Growing Market Share and the why you don’t have to spend more dollars
By Tom Dougherty
When the ultimate goal is to steal the “all important market share,” is awareness all it is cracked up to be? What is the relationship between share-of-voice (dollars spent), market awareness, and market share? Do you need to increase your top-of-mind awareness in order to steal share? Historically, there has always been a strong relationship between top-of-mind awareness and share-of-voice. But you need to get into the considered set. (More about awareness here)
And it is a very strong correlation. It is not a perfect 1:1 but it is close. When awareness studies are conducted, researchers expect that the marketer who has spent the most media dollars will have the deepest awareness (top-of-mind being more important than total awareness, but this is a mix of the two). If this turns out not to be so, heads roll and usually the advertising agency is the first in line for the guillotine.
So…if a client comes to an agency with a goal of increasing awareness, the simplest and surest means is to increase spending. Often they are told that if the goal is to increase share, it requires a dominant share of voice. The question is…does this have to be the case? Is reach and frequency the only answer? (It is certainly one of the answers.) How does it relate to growing mrket share.
To better answer this question we need to look at the purity of the relationship between awareness and market share. Here, the relationship and correlation is not quite automatic. For example, the Puerto Rico Tourism Board has a dominant share-of-voice and excellent awareness, near the top as a matter of fact, but lags terribly in market share. (Read a market study on tourism here)
The reason: The creative message lacks alignment with the customers’ precepts. Obviously, the relationship between share-of-awareness and market share is not “locked-in-step.” Is it then possible to get into the considered set without an increase in awareness? We think so. Is it, therefore, possible to steal market share without battling over share-of-awareness or without increasing awareness? Absolutely.
While it is certainly true that a consumer cannot purchase or use a product or service unless they are aware of it, it is possible to increase preference with consumers who already have some awareness. For clients with limited budgets and less than dominant share-of-voice, the battle should be over meaning and importance. If the brand becomes more meaningful to those who have awareness, you can expect usage to increase. So the goal is to increase relevance and importance among those who already know you.
Impact: Not Just Reach and Frequency
To do this, the brand needs to have a more focused understanding of the customer’s brand face. Sure, the creative needs to be edgier to have a more personal and individual impact and it needs to be different from the rest of the considered set. But it also needs to be much more important to the specific target audience if it is to make up for deficiencies in reach and frequency.
The question “Why should the target market care?” needs to be asked again and again. The importance to the highly specific target audience needs to be challenged at every opportunity if the message is to be both different and better. The creative execution should be anything but what the competitive set is doing.
Remember, this advertising message is not based upon standard target audience demographics, it is based upon a different understanding. It is based upon getting into the hearts of the minority of customers who have already demonstrated an ability to remember the brand. Therefore the target audience summary on the media brief and the creative brief will be vastly different. The creative brief represents the finely tuned target audience and the media brief is the entire universe.
The Considered Set
This marketing battle is totally over dominance in the considered set. Considered set is the term marketers use when describing the pool of brands that a customer chooses from. Entry into this set is most often attributed to awareness, but preference is not. Preference is a result of identification, brand equity, importance, and relative meaning.
Its power is directly related to the level of incompleteness developed in the target audience. The more the customer says, “That’s me. I want to be that,” the more market share the brand can expect to grab from the other considered set members. So, next time your advertising agency tells you that the only way to steal market share is to spend buckets of extra dollars, tell them that you demand more from their creative product, that you expect them to make your brand more important to those who already know you. Just make sure, as your brand is positioned against those heavy users, that you know exactly who they are. (Read how we learn as human beings)