Twisted Thinking – #4 Marketing the Product versus Marketing to the Customer

Today I want to talk about what happens when you get tied up in product centric marketing versus being customer centric.
I will use the travel industry as the primary example, because it is the most blatant violator of this principle.   The industry is obsessed with the air traveler to the exclusion of nearly everyone else.  

There are 1 billion overnight trips taken in the US annually.  Just 15% of those trips are by air.  Yet nearly 100% of all travel websites (and most travel agencies, with the exception of AAA) focus on that 15%. 

To be fair, there are many travel sites that sell non-air products – case in point Hotel sites, Car Rental sites and Cruise sites to name a few.   And each of them would say that they market to the traveler.

But pick any one of your favorite non-air sites and you will see that they assume that you magically land at your destination, versus helping you get from where you are to where you want to go.   They begin and end with their product, not with the traveler.

So quite simply, if you elect to focus on your product, versus how to get your target client to you to enjoy your product, you may be missing a huge part of the market.  In the case of the travel industry, you may be missing up to 85% of your target audience. 

Back in September I wrote about the sport shoe industry and what would happen if they had remained focused on the market their product was originally designed for – the professional athlete, versus realizing that everyone who has feet were their market. 

Yes, professional athletes were a key market for Nike and Adidas, but it was only when they branched out to soccer moms, kids and truly the man on the street that the sport shoe industry really took off.

What is your focus?  Is your thinking twisted?

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