Amazon started to extend their product range only after reaching 1 billion dollars in books.
Your IoT isn’t for everyone.
You can’t adopt the same marketing strategy as a start-up or an SME to a worldwide multi billion company. You don’t have the same goals and the same tools.
You need to think like concentric circles, by first focusing on innovators (people who are willing to try anything new), being sure that they want the product you are making and knowing how to reach them. In short, if you have a budget of $100.000, you can choose to spend :
- $1 on 100.000 potential clients, mostly (95%) not interested at all — and you will miss the attention of ones who could be buying your product
- $10 on 10.000 potential clients who are interested in what you do, but you won’t give them any attention to finalise as many sales as you would expect to
- $100 on 1000 potential clients who are totally corresponding with your target
What form that hypothetical 100$ per person is taking ?
It’s more about time spent than the cash-out. Reaching out to this very small target can be done through the content marketing strategy, undertaken to attract those most interested in your brand.
Once this is done and validated, not only have you kicked off, but the second step (enlarging your target base) will be facilitated by turning up the first circle into ambassadors.
For example, if you are a start-up producing a drone for agricultural purposes, you will quickly realise that reaching out to all the farmers or agricultural professionals of an entire country like the US can’t be done within your budget frames. Only enormous firms, like Monsanto, can.
Try to identify what features of your product could be presented as fulfilling the needs of a niche market, and even a niche in that niche. In our drone example, it could be only the wheat producers who have large fields to monitor. And among wheat producers, perhaps the ones producing wheat for beers.
Then, you’ll be able to start the content marketing operation on a very small scale, even one-to-one, and learn to know your customer as if you were part of their family, associate them to the process.
What form this marketing operation will take?
You can organise a drone flying session directly at the farm of your prospect, let the potential client use a drone for a week.
You can sponsor an agricultural cooperative annual party and present your drone, let’s say, for 20 min.
You can rent the drone and offer the first month free.
Offer them a free month for every new client they refer to you.
All those selling techniques are extremely efficient to ensure your product meets real needs. Your objective is to reach and conquer your first niche. With a first group of clients, you can now publish case studies (blogging or videos), have your first testimonials and conquer the second niche (wheat producers for vodka, then corn producers …).
It’s needless to mention that if you’re looking to raise funds, already having concrete clients, will be a big plus for your pitch.
None of those direct marketing strategies are pricey, that is, financially speaking, we are not spending millions in print or ads. With a limited marketing budget (99,9% of companies) you need to be sure that every dollar spent is reaching out to your target group.
This allows you to know as many things as you can about your potential customers (which we call a buyer), for example :
- what they do first when they wake up (radio, instagram, mediation ?)
- what music they are listening during their lunch break
- do they prefer hanging out with friends or watching Netflix on a Friday evening ?
Yes that’s that level of details.
The more you know about their habits and their needs, the more you know why they are — or they are not — buying your product. This can be done only when targeting the smallest viable market (a market segment large enough to make a living out of it, but small enough to explore it as deeply as possible).
Niching is the only deep empirical way of marketing to verify whether your product is wanted and adopted by your target group. We want to eliminate as many grey areas as possible in order to react (and pivot) quickly when there is no market fit, and not to be delusional.
About me // French Marketer who specialises in B2B tech and IoT. With the background of lobbying and over 10 years experience as creative director, I help IoT start-ups achieving stable growth, meaningful branding and long-lasting demand generation. More on www.dxm-agency.com