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WE DON’T KNOW. TELL US - My Micromarket 4

WE DON’T KNOW. TELL US - My Micromarket 4

MY MICROMARKET: HOW TO FORM ONE?

This article emphasizes on a key aspect of being a micro marketer. Saying loudly “I DON’T KNOW”

RECAP:

A micro-market is a curated set of target clients. 

Micromarketing is a strategy where marketing efforts focus on a narrow set of target clients; all activities are defined by and for this set.

It is normal for us to put on a brave face and act as if we know it all. The reality remains that we do not. What happens when we tell our clients “We don’t know”!

Let’s find out from this real-life business story of Akshata and Narmada.

WE DON’T KNOW. TELL US!

Jomo is from Kenya.

He was in love and as is with all loves, he had an issue. Several issues, but the primary one was to get married to his Malayalam-speaking Indian girlfriend Rita. A confluence of cultures meant that several family members had to be appeased. That still is not the issue.

Jomo and Rita wanted the wedding invites and everything related to design to be balanced. Yeah, right. Balance between Kenya and India and the associated subcultures? Design, copy, size, shape… to please one, to please all. “If you thought Indians were helicopter parents, wait till you meet mine,” Jomo told Rita. In such a situation, every little counts. You want things to be ultra-perfect, portable to be shipped across the earth and yes, balanced.

Shruti was Indian and a Punjabi but born and brought up in France. She studied in Singapore and fell in love with Chan, a Chinese man. A little bit of India, a little bit of France, a bit more of China and a global mix design with a customised touch. Again, wedding invites, favours, return gifts. It had to be a truly world class!

Telugu boy Pradeep Reddy in love with Lisa from Connecticut, USA…

You get the drift.

A few years ago, two ladies met at a party. Akshata and Narmada, they caught on well; sometimes it happens. You connect at the first meeting and realise you have several common points, interests and designs. Both wanted to start something that will mix technology, design and service to make a difference. They wanted to work with clients who wanted customised designs and boy, they went wild. The next one year, they worked on a variety of design projects, all related to the invite and gifting categories providing invites, candles, themed parties, corporate gifts, Halloween parties and more. Experimental designs, disparate requests and arbitrary hours took a toll. Welcome to the world of start-ups and entrepreneurship.

The two ladies decided to slow down and take stock. What is our focus? What do we do?

By a process of elimination based on passion, profitability and the availability of good coffee, they narrowed down to the wedding world and on invites and favours. It was as if the universe realised they were ready for the next level.

And one day, a frantic call came in from Jomo. Yes, the same Jomo from the story above.

“I’ve spoken to a lot of Indian vendors, all of whom are difficult to reach when I try. I am calling from Kenya. They want me to come down and check the standard samples. I want something customised for my wedding. This is my situation. Can you help?”

Can we, thought the ladies and jumped right in. They told Jomo:

“We don’t know about your cultures and the specifics. Tell us!”

And they heard. And listened. And started the work. They created an invite with mix of Indian elements, Moroccan designs and Kenyan tribal patterns. There were boxed sets representing both cultures with coffee bottles from Africa and India as gifts. The whole ninety nine yards was laid out. The couple loved it. 

This opened the floodgates for their company, Mostly Handmade. Shruti called. So did Lisa, and a host of clients all wanting in!

The venture started focusing more on cross cultural global clients, which became a segment by itself. Soon, 50% of their clients were international with an Indian connect and their business grew through word of mouth referrals. Each of their design outputs was put on Instagram and Pinterest wannabe brides lapped it up. 

The clients were segmented into personas in a lighter vein.

  • The Elopers: Hey, we’re getting married in 10 days; we need 400 cards! Hurry please. What can you do as soon as possible, meaning now. Puhleeeease!
  • The Dreamers: Oh, I started planning for my wedding as soon as I was born. I’ve been dreaming of this day all along. It’s going to be perfect. Here’s this large scrapbook of designs and requirements. Pretty please! (Such requests are received as early as 18 months before the actual wedding date.)
  • In Betweeners: The practical ones. They’ve done their homework, know what they want, when they want it and give clear instructions.
  • Timepass: Check and call and research and query and negotiate and look some more and ask more questions. Then vanish.

Mostly Handmade has also segmented their competition very clearly.

  • Local Market: These players buy designs and colours in bulk and then sell using pre-set designs. They do not offer much customization.
  • Couture Market: This is where the ultra-designers design cards for a high-end market.
  • The Mid-Segment: This is where customisation meets standardization, a segment where Mostly Handmade is carving a niche.

***

Growth for Mostly Handmade came through significant word of mouth from their satisfied clients and from influencers who approached them asking Mostly Handmade if they could showcase the designs. This cascading effect leads to quality marketing with qualified leads.

What do we learn here?

  • Everyone is not my client.
  • I can, and will, say NO to services or solutions that are not my cup of tea.
  • When I don’t know, I will say so.
  • And then I WILL LISTEN. Then take action.
  • I will delve deeper into my micro market, and the entire ecosystem.

Questions for you to answer:

  1. Who exactly is my client?
  2. What is the specific need that I am uniquely qualified to service?
  3. Have I segmented my micro market?
  4. Have I segmented the stakeholders in my ecosystem?

What's your secret sauce?

This the fourth article in "The Micro Marketer" series by Pravin Shekar, an Outlier Marketer.

The first article laid the foundation for what a micro market is. <Hyperlink to the first article>

The second article focused on how to define a micro market. <Hyperlink to the second article>

The third article focused on how to form a micro market.

About the Author

Pravin Shekar is an outlier marketer, parallel entrepreneur and a raconteur. If you want to shake up your marketing strategy OR discuss your micro marketing plan, write to Pravin at outlier@pravinshekar.com