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School is back in session. So, how about a little review? No quiz, I promise … It's about your buyers, though. How well do you know them?

Do you know your buyer?

Creating buyer personas isn’t just a way to fill up a meeting block. And actually executing on them is even better. Take the example below from National Car Rental.

They added a dose of humor, but the point is clear: They are targeting a specific buyer. They are overtly mentioning the buyer’s habits and idiosyncrasies. They are calling attention to detail what they know about that buyer segment, and then catering an offering to that buyer segment. They are getting you, the seasoned traveller (do you really want to identify with the cowboy boot guy here?) to nod your head and say, “Yeah, that’s me.” If you are not a brand-loyal rental car kind of person, perhaps this ad will stick in your head the next time you make a reservation online.

Understanding Your Buyers' Needs and Catering To Them

My sister told me about a special that Ann Taylor LOFT (“LOFT”) uses. If you are a teacher, you get access to specific perks and additional discounts. Some of these perks are accessible only to teachers, so adding the element of exclusivity increases the cachet. They take it a step further by offering style guides and even access to grant money.

Here’s the kicker that made me say, “Wow---LOFT really gets it.” They host in-store teacher appreciation nights. These are dedicated nights when a store will stay open after traditional hours, and the only clientele permitted in the stores are teachers.

What a great idea! It’s challenging enough to balance work and home and sports after-school nights and such. Here, LOFT caters to that by working around the schedule of one of their prized demographics. And the kicker they get out of this is word-of-mouth marketing. Case in point: My sister was telling someone else, and then even told me about this. (And I don’t have a reason to shop at LOFT.) They are creating a loyal gang of brand advocates simply by making it easy to spend money with them.

Not a bad review of two marketing concepts. And no quiz.  But go brush up on your four Ps anyway.

Continue reading "Know Your Buyer: Two Marketing Case Studies" ... Read the full article

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image of Alan Belniak
Alan Belniak works at a major Boston-based software company (PTC) focusing on product lifecycle management, where he is employed as the company’s Director of Social Media Marketing. In this role, Alan works in strategic and tactical fashions to find ways to use social media channels to better interact with customers, and to direct that feedback to marketing, R&D, sales, and other appropriate groups. Alan holds a bachelor’s of Science degree in engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, MA, and his master’s degree in Business Administration, with a focus on Technology Entrepreneurship, from Babson College in Wellesley, MA. Alan blogs over at, and can be found on Twitter, too: