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Idea: Help Your Customers Become Insiders

By Rex Hammock

It will take decades for historians to fully understand the presidential election of 2016. One thing is sure, however. A majority of voters don’t like either candidate or party. In the most recent Gallup survey, 42 percent identified themselves as independents, while only 23 percent identified themselves as Republicans and 23 percent identified themselves as Democrats.

This year, the term “independent” may not be so accurate. In many ways, those 46 percent of partisans together can be called “insiders,” and the 42 percent of independents can be called “outsiders.” In this political year, how the outsiders vote will determine the next president.

Like potential voters, potential customers are often driven to make purchasing decisions based on emotions related to being “insiders” versus “outsiders.” “Think different” was Apple’s advertising slogan in 1997 that positioned the Apple brand against IBM, whose slogan was “Think.” It was the classic insider versus outsider advertising campaign. Being different is bold. Being different is satisfying.

It’s important to remember, however, that potential customers are reluctant to think of themselves as outsiders—different—until they are clearly invited inside. Until then, they stick with the cola instead of the un-cola.

Perhaps the worst thing that can happen to someone who walks through the door to purchase a new product is to find the marketing message doesn’t match up to the actual product inside.

Bottom line for marketers: Help those in your marketplace recognize how you are different, how you’re not the insider who has lost your edge or is out of touch with what’s happening in their industry or oblivious to their goals. But don’t stop there. Use the direct-to-customer marketing media tools to welcome customers who have become owners of your product. Help them fulfill their desire to make the most of being on the inside.

(Photo: Thinkstock)