What Do Ladders Have To Do With Marketing?

marketing strategies

Hi my name’s Nate Bauer. I’m part of the board for PMG and today I want to talk to you about ladders. What they are and how they potentially alter your marketing strategies.

Ladders quickly said are a ranking of what customers think about your brand versus competing brands.

So, let’s say a buddy comes to me and they say, “Nate. Hey, I want to buy a camera. Which brand do you recommend?” So, I’m going to filter through all the different brands I know. I’m going to give my recommendation. But let’s expand that thought process for the time being and actually list out all the different brands I was thinking about and then rank them from best to worst.

So, I’ve done that already. I’ve got them up here on the screen. On the top of my list is Canon. And I think they’re the best brand. Then the number two spot I’ve got Nikon. And number three I’ve got Google which is an unusual choice. But in this case, it’s due to their Pixel line of cell phone. Then four, I’ve got Apple for the same reason. And then five, six, seven I’ve got Sony, Olympus and then Kodak if they’re still in existence for some reason.

We’ve got ourselves a ladder. This is what a ladder looks like. So, albeit in this case based around my perception of what the best camera brand is. So, what do you do with this information? The question is, if you’re one of these brands how can you best alter your marketing strategy to sell to me?

So, let’s talk about that. In the number one spot, we’ve got Canon. Now Canon has the advantage not because their products are actually any better, but because all they have to do is market the industry that they’re in. So, because my perception already thinks that Canon is the best brand. All they have to say is, “Nate. Hey, become a photographer. Let’s explore the world of photography”. I’m already interested in buying the brand, so I’m already sold to them.

Number two spot, Nikon. They don’t actually have this benefit. So, a common practice for the number one, for the number two spot, is to say, “Well Canon’s got this particular target audience. We’re going to go after this other target audience instead. Canon’s got these lists of benefits, we’re going to go after these list of benefits”. Potentially an opposite list of benefits.

Now number three. If you’re a three or below, your best course of action is probably to focus on your differentiation as I think most marketers would probably agree with. And the number three spot we’ve got Google. Google is probably not comfortable saying that they’re the best camera in the world. However, they’re probably more comfortable saying they the best smartphone camera in the world. So rather than focusing on just differentiation, more specifically, consider focusing on a differentiation that puts you on a new ladder. One on which are the top rung. One that you can confidently and comfortably dominate. And that’s it.

Those are different strategies depending on where you are on the lungs of certain ladders. Now what’s your next step? Your next step might be to research your customer base. Research your target audience. And figure out where you are among their ladders. And more interestingly, if you have different segments, different target audiences. Explore where you are on segment one’s ladder. Compare that to segment number two and if the rungs are different, you may want to consider altering your marketing strategy.

Remember marketing is a battle of perception not product. That’s today’s One-Minute Marketing Tip. A little longer than a minute but I think it was worth it. If you have any questions or comments, go ahead leave them down below. Otherwise I’ll see you at the next event. Take care.