The Richest Man In…
I intentionally left the headline incomplete as I wanted you to guess the missing word(s)…
What do you think completes the headline?
I got many blank stares and some unique responses to this question. Finally, one person guessed it. He said, “Is it Babylon? Isn’t the headline – The Richest Man in Babylon?”
Not so fast buddy…
While “The Richest Man in Babylon” is a wonderful book (one that you should read), this is not the answer I was looking for.
Let me give it to you as I need to ask you yet another question.
The headline I had written was “The Richest Man in the World.”
Who do you think this is?
Take a guess …
I ask this because it’s probably easier (or at least we think it is) for many to answer this question as the name gets flashed in the media outlets all the time.
If you said Elon Musk, you are close but still wrong.
One final chance…Do you want to take another shot or do a Google Search?
The correct answer is Bernard Arnault.
Many who I spoke to hadn’t even heard his name. Many who carry his products didn’t even know who he was or what made him rich. In case you are wondering if I have a point to make here, you can rest easy. I do indeed have something important to share. As I have mentioned earlier, I take your time and therefore this blog super seriously. I wouldn’t write something if I hadn’t anything interesting or insightful to say. At this point, some of you might say, just say it, Amar, don’t keep beating around the bush and wasting words. I hear you, so let me get to the point right away…
But not before I write something about Bernard Arnault…
He is the Founder, Chairman and CEO of LVMH, the world’s largest luxury goods company. He is a French businessman who owns luxury brands such as Louis Vuitton, DIOR, Fendi, and Bulgari. He became the richest man in the world because he understood two things…the power of a brand (and what a real brand is) and the fact that there is gold in niches (riches in niches). He knew who his ideal customers are and what their needs are. The brands he built are so powerful that they perform even better in recessions.
He built his business serving the needs/wants/desires of 0.01% of the market.
He became the richest man by only catering to a small percentage of the population. He didn’t market everywhere. He didn’t market to everyone…because he knew that marketing to everyone means marketing to no one, and he knew this is not how you build a brand or market it.
How many people do you think can afford to buy his products? And how many who can afford to buy would buy his products.
As the numbers prove, even a small fraction is more than enough to make him the world’s richest man.
Isn’t this an insight worth understanding. Most people in our industry/profession miss this insight. And in that rush, they market to everyone, and in many cases, appeal to no one, because there is no real differentiation.
Bernard knows his customers have the money to spend on luxury goods. He also knows that they are searching for the highest value, not the cheapest product. The point is if you need to charge high prices, you need to deliver value to people who will value the value you deliver. You need to deliver value to… people who understand value…people who appreciate value and people who are willing to pay for that value. And I am not talking about this value only in terms of luxury goods.
The work that you do is life changing. Therefore, you deliver amazing value. Even if you don’t deliver that value now, you have the potential to deliver invaluable value or should I say the greatest alpha.
But first, you must believe in it, second, you need to find that ideal customer who will value your value, therefore two things to take away:
a. You don’t need everyone to be your customer. You can build an extremely valuable business by catering to a few customers (not throwing a number here but you get the point) but are you marketing to the right prospective ideal clients…
b. You don’t need to sell everything. You simply need to understand what your real value proposition is, and you need to communicate that well.
As I mentioned earlier, you do not need a lot of customers. You only need the right ones. Therefore, first define these right ones…Who are your ideal customers? And how many of these do you need?
Once you have these two answers, you can then start thinking about your marketing strategy (remember I wrote marketing strategy and not marketing tactics).
Your marketing strategy is the beginning of your relationship with your ideal customer. You need to be a student of your customer. To do this, start by realizing that you are not your customer. You might love your business and you might even be the biggest advocate, rightly so because you started this firm as you thought you had a better way than your competitors. However, this is not the same thing as seeing the business through the eyes of your customer.
Be open, be curious and learn about your customers – their needs, wants, desires, fears, anxieties and what keeps them up at night. To do this well, you must ask thoughtful questions and listen well. The more you learn about your ideal customer, the better you will be at crafting your value proposition for them…the better you will be at creating messages that attract them, the better you will be at spending your time, energy, attention, and money on marketing to these ideal customers.
A few years back Ferrari made headlines when they said they spent nothing on TV advertising.
Because that’s not where their target audience is. According to Ferrari, most people watching TV cannot afford a Ferrari.
You need to know this about your customers too. Don’t fall into the trap of mindlessly posting on social media because everyone else is doing it. Are your ideal customers there? Will your message and value proposition appeal to them?
Here is an interesting Rolex advertisement for you to look at…
Rolex is not selling watches. They are selling status. They are selling the ‘I have arrived’ message…
What about you?
What are you selling to your customers?