Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Why you need to identify who your customer is: so you can sell them something!

International Herald Tribune: Bonuses make for very happy holidays for Wall Street bankers

When Michael Aaron learned that Wall Street investment banks were going to be shelling out record bonuses this holiday season, the savvy wine merchant uncorked his own plan to make serious dough.
He paid for a double-page advertisement in The New York Times, boasting a rare bottle of 1995 Dom Perignon costing $14,950 (€11,362).
"We have fabulous, fabulous Wall Street clients," said Aaron, chairman of Sherry-Lehmann wine store on Madison Avenue. "We thought we'd put this temptation out there."
The $15,000 bottle of bubbly is just one example of how record Wall Street bonuses this year can trickle through New York City's economy. People are buying multimillion-dollar apartments with the newfound cash. They are driving $40,000 (€30,400) BMWs out of the showroom.
"It definitely means business," said Phil Kornblatt, director of retail for Hickey Freeman, a maker of fine suits that are popular on Wall Street and routinely cost around $1,500 (€1,140)."We noticed a big increase in sales, and I believe most of it is due to the bonuses."

Depression-era armed robber Willie Sutton was immortalized for his quick-witted bon mot: When asked why he robbed banks, Sutton simply replied, "Because that's where the money is."

The key takeaway from the International Herald-Tribune article is that merchants offering specialty goods and services have identified their ideal clients, and focus their efforts on catering to them, and attracting their business. Not through discounting or ludicrous promotions, but through offering superior products, differentiating their brand, and telling a story that speaks to the soul of their clients. High rollers don't pay $15,000 for a bottle of champagne just because they can, they do it because they think that they should.

So, as a merchant, do you want to grub around the bottom of the barrel for lowball deals, or do you want to cater to the market share "where the money is?"
There's a lesson there, for all of you.

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