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Competing For Mindshare Or Meaningshare

by David Brock on June 24th, 2013

Mindshare is top of mind(so to speak) in most marketing and sales conversations.  How do we capture the hearts, minds and imaginations of customers?

We want to capture mindshare with consumers.  Creativity in commercials, advertising, leveraging social platforms, increasing volume (figuratively and literally) all aimed at getting the attention of the consumer.

We want to capture mindshare of corporate buyers.  We race to create more content to have more to share with them.  We diversify channels of communication, we leverage every tool or technology we can, we increase volume to capture the attention of the business buyer.

There is lots of stuff around focusing on creating mindshare.

It seems, however, we are talking about the wrong thing.  Shouldn’t we be focusing on creating meaning for the customers?  If we focused on creating meaning, we probably wouldn’t have to worry about mindshare.

The problem with focusing on mindshare is it’s usually all about us.  It’s about who we are, what we do–even well crafted.

Maybe meaningshare is a bit of wordsmithing, but it might forces us to put the customer at the center of what we do.  We create meaning by focusing on what the customer cares about.  What helps them improve?  What helps them address new opportunities?  What helps them learn and grow?  What helps them solve their problems?

But this means a change in approach.  Not every customer has the same problems.  Not every customer faces the same issues or has the same priorities.  Casting a wide net is meaningless, it creates noise.  We’re forced to reduce the meaning, consequently the impact.  The broader the audience, the less relevant and impactful our message.

If we are going to create meaning, we have to be relevant.  Rather than massive “blasts” and broad campaigns, we have to narrow our focus and our messages.  From a marketing point of view, tools provide the capability for Mass Customization.  Sales is where we are very focused and specific.

So mindshare becomes easy if we focus on meaning.  What does what we communicate mean to the customer?  How is it relevant specifically to the issues they face?  What are their specific goals, how do we help them achieve them?  What opportunities are they missing, how do we help them recognize them?

Are you focusing on mindshare or meaningshare?

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  1. Brian MacIver permalink

    Its the same as competing for the best shelf space in the Supermarket. You want your stuff stacked in a “Hot-spot”, not dumped in a storeroom. great post Dave.

  2. I know in terms of marketing there’s a big shift happening from “broadcasting” messages to “narrowcasting” messages. That is, creating content that speaks to each unique individual instead of every member of the target audience. I can understand how many interpret the move to digital automated marketing as a shift to “broadcasting” but most of the targeting technology really supports communicating one-to-one. Great post!

    • David: Thanks for taking the time to comment. You make such an outstanding point. The tools provide us the capability of “Narrowcasting,” ultimately down to a segment size of 1. We can have such a greater impact by doing this, than very broad, very general messages.

  3. Hey David,
    Creating meaning for customers should obviously be the first priority for brands. Even if it’s not, at first, an attainable goal, I think it’s something to shoot for. One reason creating meaning can be tougher is that ideally it requires the customer’s input. This requires a relationship and that relationship may be more challenging for new businesses coming right out of the gate. That’s because they are still trying to figure out exactly who their customers are. Trying to figure out who you are serving and what they really need from you (rather than what you thought they needed) is a critical first step.

    • Heather, I don’t disagree, but I don’t think an established relationship is a precondition. As you mention, it requires really knowing who your customers are and what they value. It requires different approaches to segmentation and deeper understanding of these segments. Fortunately, technology is enabling us to do this much more easily, rich analytics, narrowcasting, and other tools enable us to do this much more easily. I do believe the concepts of “mass customization–markets of 1” are starting to get within our reach (actually it is through sales).

      But once sales is engaged, we can be totally focused on creating meaning–unfortunately too many sales people don’t do this, instead relying on the same old meaningless pitches. Thanks, as always for the great comment.

  4. Dave, I think narrowcasting is either synonymous or closely related to the “markets of one” you espouse. If you want to get my attention, be meaningful to ME.

    It’s certainly easier to have a one-time understanding of my products and spew that generic content to a 1000 prospects than it is to understand each prospect and adapt my product capability to that prospect’s goals, needs and desires.

    But if you want mindshare, you’ve got to do the latter.

    Well said, thanks for the insight.

    • Thanks Jim, if we want to maximize our impact and influence on customers we have to be relevant to them. This means being totally focused on things they care about, rather than being general. Thanks for reminding us!

  5. Pontus Staunstrup permalink

    Great post! You really provided some food for thought. Also, there is probably a happy medium between the one-to-one scenario and the risk of a diluted mass messaging. In my experience creating relevant content for a clearly defined target audience often provides value for a larger group.
    Thanks, Pontus

    • Pontus, thanks for the comment. Clearly, it’s the responsibility of the sales person to create that 1 to 1 communication. Increasingly, however, there are tools for marketing to more closely target or approximate the 1 to 1. I think a portfolio of communications strategies is really important–one to many, one to few, one to one.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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