Making It Relevant

January 22, 2007

Seth Godin, who I link to often enough that I’m entering stalker territory, has a post that’s simple yet worth remembering, titled Who Wants a Prize Like That? The basic message is that in promoting your work it makes sense to market in a way that is relevant to your target audience—in his example, the Thriller Readers Newsletter has a sweepstakes to win 150 “thriller” books signed by their authors if you sign up for their newsletter. Not cash, not an iPod, but a prize that that particular audience would crave.

There’s nothing colossal about that point, but it’s still worth noting.

Of course some businesses lend themselves to this point better than others. If you sell snowboards, it’s not hard to figure out what some relevant marketing angles might be. You think about what snowboarders might be interested in and follow the trail, so to speak.

But use that same logic for auto insurance—if you sell auto insurance, go where the drivers go? Hmmm… driving isn’t exactly a niche activity. Everyone needs auto insurance, but no one likes it and it’s not like marketing to auto enthusiasts would really be targeting your audience. Car enthusiasts like driving, not buying insurance in case of an accident. They want sleek design, not an insurance statement.

So what could companies that serve a general interest (or necessity) do to stand out, to be relevant? That’s a tougher question. Maybe they target their most profitable potential customers first? For instance, would Allstate or Progressive be wise to target Mommy drivers who are less likely to drive recklessly by offering free car seats to new Moms if they choose their particular insurance? That’s one way to go about it. Find out who are generally your most profitable or most loyal customers and target them first, with advertising or giveaways relevant to them. Do this in a few niches and your big general-interest business can be relevant in your most important customer markets.

By the way I have no idea if mommies are really safer drivers than anyone else, just guessing.

What can your company do to market relevantly to your potential customers? (By the way I have no idea if “relevantly” is a word.)

e-mail me: adam@bessed.com

Adam Jusko is founder and CEO of Bessed, a Web site promising “search without spam”, thanks to human-edited search results and ongoing visitor feedback. Do a search, offer your comments, submit your site–help create the “bessed” search site in the world.



  1. I hope this will make my Allstate stocks go up so I make some money on it 🙂 http://www.trendio.fr/word.php?language=en&wordid=1441

  2. Um, OK.

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