Tips for Entrepreneurs: Get rich quick

Laundry detergent is one of those things that you always tend to buy the same brand of because you’re used to it.

Laundry 370 (photo credit: thinkstock)
Laundry 370
(photo credit: thinkstock)
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 motion.
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.
If I 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 continue.
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.
The 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 others.
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Issamar Ginzberg is a rabbi, businessman, public speaker and marketer.