Influencers – Nike plums many different worlds to keep the hits coming. Here is an interesting article in the WSL about how the CEO of Nike plums many different worlds to help in designing limited edition shoes that are designed to appeal to a (for Nike) microscopic market. These limited edition shoes often retail in the after market (think eBay) for many times the initial sales price. These shoes are often designed by up and coming artists and sold through independent retailers as opposed to Foot Locker. And you would probably never see these on LeBron James.
It’s an interesting idea, and one on a smaller scale that can work for a small business. Not so much in getting custom designed products that appeal to a niche audience, but in identifying your niche audience, the taste makers for your product, the early adopters, and using them to get the word out. Think of them as a special group to market to a special way.
First of all, create a list. Add all of your friends and family. Then think through your product. Say you are a new florist in town, trying to break into a crowded market by providing unique upscale designs – not just your average Happy Birthday bouquet. You would want to target people who a) can afford the upscale designs and b) people who would buy your designs and either display them in place with a lot of traffic or who would send them to other places.
In this case, you may want to start to comb the local paper for charity events and find out the organizers, chair people, and start marketing to them – offer to donate for the event, or if you missed it, say you would be happy to for next year. Send a congratulations bouquet to the chairperson – these people are usually selected for their wide network of people – they are influencers. Say someone gets a promotion and it’s in the paper – send a bouquet. It doesn’t have to be the priciest one around, but make sure if showcase you’re unique value proposition. And include some information on why your flowers would be great congratulations gift to someone else.
So in brief, you need to build up your circle of influence, the people you want to target with flattery, bribery and samples who will go out and tell others about your product. Keep them happy, know them, know their interests and causes, and track your results – so they don’t just suck you dry.