Target marketing or brand exclusivity: one in the same?

Seth Godin, one of the most insightful and innovative marketing/branding gurus around, has a blog I hardly ever miss.

Just before Christmas he blogged about exclusivity. The passage that caught my eye and resonated with me was just this:

“Limiting the supply of your service, or the quantity of your product, or being aggressive in who you sell to (and who you don’t) are all time-tested ways to build a killer brand. Humans like being insiders, and will work hard to create their own imaginary demarcations to demonstrate that they’ve made it inside.”

So it seems Mr. Godin has identified another differentiator, exclusivity.

Yes, in and of itself exclusivity can indeed differentiate a business, particularly a service business, from the other competitors.

But looked at in a different light, exclusivity is the fine art of targeting markets.

It isn’t that the service is exclusive, it’s just tailored to meet the specific needs of a specific group of prospects.

From atop a Colorado 14erThere’s the example of the Colorado chiropractor who’s a mountain climbing enthusiast. He’s developed his practice around helping other climbing and outdoors enthusiasts with problems resulting from their recreational injuries. People knowing that their practitioner has personal experience on the mountain, can talk their “language”, has experienced the thrill and the pain associated with their mutual activity, has treated those who have climbed before, are loyal patients who, within their network of climbers, will spread the word.

It’s a small market segment, even in Colorado But it does meet all the criteria this doctor needs: an identifiable group with similar interests and motivations, large enough to sustain the business and its competitors, and with the desire to use the type of services he provides.

So whether it’s exclusivity or target marketing, it is as Mr. Godin avows, a very effective approach to building a strong brand.

Martin Jelsema

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