- McCord Cargile
A Marketing Fairy Tale - Part 3: Alignment
The woodman was surprised by how happy the shopkeepers in town were to put up the pictures of his chair in their shops. It was true that they had the chance to get a little money for doing no work, but he was not used to asking people for assistance of any kind. It probably also helped that he brought along Ralph, who showed the townspeople his new tricks. The woodman was eager to meet the next magical visitor and find out what she had to share with him.
The next day, at the appointed time in the usual place in the forest, the woodman was again working away with new energy. In a cloud of amber smoke, there appeared from out of nowhere the next magical being.
She introduced herself, “Hello, my name is Alice.” The woodman was still so astounded by all this magic that he found it hard to speak. “Do not worry,” Alice continued, “I know who you are, and you know a little bit about who I am, but I have a question for you.”
“Yes?” said the woodman, still a little surprised.
Alice asked, “Do you know who in the town will buy your furniture?”
The woodman replied, “I guess anyone might.”
Alice said, “That’s possible, but not likely.” She continued, “If you try to get everyone in town to be your customers, that could take a very long time, indeed. You need to choose certain people to align with if you want to sell your furniture quickly and easily.”
The woodman asked, “Well, how do I know which people I should spend my time and money on if I don’t know who is likely to buy what I have made?”
Alice said, “I have a place for you to start. Do you daydream?”
“Sometimes,” replied the woodman, “All too often, if you ask Ralph.”
Alice then said, “I want you to daydream. In your daydreams, I want you to imagine a few people from the town buying your furniture. Then I want you to write down a description of those people. The type of people you have described will become your ‘target market.’ That is who you will be aligned with. Think about the classes or categories of people who might become your customers, in terms of things such as the work they do, the kind of homes they live in, where they buy their food, what they do for fun. Things like that.”
The woodman interjected, “It sounds as if you’re talking about who is rich and who is poor.”
“That’s part of it,” Rita replied. “This is what we call ‘demographics.’”
The woodman thought to himself that demographics was the kind of word his mother told him never to say.
“There is another bit of magic at work here,” Alice continued. “You may find that when you focus your marketing efforts on the specific groups of people in your target market, other people will be magically drawn to you as well. You will also learn that the people who turn out to be your best customers may not be the ones who you expected at first.”
The woodman pondered this idea for a moment, and then asked, “What, then, shall I do with this ‘target market’ that you have described?”
“You will see,” Alice replied. She then disappeared in another cloud of amber smoke. The woodman sat for a while longer in silence. He was still perplexed by all of this but excited and eager for more answers.