Who Will Buy Your Products and Who Are Your Customers?

1. Who Will Buy the Product ?

The manufacturer must first visualize the people who compose his market. There are very few products that appeal with equal force to men and women, young and old, rich and poor. Not all products make the same appeal in all sections of the country. The manufacturer of steam radiators and central heating plants would find no market existing in Florida, nor would this state be a profitable place in which to sell ice skates, mackinaws, skis, sleds, or hockey sticks.

The manufacturer must analyze his market with these things in mind. He must determine what people he is going to address before he begins to talk. Otherwise, he may resemble Demosthenes practicing oratory on the beach. Haranguing the air and the waves may be the best sort of training for addressing people, but an advertising campaign is too costly to be used as a training school.

A further analysis may be necessary, according to the nature of the product. Some manufacturers produce articles that can be sold successfully only to city dwellers, while others have to disregard that market and sell to the suburbanite and the farmer. Sometimes urban and suburban markets overlap; There are many articles that appeal as strongly to the city resident as to the inhabitant of the most re mote hamlet. In making the market analysis, people are the profitable subject to investigate, rather than territory. Potential markets may be overlooked, if fields are limited too rigidly.

A good story is told of a manufacturer of windmills who had a hustling young salesman with a territory covering New York State. After the salesman had made a selling trip to the farming centers, he surprised his employer by reporting that he had spent several days in the financial district of New York City. The employer said, “You are wasting your time among the brokers.” But the salesman demonstrated that the employer was wrong, by the best possible proof—a number of substantial orders. The astute salesman knew that many wealthy New York business men owned country estates where there was no water supply other than wells. He made it his business to seek out the prospects of this class in the city, and sold them.

The analysis of markets may extend even so far as to classification by religion. A manufacturer of rosaries, scapulars, crucifixes, and similar articles would find his market only among the people of the Catholic faith. Other products, such as drawing instruments and surveying instruments, would find their market confined largely to architects, engineers, and draughtsmen. Other products appeal only to professions, such as dental and surgical implements and medical books.

We could go on indefinitely, showing how the great mass of people comprising the population of any country may be divided and subdivided in analysis of demand for a given product. The point is that an advertiser must clearly define his market, and direct his advertising to that market, to make it most productive of results. Appeals directed to logical prospects have a reasonable chance of hitting the mark, but every appeal to persons who are not prospects is wasted ammunition. The advertiser should never fire without first aiming.

2. Classes of Consumers

Once the groups of prospects are determined, it is necessary further to make a careful study of these groups. Fortunate is the manufacturer whose product is such that it makes its appeal to all classes—rich, middle, and poor. The little child from the tenements is just as much a prospect for Life Savers as the wealthiest school miss. Between these two extremes is the great middle class—all prospects for the purchase of the little mint with the hole.

Some products, such as pipe organs, high-priced motor cars and motor boats, etc., can be bought only by the wealthy. But keen advertisers long ago learned that there is a field for the sale of such articles beyond that reached by the media read by the well-to-do. There is always a liberal sprinkling among the so-called middle and lower classes of society who have ample means to indulge in luxuries, and who wish to ape those in more exclusive social strata. These people have been reached, and are being reached, by manufacturers whose markets were formerly confined to the very wealthy class. Many manufacturers of luxuries, such as perfumes, “advertise to Fifth Avenue” in order to sell to the middle- class districts. The war made wealthy many who had never imagined that their dreams of wealth would come true .and today the manufacturer of the high-priced radio set is as likely to find fertile ground among these for his advertising seed as among those whose position in society is long established. Of course, such prospects are the exception, rather than the rule, hut they are present in numbers large enough to warrant an advertiser’s consideration, when analyzing his market.

Many products and services appeal equally to women and men, such as automobiles, musical instruments, games, travel, stationery clocks, books, golf and other sporting goods, fountain pens, pencils, eye glasses, cameras, and garden products.

3. Studying Consumers

How, when, where, and why the consumer buys must be known, in order that the advertiser, wholesaler, or retailer may reach these consumers with his appeals. He must know, not only the people who actually do the buying, but also those who influence it. Men usually pay for automobiles, but children and women largely influence the choice.

The question as to the precise group of people who should be the chief targets of the selling appeal is often a nice problem, requiring great care in the solution. A large canning company on the Atlantic coast finds that practically its entire output of canned fish is consumed in the inland states, where fresh fish are seldom found in the markets.

Far-seeing advertisers are taking advantage of the present to instill in the minds of the rising generation the name, trade-mark, and virtues of their products. They realize that the children of today are the men and women of tomorrow, and they are building prestige and goodwill with this future market. Their advertisements in juvenile publications are often duplicates of their appeal in other media. It is no uncommon instance for parents to discover that their children have already formed a preference for this or that product, and to ask for it by name, reciting its merits. This is particularly true of articles of juvenile wearing apparel and of food products.

4. Characteristics of Distribution

A manufacturer is vitally concerned with the characteristics of the distributors of his product, inasmuch as the success of his business depends to a large extent upon the way the product is handled by the man who sells it to the public. The manufacturer makes the goods, but usually jobbers, wholesalers, and retailers sell them. The manufacturer goes as far as he possibly can to create a consumer demand for his wares, by national or localized advertising, but the sales that keep the goods moving from the factory to the user are made, in tile last analysis, over the counter.

The wise manufacturer impresses upon his sales men the wisdom of not overstocking a retailer. At the same time, he is careful to examine into the reputation of the retail outlets that his salesmen select. If a manufacturer who sells direct to retailers is desirous of maintaining a retail price, and at retail house is known to be a price-cutting house, he may refuse to sell. The question of price maintenance in the United States has been the subject of several Federal bills that have been dragging through Congress for the last ten or twelve years without coming to a vote. The legal right of a manufacturer to fix the retail price of his product has not yet been established, and may never be. At present, there is no legal restraint against his selecting his customers and refusing to sell, even for cash.

5. Developing Demand

When an article is unknown, the logical step is to make it known. An advertiser who comes into the market with a new product must spend a large amount in educational advertising, he must familiarize the buying public with the nature of the article, what it is, what it does, and how it does it. Most of us can recall when such articles as radio receiving sets, tractors, paper drinking cups, adding machines, and vacuum cleaners were distinct novelties. Persistent advertising is largely responsible for the fact that they are no longer novel ties. There was a time when people would have ridiculed the suggestion that bran was a toothsome and appetizing breakfast dish. Advertising changed the ridicule into acceptance, and today Post’s “Bran Flakes,” Kellogg’s “Pep,” and many other equally well-known products are accepted by millions of people. Consistent educational advertising created a demand which makes them almost a necessity in many homes.

Monday has been the universal washday from time immemorial. For years, it was almost a tradition that no woman would consider a change. This superstition, for that was all it was, proved to be a great detriment to the laundry business. Laundries were crowded with work on Mondays and did not have enough work on other days. The American Laundry Machinery Company set out to overcome this ancient, fixed habit of Monday washdays, and to distribute the work of the laundry more evenly. To that end, they ran a prolonged advertising campaign, which finally educated the woman in the home to the very logical idea that there were five washdays in the week—Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.

The manufacturer who is alone in his field is really at a greater disadvantage in putting over a new product than if he had competition. If there were but one manufacturer of radio receiving sets instead of dozens, as there are, the lone manufacturer would find it slow, up-hill work to educate the public to the pleasures of radio. As it is every radio manufacturer’s advertising has helped to sell radio generally to the public, and it has been an easier process for each individual manufacturer to get his story over to a “radio-wise” audience. The same holds true of motor cars and many products of the past decade. There is hardly any doubt that Mr. Heinz sells more peanut butter because of Beech Nut and the other brands. Were Mr. Heinz alone in the peanut butter field, he would, in spite of his reputation and the popularity of his other food products, have to educate the people to the delights and advantages of peanut butter. A woman who enters a store today for peanut butter is familiar with many brands, through advertising, and accepts any one of them with confidence.

The Taylor Instrument Company at one time sold its products only to physicians. hospitals, drug stores and industrial plants. In recent years, through a campaign of educational advertising, it has not only made every mother in the country a prospective purchaser of clinical thermometers, but has sold thou sands of other types of thermometers through the department stores and the drug stores.

To attract to the particular product a part of the demand that already exists, the advertiser must plan his advertising so as to focus attention upon his product. He must show why his product is superior in quality. He always seeks, by persistent repetition, to associate his name or his trade-mark with the species of article to which it belongs. Many of us have to think twice to recall that there are automatic pencils other than Eversharp, or cameras other than Kodak. Twenty years ago, if you were asked to give quickly the name of a fountain pen, it is most likely that the name of Waterman would flash into your mind. Today you can probably name a half-dozen fountain pens without having to tax your memory to any great extent.

A manufacturer of a cleaning fluid has won a considerable part of the existing demand for cleaning fluids, by stressing the non-explosive and unburnable qualities of his product. So persistently did he drive home the warning against explosive, inflammable cleaning compounds, that many of his competitors were forced to change the formula of their products so that they, too, could advertise that their cleaning fluids were safe to use.

At first, advertising can create new wants and an advertiser can get new business, without diverting it from his competitor. As time goes on, however, the competitive factor is likely to become more and more important.

6. Educational Campaigns

When a product is a decided innovation, it is necessary to advertise its ad vantages in general. This the advertiser can well afford to do, secure in the knowledge that he has no immediate competition. When the Dictaphone first came on the market, such advertising as was done attempted to sell the idea that machine dictation is superior to dictation to a stenographer. The manufacturers complicated their advertising, however by concentrating too greatly on the mechanical aspects of the new method, so that a prejudice was built up against machines. Later, the manufacturers dropped the mechanics of the process, and devoted their sales and advertising message to selling the convenience, economy, and ease of dictating to the Dictaphone, and the greater comfort and efficiency of the stenographer who took her dictation from it. In this case, the early advertising was educational, but it was the wrong sort of education for the prospective users of the method. When the manufacturers changed their appeal, the results were correspondingly greater.

There are very few products on the market today that are made exclusively by one manufacturer. Those that are will be found to be, almost without exception, patented articles that stand off imitators. As soon as a new product appears, and people are shown its uses and advantages, it is not long before it is followed by one or many similar articles. As a general rule, however, most persons are inclined to favor the pioneers, unless subsequent products show marked improvements and advantages over the original.

7. Diverting Demand

Frequently a manufacturer who has enjoyed practically a monopoly in his field has to face the competition of new products. If his product has particular and individual advantages, he must emphasize them more strongly than ever. Fortunately for such advertisers, people are largely creatures of habit. They will continue to demand the style or brand they have been accustomed to buy for years, in spite of the alluring copy appeals of the new advertiser. Nevertheless, established houses that have done business for half a century or more, without advertising, have frequently been forced to adopt advertising as a protective measure against the inroads being made by newer, advertised products. Only a few years ago, one of the oldest paint manufacturing concerns in the United States published its first national advertisement.

8. Repeat Orders

The “turnover” of a product must be taken into consideration in planning the advertising campaign. A product that is designed to sell once only, and to last a lifetime, does not call for the same sort of advertising as the one that is being sold, consumed, and replaced continually. The saturation point of the one is reached at some time, when further advertising would be waste. For the other, it may appear that the saturation point will never be reached. Of course, very few articles are made that can be expected never to wear out and require re placement. But there are some few that, being sold once, can depend upon new markets only as population increases, and as one generation gives way to another.

An interesting example of reaching the saturation point is bread. When bread advertising started in earnest, which was only about fifteen years ago, 50 percent of the bread was made at home. During the last fifteen years, the commercial baker has se cured practically all of the business that was previously shut off from him by the habit of home baking. A recent survey shows that now less than six percent of the bread is baked in the home.

How long will it be before a customer conies back for more Products such as soap, foods, toilet preparations, etc., being used tip constantly, need frequent reminder copy to keep the demand steady. Other products that are seasonal require concentrated advertising effort during the season when demand should be active, or before it. An examination of the advertising pages of the magazines will show various illustrations of how advertising is planned to take the best advantage of seasonal demand. For instance, a fall or winter issue of a magazine will contain advertisements of furs, stoves, sweaters, warm gloves, etc., while a spring or summer issue will contain advertisements of fly screens, electric fans, ice cream freezers, summer clothing, sporting goods, etc. Manufacturers of products for all-year-round consumption adapt their ad to the seasonal appeal. Advertisers, whose sales are heavier at some periods of the year than at others, frame their appeals to create a constant year-round demand. A good example of this was the advertising of Coca- Cola, in which the keynote was, “Thirst knows no season.”

9. Increasing Uses

In the preceding article we related how Three-in-One Oil and Listerine had advertised new uses for their products, in order to increase sales. The manufacturer who can discover new uses for his product is not only in a more firmly intrenched position in his established market, but he is in position to extend it. Frequently, new uses will develop a new market. Old Dutch Cleanser, advertised to the housewife for cleaning floors, woodwork, bath tubs, and kitchen utensils, breaks into a new market in the industrial field, and advertises in business publications and trade papers its uses in shop and factory for cleaning machinery and for cleansing workmen’s hands of grime.

As an opposite instance, a product breaks into the household field, after selling to the industrial field. The American Steel Wool Company for years sold its product (steel wool) to machine shops and to builders, who used it as a weatherproof and fireproof filler. Then they entered the home market, put up steel wool in packages, christened it “Brillo,” and advertised it to the housewife for cleaning pots and pans.

The manufacturers of blasting powders, whose product formerly found a market only among contractors, excavators, quarries, etc., broke into the farm field by showing the farmer how he could expedite the removal of tree stumps by blasting, instead of digging them out or using stump-pulling machines. They even went a step farther, and showed that the use of their blasting charges exerted a chemical influence on the soil that enriched it.

Our grandmothers probably used disinfectants only in case of contagious diseases in the home. The modem housewife has been shown, through advertising, that soap and water floor-scrubbing is insufficient, and has been told to add Lysol or C.N. to the water in the scrubbing pail. This educational advertising has increased the sales of the two products, and has contributed toward making homes more germ-proof.

The Dennison Manufacturing Company continually advertises new uses for its products. Crêpe paper, once used merely for decorative purposes, has been advertised as suitable for the making of an in finite variety of articles, ranging from artificial flowers to lamp shades, and even to articles of furniture and clothing.

10. The Family of Products

After a product has once won popular favor, gained the confidence of its users, and established a reputation, it is an easy matter for the manufacturer to add another member to the family. The newcomer enjoys the benefit of the reputation already made, and rides into popular favor on the strength of it. A splendid example is the Heinz “57 Varieties.” Another is Quaker Oats, thanks to which Quaker Puffed Wheat found a receptive market with a public whose confidence had been won by the oldest member of the family. Colgate made soap for years before introducing dental cream and talcum powder—but the Colgate reputation was a sufficient guaranty for the new products, and also for any future additions that might be made to the Colgate line.

Such well-known names as Bauer & Black, John son & Johnson, Squibb, Lambert, Lehn & Fink, Mc Kesson & Robbins, and dozens of others in the medicine and toilet-goods field, Stewart-Warner in the auto accessory field, or Kleinert in the rubber- goods field, are sufficient to convey a conviction of worth and dependability to anyone who sees these names as sponsors for new products.

11. Advertising in Season

In planning an advertising campaign, the advertiser must take into consideration not only the time when the dealer is in the market to purchase his goods, but also the time when the consumer is ready to buy from the dealer. Strait hats are purchased in the winter by the dealer who sells them in the summer. Haberdashers buy their stocks of summer underwear long before spring and their winter goods long before fall. All this must be taken into consideration by the advertiser, especially if he adopts the practice of most wide-awake advertisers, of selling the dealer on the advertising that he is going to do to stimulate consumer demand. Most experienced advertisers prepare their material so well in advance of actual publication, that their road men are equipped with portfolios of complete advertising campaigns, which they bring to the dealer’s attention when making their regular selling calls.

When goods are sold to consumers only at certain seasons of the year, or when seasonal sales predominate, buying policy based chiefly on the desire for rapid turnover is often impractical and dangerous. There are many kinds of goods in this class—furniture, straw hats, jewelry, rubber footwear, clothing, and sport equipment, to name only a few of the out standing examples.

The general practice in the marketing of seasonal products has long been based on the policy of advance orders from retailers, placed months before the beginning of the consuming season, arid determined by the retailer’s expectations of seasonal demand. During the long period of generally rising prices, this policy was adhered to with little variation in most seasonal industries. When prices began to move downward, some dealers questioned the soundness of the policy, and were tempted to withhold orders until seasonal demand prompted immediate purchases. Advance orders for seasonal goods are essential to the welfare of manufacturers, dealers, and consumers alike.

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