Each night at bedtime, I work on a crossword puzzle. I’m not great at it, but crossword puzzles are a good way for me to take a mental break from the day before sleeping. One of my biggest problems when solving puzzles is not thinking about all the possible answers that a clue could be about. A clue like “Barker’s common phrase” for a 3-letter answer made me try to think of what a circus barker might say or what a manager would call out to his crew or what order an officer might yell to his soldiers. Yet I was stumped. The answer, of course, was “arf” from the one “barker” I hadn’t thought of.
The other day, when conversing with a new client, I realized that marketing can be a bit like crossword puzzles. Here’s what the client, a provider of business training materials, shared with me:
The company was successfully marketing to trainers and HR titles in corporations.
Then, recently, an independent trainer discovered them and not only made a purchase but also recommended the product to her colleagues who also made purchases.
Now this company is marketing to both corporations and independent trainers and has, in essence, significantly increased the size of its prospect universe.
SEO, social media, and other Internet exposure revealed a previously undiscovered group of prospects the company can now pursue with outbound marketing. Companies can just wait for other prospect groups to find them or take some action to find their own undiscovered markets. Here are a few ideas for marketers:
- Bring in a marketing consultant who can look at your product with fresh eyes and without any of the blinders of old habits.
- Scour your customer base for the one or two rare examples of a company that does not fit your typical profile.
- Look for ways your product or service could be renamed or repositioned to appeal to an entirely different group of customers.
- Gather your team together and hold brainstorming sessions without limits.
Imagine your product is a crossword puzzle clue and see if you can find any new trees for barking up new business.