Size vs Quality

I’ve talked about target markets before and how we end up structuring our business to serve each of our target markets better. One thing I have been seeing again and again (often by those who aren’t marketers) is the mistake of confusing size with quality.

Size

You must have seen the various advertisements out there that say ‘Get 6,000+ subscribers in a week’ or ‘Reach 100,0000 readers everyday’ or their like.  The main thrust of these advertisements / methods is that more is better – get a lot of subscribers / viewers / readers / etc. and you’ll do well.  Really.

Except that’s not always the case.  In fact, unless you are in a mass market business (e.g. shirts, pants, food) you can often find you’ve spent a lot of time or money (or both) and generated very little return.

Quality

Why’s that? It’s a matter of quality / target market.  Many of the above ‘quantity’ methods that are promoted focus on providing a large amount of subscribers / readers / fans / etc. – but few of them will actually buy from you.  There can be a number of reasons for why someone is not a valid ‘target’ like:

  • income level
  • age
  • location
  • personality (especially if you are running ‘free’ or ‘contest’ promotions constantly)
  • etc.

An Example

A great personal example of size not necessarily translating to purchases – our video reviews.  We have over 5,000+ subscribers at the time of writing to our video reviews on Youtube with over 1,000 views within the first week of a video being posted.  In comparison, we have only about 1,000 or so newsletter customers.  Yet in terms of conversions, our newsletter beat our videos by a vast percentage.

Now it’s not just the fact that the two are different mediums (customers read our newsletter for release dates, information about our site, etc. while the videos are more informative / educational in nature) but also the matter of targetting.  Newsletter subscribees are interested in purchasing from us – there’s no ‘fluff’ in the newsletter to attract non-customers; while the video reviews attract numerous non-customers from around the world.  In fact, the majority of our subscribers aren’t even Canadian (and with shipping rates being what they are, are automatically non-customers for the most part).

The Caveat

It’s not to say all these promotions / methods / tactics don’t work.  They obviously can and do for some businesses.  They can even provide a great initial boost to a site that is attempting to find a market.  And with the way Facebook and other social media systems work, that initial boost (the seeding) can be extremely important.  It’s just understanding the limitations and likely problems you will run into using these methods.

2 thoughts on “Size vs Quality”

  1. Nice post (as usual)! This is a great discussion – I will go back to read your other thoughts about target markets.

    Personally, I discovered you guys through somebody mentioning you on the Geek, then as luck would have it, I saw your ad sitting right there beside the thread. “Hmmm – ok, let’s try this out”. That is what hooked me – your customer service kept me. I realize that when it comes to game consumption I am a small fry, but I guess it all counts!

    In a different vein, I firmly believe that the biggest target market is the person who does not realize that they are your target market! The people watching the videos and getting your newsletters (I’m assuming) are already immersed in the gaming culture. What about all those people that I introduce games to who react, “Wow, I had no idea that these types of games exist?!” These people typically have money, kids and want to do something with both. Or, they are starting to get tired of the club scene and are looking for other opportunities to connect with friends. This, to me, is the target market. To get them though, you need someone who can introduce them to the hobby ‘softly’…because a lot of these people do not want to read rules on a Friday night or watch a video on You tube or be ‘hip’ to the latest cool game. They just want fun with their family and friends. And when asked, most parents would love to get their kids off the iPad, PSP, etc but do not have any ‘bait’ to do so. Get someone who is into board games, but who can introduce the hobby in a contemporary atmosphere that this target market is used to (think Starbucks) – for the most part, board game stores are intimidating to this market so you will not find them at meetups or Game nights.

    So where are they?
    Schools – kids tell parents how to spend their money. I am currently cross-referencing games to the Alberta School circcullum. Use this to get into professional development days – educate teachers – help start board game clubs – etc. This is grassroots stuff, that reaches a large and accepting audience faster.
    Corporate – Facilitate team building events with board games as the central tool. I will be doing this next week for a corporation here in Calgary. Now mom and dad know about this amazing hobby – more importantly they know who to contact to get more information – you.
    The list goes on of things to do, but from what I can tell, the target market is the guy sitting in the corner office down from me, with a fat wallet, and a bored kid. This guy won’t read or watch videos, but he will certainly listen to me at the water cooler!

    What do I know about the boardgame industry? Not much. I am simply a geophysicist with 3 kids who would rather spend 80 bucks on a game(s), which is a capital investment in family time, as opposed to blowing twice that watching some movie that does little to promote discussion (perhaps afterwards) and is often not worth the money spent. I’m your target!
    Cheers!
    David

    1. Agreed that those guys (you) make the best customers. More price sensitive, more brand loyal than your ‘average’ BGG’er who are looking for the best deal. A lot of our other marketing efforts focus on them like SEO, some banner advertising, promotions of geek events, etc. However, the biggest / best ways to get to them is via the means you mentioned; which is expensive and ‘convert’ really low. It’s an education / branding exercise that fills the ‘top’ of the funnel – but takes a really long time to filter down.

      In terms of marketing dollars spent, we are better off working on converting those a step even further down via our video reviews and articles. It’s cheaper, we get a better ‘bang’ for our buck and while not ‘growing’ the market per se is also less labour intensive. In time, we will need to reach out further to do those things to continue to ‘grow’ but we have a limited budget and are currently leaving efforts like that to individuals and/or Tabletop. 🙂

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