Why you need to choose how exclusive your awesome party should be

Years ago when I first moved to Philadelphia, I was in search of a hair salon.  Finding a quality place to get your hair done is never an easy task, and it was one I certainly wasn’t looking forward to.  After a few weeks, I finally got a great lead.  Woohoo!  One of my co-workers whose hair I just loved gave me the details of the salon she had been going to for a while.  She swore by their in-house made all natural products, and credited them with how great her hair looked.  

So off I went to make an appointment.  It wasn’t easy, but I was finally able to get squeezed in.  And sure enough, I loved the products and the way they made my hair look and feel.  Oh yes!  I thought.  The search is over.  I have found my new salon!  Before I left, I tried to go ahead and make my next appointment.  Unfortunately for me, they were booked well in advance, and I wouldn’t be able to get another appointment for months.  Of course, that just wasn’t going to work for me.  Ugh!  What was I going to do?

Apparently, the salon and products were so popular, the regulars were booking their appointments out for a year at a time.  This left little to no room for new clients to come in.  While it was great for the salon, in that they had a dedicated and consistent clientele, it wasn’t such a great thing for new people who wanted to become a customer.  

Don’t be a tease.  Spread the awesomeness as a way to grow your business.

For your business, the goal is of course to have customers who want to be your customer.  But that doesn’t do you or your customers much good at all if you aren’t able to get your product to your customers when they want it.  At that salon, I wanted to be a customer, but because I couldn’t get an appointment, I had to get my needs met elsewhere.  

In the case of this salon, of course there is only so much work that one stylist can do.  However, the thing that made people really want to come back again and again were the hair care products.  Because the products were so good, it didn’t actually even matter if the salon owner was the one to do my hair.  Using those products, someone else (qualified) could have easily styled my hair and I would have been satisfied.  

Here this business had an absolutely fabulous product that many customers swore by.  But only a few people were able to benefit, because it had such limited accessibility.  And by limiting how the products were distributed, ultimately growth of the business was limited.

What does this have to do with your business?

As you work to develop a product that oozes so much awesomeness that your customer can’t help but want it, it is extremely important for you to think through how accessible you want your product to be.  As a part of your marketing strategy, do you want to go for exclusive distribution, where only a select few customers are able to access your products?  Or would you prefer to go to the other end of the spectrum to intensive distribution where large masses of people are able to get what it is you are offering.  Or is the best alternative for you somewhere in between?  

There are many factors that will feed into what level of distribution you should have for your product, including the reputation you want to have for it, how many people you would like to have access to it, and your ability to be able to efficiently fulfill demand when it comes.  And since we’re in the digital age, there are now more ways than ever to make your products available to your customers.  So while they may not always be able to access you or every product you have to offer, there are still ways to give your customers pieces of your business whenever they choose to seek it out.  This could be in the form of sharing information, or in allowing your customers the ability to shop online on demand.  The choice is yours.  

Ideally, you’ll make those choices prior to establishing a great deal of demand.  This will help ensure your customers don’t find themselves frustrated by wanting some of what you have to offer, without any way of being able to get it.

Check out chapter seven of Delight Inside for more information on having the right product at the right place at the right time for your customers.  Included in the chapter you’ll find details on:

  • Distribution strategy:  How exclusive should you be?
  • Channel strategy:  Choosing the best way to get your product out there
  • Supply-chain management:  Make sure your customer gets his cornbread

About the Author

Sonia Thompson is the founder and Chief Change Agent at TRY Business. Stay in touch with Sonia on Twitter and Google+.
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