The marketing artichoke

Artichokes are one of the most misunderstood vegetables, only slightly behind turnips and parsnips on the “What Do I Do With This?” vegetable list. When you look at the artichoke, you see all these thick petals that don’t appear very appetizing. In truth, when prepared correctly, they’re quite tasty, once you snip off the thorns and soften them up a bit.

But the best part of the artichoke is the heart. This is the sweet spot, the holy grail of the vegetable world. It is truly worth the effort of working through the outer layers to get here.

Your marketing database is like an artichoke. The complete list of buyers and prospects is the vegetable in its natural state, covered with layers and layers of thorny leaves that protect the sweet inner core — the heart where you have 20 percent of your customers that account for 80 percent of your sales (the 80/20 Rule). I’m not saying you should discard the outer layers. These customers who don’t buy as frequently still have value. Remember, all those leaves on the artichoke can deliver a satisfying taste once you trim, soften, and season them to taste.

The beauty of an artichoke is that it delivers a variety of tastes, and no part of the vegetable goes to waste. If you “prepare” your customer/prospect database carefully, carving it out niche by niche, you can exact the same results. You just need to understand that you don’t bite into the whole list at once. The segments need to be treated differently, piece by piece, layer by layer.

Take a new approach to working your database. Appreciate the value each segment. Don’t take a cleaver to the whole thing because you’ll lose tasty bites. Instead, see what you can make of those niches by maximizing their natural flavor.

Bon appetit!


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