Name that store:
A man only zone. The unyielding smell of grease, no-frills white linoleum floors displaying craftsman tools as far as the eye could see. Selling off Carhardt jumpsuits and dickies jeans with a quickness only rivaled by a border town thrift store outlet.
How you might ask did such a place, created by and for the American flannel clad male handyman suddenly become a new beacon for current women’s fashion? Creative marketing, which not only maintained a tight grasp on their current demographic but simultaneously extended a well manicured hand towards their new potential female buyers.
“Come See the Softer Side of Sears”. After a failing market share and a much needed revamp of the store’s product production, available and exclusive brands, and location layout and design the company unleashed a direct invite to a new consumer. Women between the ages of 25-54.
Simply inviting a new type of person (who is already familiar with you but doesn’t think you have anything to offer them) to check out how you’ve changed for them is passive and nonthreatening yet very aggressive. It drove traffic into the stores, and by focusing on women and letting them know Sears had the fashions that were right for her, it changed a woman’s perception of sears to include her and demonstrated a commitment to stay that way.
If you’re looking to expand your target market, do just that and expand and add to it. As long as you have specifically marketed campaigns towards all of your target markets you can be successful. The key is to build your brand one target market at a time and not try to jumble it all up in one campaign. Doing that feels fake and pushed. It makes you seem too desperate to reach everyone at once, and it doesn’t help to capture the attention of a specific niche.
Sears was successful at first because they had a very specific target market and men knew that Sears wouldn’t fail them. They wanted women to feel the same way without abandoning their men. So, they kept their male population happy by maintaining their strong manly aura, and then inviting women to see their softer side, not the new softer them.
While they were successful, they didn’t add their new target market until they were slapped in the face by their competition and lagging in profit margin. Had they opened their eyes, made realistic predictions about the future of the market, and marketed towards new audiences earlier they could have avoided a downfall in sales.
Too often businesses think that they must help everyone right away because they don’t want to miss out on potential clients. Sears shows that having multiple target markets does increase your profit margin, but to thrive you must master them each individually.
Contributed by: Elizabeth Erkel