What’s a Repertoire Market and What’s it Mean to You?

David Corkindale has recently written and article for the Wall Street Journal and in his blog called “Mistakes Marketers Make – Seven pieces of conventional wisdom and why they are wrong.”  Great title because we all want to know if we’re the ones making the mistakes. 🙂

The meat of his message is a new term called “repertoire markets.”  This would be what I might call a product cluster.  Basically it’s all the brands that make up a particular category.  His article warns about getting into brand wars because, consumers aren’t as brand loyal as they think they are.  Especially when it comes to what I would call “Low-involvement” purchases such as toothpaste or canned soup.  I might beg to differ when an expensive or “high-involvement” purchase is involved.

But here’s where the really cool, yet unstated benefit of the article is (for those of us NOT managing multi-bazillion dollar brands) – Let’s call it “Affiliative Segmentation.”

Affiliative Segements are a sort of customer “world.”  For example.  I may be an avid cyclist and spend oodles of cash on all things related to cycling — but not everywhere else.  You see, Affiliative Segments look at where I spend my cash and time and NOT just my demographic or psychographic data.

You can look at Repertoire Markets the same way.

I’m doing some research on a specific financial services offering for a client.  When I pulled up all the web sites in that market, they were all practically the same – you could remove the names and not be able to guess who is who.  That made me decide to pull up all the sites that the target audience may actually look at (regardless of industry) — see those would be “affiliate segments.”  I’m asking the question – who is the audience and what’s important to them.  Where do they spend time – what appeals to them.  Just because we’re talking about financial services doesn’t mean they should have to look at boring – information that isn’t appealing to them.

What you can do:

  1. Take a moment to pull down your materials and web sites.  If you replace your name with another company’s can you tell the difference?
  2. Think about your audience — what other interests do they have?  What do the love — in addition to your product?  Check out those web sites and materials and try to adapt to that style.  It will differentiate you from others AND you will become more appealing to your target market.
  3. Check your language – are you speaking in the voice of your industry or the voice of your customer?  You know which one is best — right? (voice of your customer — just in case.)

I’m curious about what you think about this.  Let me know.

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