In his book ‘Breakthrough Advertising’, legendary marketer Eugene Schwartz wrote about the five levels of market sophistication.
Level 1: Market sophistication is the entry stage.
At this stage, you create an absolutely new product or service, making you the first in that market for your product or service.
You become the pioneer of that specific product or service in your marketplace.
Level 2: Market sophistication is a point of differentiation.
At this stage, your product or service is already in the marketplace.
What you will need to do in order to enter the market is differentiate your product or service from other providers.
Level 3: Market sophistication is the introduction of a new mechanism.
At this stage you are contending that your product or service has a specific ingredient or feature that other products or services do not have.
Level 4: market sophistication is taking the concept of your specific ingredient or feature to an even higher level.
In addition to the specific ingredient or feature, you claim that your product or service is also faster, convenient or easier to use than any other products or services on the market.
Level 5: Market sophistication is getting the customer emotionally desiring your product or service.
At this stage, you say things that will make your prospect feel an emotional association with your product or service.
Marketplace sophistication is a very important aspect of marketing, which lots of businesses either miss or ignore.
Even I have been guilty of that and have paid dearly for it.
Case Study of Marketplace Sophistication
I recently attended the Dental Showcase in NEC Birmingham.
One of the exhibitors gave a presentation on dental marketing.
In a bid to get the attention of his audience of Dentists, he told them from the onset that his marketing services would help them generate patients whose value was between £3000 and £5000.
Despite his gusty promise, at the end of his presentation, I did not notice the Dentists rushing to the back of the room to hire him.
The reason for his failure to persuade the Dentists to buy from him was he made the same assumption that many businesses make when dealing with professionals.
He assumed the fact that his audience were Dentists, they were a more sophisticated audience than they really were.
Many of the Dentist in his audience might have never treated a private patient in their lives, therefore could not imagine themselves conducting £5000 cosmetic dentistry.
Many of them were NHS Dentists who get paid £18.00 per treatment.
£5000 cosmetic dentistry is way beyond their imagination.
Consequences, trying to sell them the possibilities of acquiring patients spending £5000 was taking them to levels they have never dreamt of in their lives.
The exhibitor certainly did not know the sophistication of his audience, which is the reason he was unable to persuade them to buy.
Second Marketplace Sophistication Case Study
I remember when I was writing my books on how to marketing professional services.
I initially wanted to name the books ‘7 Figure Code For Professionals’.
With the idea being to show professionals how to make 7 figures in their business.
However, when I spoke to professionals during my research, I realised the majority of them could not even grasp the concept of 7 figures.
My decision to change the name of the books came when I spoke to a Chartered Accountant, was working with PricewaterhouseCoopers at the time.
When I mention the phrase ‘7 Figure’ to her, she asked me what I did I mean by 7 figure.
It immediately occurred to me that many professionals were not as sophisticated as I thought they were.
Over the years, as I coached and consulted professionals, I have come to the conclusion that many of them might be experts in their respective professions.
However, when it came to their level of sophistication, the majority of them are no different from the average job the plumber.
This revelation has changed the way I market my services.
I never assume the level of sophistication of any marketplace until I have had the opportunity of checking it out myself.
As a business owner, you need to recognise that the extent to which you understand your marketplace sophistication, is the extent to which your marketing message will resonate with them.
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