America the melting pot is a nice aspiration. However, most people live in areas where their neighbors share similar values and motivations to themselves. Most people choose to live in a location where they feel they fit it. It is a natural part of human nature.
There is no one America, and there is no one NYC. People in NYC share values in common, such as openness to cultural diversity, drive, and a live and let live attitude, among others. But, each neighborhood has its unique flavor and shared values and experiences. For example, people living in luxury high-rises in Manhattan are likely to have different life experiences than those who live in the Bronx for instance. As a business owner, knowing these differences can provide a competitive advantage.
These shared experiences in a neighborhood can give you a window into your target’s outlook. For example, Chelsea in the 1990s was the epicenter of gay men in the city. Most had left the hometowns because they felt ostracized. They came to New York because they wanted to be free from the negative experiences of the past. This tells us that this group valued personal expression and acceptance over comfortable and familiar. Chelsea is also a great example of watch out with this approach. It is not uncommon for a neighborhood to change. As attitudes have shifted, there was less of a stigma attached to being gay, at least in NYC, and people moved. It’s not because their values changed. Rather, once a target’s driving values are fulfilled, others rise to the surface. This is why a detailed, current understanding of a neighborhood is very helpful.
Once you’ve identified your target and what they value, it is time to focus on your message to them. This is where you craft your marketing message. A great message uses the benefit your product or service provides to shows how it solves your target's needs. In addition, it has to communicate how your business is different from others who may also have solutions.
In the Chelsea example, a benefit that spoke to freedom of expression letting you be who you are without fear would resonate. Many successful small businesses in the area did just that. The rise of boutique gyms provides a great example. In many of these gyms, a point was made to celebrate “gayness”. People spent a premium over like alternatives to be in a place where they felt they fit in.
A marketing strategy in its most basic form is the set of tools that you will use to deliver your Brand Message to your target through in-market advertising. This is based on the media the target uses the most.
This is where it can be challenging because now you have to consider the cost of the different media and what you can reasonably afford as a marketing budget. This is why media targeting is so important. You can’t afford to waste money so finding those niches where your audience congregates can improve results and reduce cost and improve the bottom line.
These are the three most basic steps in developing a small business marketing strategy in NYC.
A marketing plan outlines how you will add all three recommendations together.
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Brian Cairns, CEO of Prostrategix Consulting. Over 25 years of business experience as a corporate executive, entrepreneur, and small business owner. For more information, please visit my LinkenIn profile
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