Sunday, September 10, 2006

Button Jar

In the Friday morning Certified Networker class, we addressed the topic of target market in order to help the students realize the benefit of clearly stating what type of business they are looking for. In doing so they help others to give them the referrals that each student really wants.

Cheryl Nicolaidis, a representative for the women's clothing line Ectetera, had one of those lightbulb moments about halfway through class. She said, "I get it! It is just like me having a giant jar of buttons, and telling everyone I need a button. Then I get frustrated because I didn't want just any button, but I actually wanted a blue button. And then when I get all kinds of blue buttons, I can't figure it out, because really I just want blue buttons with only two holes."

In the four years we have been teaching this course in NW Ohio, that is the best explanation of target market that we've heard yet. I plan to use a jar of buttons from this point forward, when we are delivering that lesson. It is a visual that certainly paints the picture. Thank you, Cheryl. That's why I tell everyone, that even though I have been through this course over 40 times, each time I learn something new or understand a nuance that I didn't before.

What story can you tell to describe an abstract concept?


Smokey Smoktonowicz said...

The 'Button Jar' Target Market analogy is visually discriptive and to the point. I'm going to use it.

Nick at Davis College said...

Our Target Market is so critical to the rest of what we do. Therefore, zeroing in on that bully eye makes a huge difference. As a trainer, I am constantly searching for ways to help those I train to understand the concepts that make the CN course go. This image provided by Cheryl is extremely helpful. Thanks! Talk about being "right on the button."

Quite often,I experience challenges when coaching others to widdle down the Target Market. This will be a vivid image that most will quickly identify with as they narrow as well. Maybe we can leave a jar half filled with buttons in the training room so that all of us can benefit. Perhaps, we can all add our own button as we determine our Target Market. Button, Button, Who's got their button? Great insight. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Leasa Maxx said...

I just remembered another button anecdote from One-to-One Marketing guru, Martha Rogers, who spoke at an Ad Club luncheon I attended a while back.

Martha told the story of a dry cleaner who personalized his services by gathering and storing the extra buttons provided by the makers of his clients' very best garments.

When he took in a garment to be cleaned and noticed that a button was missing, he'd simply go to his inventory, retrieve the appropriate button and sew it back in place. When the customer returned to pick up her items, they were not only cleaned and pressed -- but all missing buttons were retored.

The dry cleaner had successfully differentiated himself from his competitors. Martha asked the audience, "How could the cleaner's clients go to anyone else? He had all their buttons!" ...and their loyalty.

This is not a lesson on the importance of finding your single target market -- but it's a great story about the importance of differentiating yourself -- and standing out in the crowd.