Centuries ago, Alexander the Great marched his forces out of Macedonia to conquer the known world. After subduing the neighboring Balkan kingdoms, he seized lands in Asia Minor and North Africa, and soon his empire reached all the way to India. His dominion was unimaginably large for people who traveled mainly on foot or horseback. Your ambition, like Alexander’s, involves vanquishing an implacable foe, but the methods you employ involve marketing and advertising rather than invasion by a well-trained professional army. Yours is a peaceful conquest.
Conquest marketing includes tactics for engaging people who aren’t your customers but who use similar products and services purchased from one of your competitors. Some consumers maintain a long-term relationship with the other brand while other people have a more transactional connection to them. While conquest marketing sounds like an aggressive act, it’s really a kindness. Your products and services are better than the alternatives in the marketplace, and telling people how they are superior gives them the opportunity to have more enjoyable experiences. Conquest marketing uses similar tactics to prospect marketing, but there are some meaningful differences.
Finding people who aren’t customers is more complex than it seems. A compiled data source will provide with information about all the people in a given market. When you combine that data with information from your transactions and your customer database, you get a view of the people who are available for your conquest marketing universe. In many cases, it’s helpful to take an additional step. When you integrate the data, you should also connect people who live at the same address or belong to the same family. Some products are used by everyone in the household, so engaging other people isn’t relevant. Understand the relationships to avoid spending money on marketing communications that won’t produce a response.
The information you have about your customers helps analysts create predictive models that indicate whether they appreciate your brand or products. The analytics provide a method of prioritizing the available people. Some of them will have an established preference for another brand. You are wasting marketing dollars by approaching them with offers for products they’ll never find appealing. People with an affinity for your product will be easier to convert. That’s not to say you shouldn’t reach people who aren’t predisposed to like your product, but you need to use less costly methods to introduce your product and start a methodical process for framing your advantages until they’re convinced you’re better.
Individual consumers often very quickly make decisions to consider another brand. While your marketing efforts have nurtured a growing willingness to buy your product, the tipping point for an individual can come happen fast. Watching the marketplace for signals they’re ready to make a change tells you when it’s time to intensify your efforts. Some signals may be personal, like posting a comment or question to social media or coming to one of your retail locations. Others will be market-oriented, representing an opportunistic strategy. For instance, you may choose to focus some of your marketing on conquest messages when your competitor has experienced a data breach or has been forced to issue a recall. People will be more open to making a change after an alarming event.
Alexander the Great, through audacity, opportunism and tactical brilliance, became the ruler of much of the world. Conquest marketing calls for the same skills. You have to be bold when contrasting your product to your competitors’. You must be prepared to take advantage of problems or a consumer’s willingness to make a different decision. And you have to execute your marketing efforts quickly and effectively, but in doing so you give yourself the chance to conquer your marketplace.