Here’s a quick question: What brand of laundry detergent do you use? I don’t
know, but I’d guess it would be a safe bet to say that whether it’s Tide, Ariel
or any other brand, it’s the same brand you usually buy.
How do I know
this? Laundry detergent is one of those things that you always tend to buy the
same brand of. Why? Because you’re used to it. It gives your clothes a certain
scent. If your mother used it, too, then you have emotional connections so deep
that you’ll find it almost impossible to violate them.
Barring an unusual
occurrence (like the store being out of it, leaving you in a pinch), chances are
that you will repeatedly buy the same brand that once captured your attention.
It has become your default laundry brand of choice – for forever, price
irrelevant. So, if you’re a marketer or business with a new brand, how do
you break those bonds of unconscious rabid loyalty?
Look for the windows of
opportunity all around you. They’re there in every transaction you know.
By looking for those windows you can break the unconscious pattern of purchasing
habits and attract customers who currently use another vendor. Yes, even the
very, very, very long-term loyal customers are excellent prospects if you find
the right window.
What do I mean by “window”? For instance, a new
pediatrician may have a more flexible schedule, while the popular, long-time
doctor is overloaded and unable to accept new patients. By accepting new
patients, the new pediatrician is able to spot a window and move in to get new
clients, while the “client spring” (the young, worried mother) is in
Finding a time of the year when the old pediatrician is likely to
be busiest and advertising your services is more likely to bring in new
patients. At the height of flu season the new doctor may offer home visits, or
longer hours – something the old doctor simply can’t.
You don’t have to
be a doctor. Merchants and retail stores of all kinds have the same opportunity.
Just last week, millions of Jews, like myself, went to a supermarket right after
Pessah for chometz: things like bread, pretzels, noodles and more.
usually buy, say, Angel’s bread, but when I go to the supermarket the only bread
that’s on the shelf is Berman’s, I’ll buy Berman’s. And, if I like it, they’ve
got a decent shot of getting my repeat business. By being available when the
competition was not, they earned my trying them once, and that streak may
This is why companies give housewives free samples of soap,
creams, perfumes and cleaning products. They know if they can just get a new
customer to try their product and like it, then they have opened the window to a
potential conversion and a new “for life” customer.
The reason so many
advertising dollars get focused on brides is because a wedding is one of those
events where you are most likely to change your buying habits. You are beginning
a new household with new products that both the husband and wife must agree on.
If a brand can get them on board at this unique point, they are likely to keep
them for a long time.
Weirdly enough, the right time for an obstetrician
to market is when a mother is in the maternity ward. At that point, the new
mother or mother to be might be unhappy with her current obstetrician. She will
be sitting there vowing to herself, “I’m not using this doctor again.” She is
ripe for information from a new doctor.
Targeted advertising is what
makes this new doctor the magical solution provider. He has the opportunity to
deliver the solution to the pain this new mom is facing if he knows what she is
most likely to need and want (attention and concern), and his information is
readily available. When such services are needed again in the future, this
attentive, marketing-savvy doctor will have a leg up on the other doctors vying
for her business.
The same is true for fancy soap in hotels. Under the
hood, it’s often a brand’s attempt at getting you to use their soap once, in a
luxurious setting. If you enjoy it there, they’ll soon have you buying their
brand and enjoying it and its luxurious association in your own home.
windows are there. You just have to look a little closer to find them! Trust me,
when you find the first one, suddenly it’s so much easier to find the
Issamar Ginzberg is a rabbi, businessman,
public speaker and marketer.