Why waste energy on a general approach when you can build your own tribe?
Understanding your customers is one of the basic principles of marketing. Sounds simple right? Well, you may find getting this right is actually trickier than it seems.
A tribe forms when you identify a group of characteristics which bind your key customers together, such as a collective passion, vision, stage of life, or desire for change.
They are incredibly important to your marketing strategy as they spread messages about their experiences to other like-minded individuals, so once your business knows what appeals to them, it can focus on creating stories their desired customers will want to share.
Identify and conquer
Before you can identify with a tribe, you must first classify your niche and define your brand position. This will help you undertake the correct research, which enables you to understand their values and beliefs better.
Once this stage is established, you will be able to position yourself as a business thought leader by creating content which appeals to your tribes specifically and will get the consumers you want talking about your brand.
With the internet making it increasingly difficult for organisations to be involved in conversations between communities, you must make sure your strategy remains proactive. You should continue to find new and exciting ways to reach these groups, so you stay well-informed on their current thoughts and opinions.
Engage and lead
So, you’ve identified your tribes, now how should you best engage them?
The trick is to think about what motivates these groups, what are they talking about? If you can start involving your business in their conversations, you’ll attract their positive attention.
One good example comes from the market-leading stain remover Vanish, which used the simple concept of its “Tip Exchange” to engage its target audience. This is an online forum, on the company’s website, which aims to bring potential, like-minded consumers together to share tips on washing and removing stubborn stains.
One of the best things about this platform was the fact it was honest, authentic and obvious in who it was targeting and what it was trying to achieve. This meant online users were happy to give it their attention and valued the opinions they were hearing from other individuals.
Vanish essentially created its own tribe of brand advocates, who talked about its platform because it helped them come together and solve the same problem they all had.
Simple but highly effective.
Research from the University of Royal Holloway has shown tribes on Twitter have their own language, so studying online interaction can also enable you to create relevant brand messaging, so you’re more appealing to your audience.
Look at what your tribe are saying about competitors too. This will allow you to ensure your offerings compare well to others in the same industry.
Tailor your message
According to Seth Godin when it comes to assessing the right marketing channels, your job is not to reach everyone, but to identify the most relevant niche you can easily sustain.
This information will help you to tailor your products and services specifically to the needs of the tribes. By targeting a range of individuals — happy, unhappy, recent, early, active, inactive — through a variety of channels, such as phone interviews and email questionnaires, you can get a more accurate picture of current brand engagement. This means you can adapt your services to act as a market niche.
For example, BabyCenter focuses on the shift from being a woman to a mother and what this means. It is a place for mums to chat and get support. It’s highly relatable and immediately clear to consumers who are the target audience. BabyCenter has found the balance between facilitating conversation and getting its messages out.
Identifying which channels will be most effective for your messages is imperative in achieving success with your tribes. Perhaps set up a quick survey designed for the groups you would most like to target to understand which channels they use so your business can achieve maximum engagement.
The primary question should be “Which social networking site (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.) do you use the most?” You can also include other relevant questions to help you understand their social media behaviours.
Once established you can tweak your marketing strategy to focus on achieving maximum exposure through the most popular channels. You should also look at how you can combine online and offline strategies to further promote your offerings.
Prepare for evolution
It is inevitable your original tribes will evolve over time. Consumers’ opinions and beliefs are continuously changing, meaning your tribe may split and break down into smaller ‘micro-tribes’.
However, it is not just members who will change in time but also the new members who arrive, bringing with them new ideas and thoughts which will impact on how your business shapes its practices.
By analysing trends which relate to the consumers’ lifestyles, demographics and economic factors, businesses will be able to identify data showing how they need to adapt to fit with the new consumer landscape.
If organisations can understand how their target groups will evolve they will be able to keep ahead of the game and continue to be perceived as leaders, giving them a competitive advantage and gaining long-term consumer loyalty.
Tim Fuller is managing director of Discount Displays.
How To Find And Engage Audiences Through Tribal Marketing