If you combine the concepts of a “tribe”- a group of like-minded individuals who make up a community - and marketing, you create a powerful tool that deeply connects with your customer base and transcends your brand.

However, the tribal marketing approach is more of an art than a science. Here are four top tips for delivering relatable services to appeal to your chosen audience.

Identify and conquer

Before you can identify with a tribe, you must first classify your niche and define your brand position. This helps you understand who your audience is, their values and how you’re most likely to get their attention.

From there, you’ll be able to appeal to the unique ties that bind your tribe and create content that is both valuable to them and which positions your business as a leader within that tribe.

It’s important to stay on top of new and exciting ways to reach these groups. This is because the internet has made making customer connections more difficult, as it easily enables direct conversations between communities, in which a brand or company often finds itself ‘uninvited’.

Get engaged

Once you’ve identified your tribes, you need to work out how best to engage them.

Research from the University of Royal Holloway revealed tribes on Twitter have their own language, so studying online interaction will enable you to tailor brand messages, making them relevant and native to your audience.

The information you learn from your tribes’ interactions will help you gather data to tailor products specifically to them too. By targeting a range of individuals — happy, unhappy, recent, early, active, inactive — through a variety of channels, such as phone interviews and email questionnaires, you can get a more accurate picture of current brand engagement and gain insight into purchasing decisions.

Market your message

According to Seth Godin, when it comes to assessing the right marketing channels, your job is not to reach everyone, but to identify the most relevant niche you can most easily sustain.

To achieve this, set up a brief, to-the-point survey and distribute it to the groups, where you’d like to achieve maximum engagement. Your primary question should be: “Which social networking site (Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.) do you use the most?” You can include other relevant questions to help you understand their social media behaviours.

Your marketing messaging should enable these tribes to tell stories about themselves across these channels, to redefine their identity under the umbrella of a brand.

However, where possible, try and host the conversations you most want to track on your website and let them be as transparent as possible. If you try to leverage or manipulate online tribes too aggressively, the risk of backlash is huge and could negatively impact your campaign.

Evolve with your tribes

It’s important to remember no tribe is ‘stagnant’. People’s views and opinions are constantly changing and it’s likely the original tribe you began targeting, may split into smaller ‘micro-tribes’.

You need to be aware of these possibilities and evaluate what the future consumer landscape will resemble and how consumers’ fundamental needs will change over time.

How can you go about doing this? You can analyse trends related to demographics, lifestyle and economic factors. Then zero in and use metrics to capture these trends with concrete data.

Examples could include GDP growth, the percentage of consumers who own smartphones and similar quantifiable metrics.


By Tim Fuller, managing director at Discount Displays

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