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This article originally appeared in the November edition of Impact Magazine: http://www.ppsimpact.org/they-think-alike/
Markets move together.
More specifically, markets have similarities that make them understandable and predictable. Think about the stock market, for example: Choose your market index, and, generally speaking, it will tend to move together with similar indexes in response to market conditions (economic growth, interest rates, etc.). Drill down to a specific sector within the stock market, and you will see even closer correlation. Tech stocks behave similarly to other tech stocks, pharma to pharma, and so on.
This is because markets are made up of humans, and we are wired to think alike. We are simple creatures. For both me and you it’s monkey see, monkey do.
markets are made up of humans, and we are wired to think alike.This is a powerful understanding. Because we move together, think together, act together—we can be understood together. As uniquely weird and obnoxious as my teenagers may think I am, I am kind-of like my neighbor—and his neighbor, and his neighbor’s neighbor.
Understanding my neighbor (who happens to be of similar age, socioeconomic status, etc.), you can also—to a practical extent—understand me. This is where some basic market understanding and research can be extremely helpful.
If you can be successful in identifying the profile of a buyer of physical therapy services in your area, you can reach them efficiently by addressing the segment of the market as a whole.
If you want to sell to me, do not think of me as a guy named Tannus. Think of me as a male, aged 35-55, who is a working father and recreational athlete. Tannus is a guy who by himself will not make or break you. However, the market of Tannuses (Tanni?) in your community all think along the same lines and buy a lot of the same stuff—including physical therapy. They can help you—or your competitor—win.
To get a handle on your market, first pose the question: Who is my ideal client? Draw a picture of this client (literally or figuratively) and then list out the attributes that comprise him or her. These attributes can then be used to find information in your market such as:

  • How many of “them” are there?
  • Where do “they” live?
  • What do “they” buy when they are not buying from me?

Resources such as Census.gov are filled with free and easily accessible resources that you can use to answer the questions above—use ’em. Your market thinks alike. Use this information to find and reach your target segments and you’ll find a free and valuable marketing advantage just a few keystrokes away.