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A Marketing Fairy Tale - Part 4: Reach

The previous days, when the first Fairy Godmother and her sisters had visited, had all been bright and sunny.  The next day was rainy, and so the woodman thought briefly about not going into the forest that day. However, his excitement about what he was learning, and his curiosity about what the next magical being had to tell him, prevailed and he ventured back to the appointed spot, a little bit before the appointed time.  

At the same time as before, another cloud of smoke - this time ruby red smoke - appeared.  The being that emerged from the smoke introduced herself as Rita. (She, of course, already knew who the woodman was.)  She asked the woodman to hold out his hand, and stretch his arm as far as he could. When the woodman looked puzzled, Rita said, “What you are showing me is your reach, and that is what we will be talking about today.”  

The woodman said, “Yesterday, Alice was talking with me about alignment, and the people I would be trying to reach through my flyers, to get customers for my furniture.  Is that the kind of “reach“ you are describing?”

Rita said, “You are obviously learning much from my sisters, and are already thinking in new ways.  What I will be telling you about is related to alignment. Alice would have had you start thinking about who you want to focus on when selling your products.”  

“She did," the woodman replied.  “I tried to think about what she called my ‘target markets’, but all I could come up with was:  everyone! Everyone uses furniture, and I will sell mine to anyone who will buy it. How do I figure out which people I should be trying to reach?”  

Rita replied, “There are two things to think about.  First, have you taken any posters to Big Bear Hollow, where your cousin lives?”  

The woodman wondered how she knew that he had a cousin in Big Bear Hollow, but answered, “Not yet.”  

Rita asked, “Could you get your furniture there to sell it?”  

“Not easily”, the woodman replied.

“How likely are people in Big Bear Hollow to come here to buy your products?” was Rita’s next question. “Not likely.” was the woodman’s answer.

“Then one kind of reach is geographical,” Rita continued.  “It may not make much sense to market to people you cannot easily service.”  

The woodman nodded thoughtfully.

Rita said, “The other type of reach is a little harder to understand.  I will call it ‘demographic’ reach.”  

The woodman thought to himself that ‘demographic’ sounded like the kind of word his mother told him never to say.  

Rita went on, “This will help you with the ‘alignment assignment’ that Alice gave you yesterday. It is thinking 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.”

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.  “As you think about this, however, you will find many other ways to describe groups of people.  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.”  

Rita saw the look of intense bewilderment on the woodman’s face.  “Have no fear!” she said. “My sisters will continue to share with you different ways to identify the best people to spend your marketing efforts on.  They will also teach you what to do with those people, once you have identified them, to magically transform them from prospects into customers.”

Rita concluded, “In the meantime, keep working on Alice’s ‘alignment assignment’, thinking about how far, and to whom, you should ‘reach out’.”  With that, she disappeared in another cloud of ruby red smoke.

The woodman felt both excited and overwhelmed, as he thought to himself,  “We are just getting started.”

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