John (1). Todd loves to write, golf, travel, and hang-out with the family.

Radio station WIIFM is so much cooler than today’s Spotify or Rhapsody. Instead of having your Visa tagged each month, this station actually puts money in your pocket. Here’s the deal: it’s your client’s favorite station too. WIIFM plays 24/7 and you know the DJ. Radio station ‘What’s In It For Me’ is always playing in your client’s mind. You had better be listening because your competition definitely is. The most popular WIIFM tune on the air (err… brain) waves is ‘All about me’. And that’s ok, you want it that way. In order to win your prospect, you have to know what makes them tick. What’s the most important thing to your client? Demographics are huge and will render answers as well define your marketplace. They tell a story and compiled with other surveyed, market data, they can bear mucho profits. Here are two examples of how important it is to know your marketplace:

Christmas rocks. So does DSW’s in-store, December shoe sale. “Free shoes for everyone!” exclaimed the store rep. Hysteria breaks out and the $50 gift cards were flying – from the reps hands to the in-store patron’s hands. Santa arrived early with a promo perfect for DSW’s target market. Everyone wins, especially DSW Shoes. It was genius. Why? A gift card winner now has the chance to purchase even more expensive shoes than they could before. It’s an instant up-sale without the haggle. Besides, their shoppers, predominantly women, now feel they have $50 more to spend than they originally budgeted. From DSW’s homepage, “Our core focus is to create a distinctive shopping experience that satisfies both the rational and emotional shopping needs of our DSW customers by offering them a vast, exciting assortment of in-season styles combined with the convenience and value they desire.” Would a $50 gift card cater to the emotional needs of a woman buying shoes during the holidays? You betcha! DSW knows its marketplace. I can even hear the board of directors humming, “every time a register rings, a pair of shoes gets its wings.”

What’s cooler than a young Kim Cattrall starring in the ‘80’s flick ‘Mannequin’? For starters, Almax’s new line of mannequins with cameras placed in their eyes. For a little over five grand, you can turn one on and have detailed client demographics on video. One tiny, eye-camera can capture approximate age, gender, linger-time, race, and reaction from the in-store shopper. Creepy? Perhaps. Valuable? Absolutely. The data-rich offerings this technology delivers should have retailers drooling. From a laptop in a back office, a retailer can record and analyze accurate marketplace data in real time. If a retailer is not quite sure about the launch of a new style of 7-For-All-Mankind jeans, a couple of dressed up mannequins may provide valuable feedback.

Why should your client choose your product or service above and beyond all other options? It’s a great question that never gets old. The first step is getting inside your client’s mind and tuning in to WIIFM. No matter what the company budget, research efforts either in-store or with technology are huge in understanding your target market. It’s a treasure trove of information spelling out exactly what they want and how they want it. Tune in anytime because it’s always playing.

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