One Of These Things Is NOT Like The Other!
Updated: May 22
I had to highlight this pervading thought about product brands and service brands “being the same”. It’s a growing misconception amongst the local small business community that’s very misinformed and can only hurt an online presence.
Mass Marketing vs Target Marketing
For five years I had a local client with a successful product brand who changed their marketing from a few selected spa’s to mainstream stores across the country with the singular objective to reach more buyers. As time passed, they expanded the business, offering restorative treatment services for natural hair, starring their products. Having had firsthand experience with the cost of mass marketing and controlled pricing, their focus shifted from that, to a smaller demographic with the emphasis of needing room to charge higher prices for their services.
This, is where product brands differ from service brands. One desires more and more sales, while the other, wants to sell on a smaller scale for much more money. Their goals, compared to each other are as far apart as the East is from the West. And for these businesses to have any success online, a web developer has to be able to discern these lines of differentiation and understand what’s unique about them, in order to create the appropriate representation.
Pushing Sales vs Attracting Sales with Branding
Prior to their focus shifting from being a product brand distributor, the owners also frequented many local upmarkets and small business product shows in Trinidad. They used these events to get their products in front more clients to push sales towards their business, sometimes only walking away with barely three to five hundred dollars after spending thousands to produce a variety of their products as well as register to acquire a spot to display and possibly sell them.
But by restructuring the way they presented themselves, no longer was it a requirement to stand by the roadside to make money, because their branding did that for them by attracting the right clients to their doors. And from barely making five hundred dollars on a couple products, they began bringing in five hundred dollars per client, to home visits worth thousands, which, compared to the hours of selling at markets is clearly an important distinction to be made between these two sale strategies, and especially since the results were in alignment with the initial goals of the business owner: to sell on a smaller scale with higher prices.
The Broad Way vs The Narrow Way
I’ve noticed, a lot of generic advice floating around the local small business community and it mainly exist because those giving the advice are blinded to the differences between these two types of businesses. That being said, I also know it’s easier to agree with someone when they come “correct” 99% of the time and the majority of people support them. But it’s with the other 1% you gain respect as a thought leader, by listening to what everyone else is saying and choosing to think for yourself.
Having actual work experience to backup your contrasting point of view, takes the Boo! out of saying “that’s not true!” And I believe that’s a powerful thing to demonstrate for those who might not be as daring as you are, to step out and be the unfavorable minority. Like rainbow trout in the time of spawning (unlike most fishes), they always swim upstream, against the strong current, which is harder than swimming with the flow of the current; all in order to produce life. This is another characteristic of true leadership: the ability to stand against something as much as you stand for something.
So, if you’re a product or service brand and you’re curious about where you differ from each other in your marketing efforts online, like who you’re targeting and how you intend to reach them, consider the story of the business owner above as a guideline and as my gift to you for the holidays.
I am the Founder and Visual Brand Strategist at The BrandTUB
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