If you turn on your “Go Back In Time” machine, you’ll find that Cluster Marketing has been around for a long time. Little has changed over the centuries since the business world stumbled upon the concept. In its simplest definition Cluster Marketing means, “Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.” In other words, “don’t spend all of your marketing budget on one media or in one geographical area.”
Conventional Marketing Strategies
The New York 5th Ave. advertising power houses have lead the way in America with their big dollar advertising campaigns which only the corporate giants can afford. Before they design an advertising campaign they first design a marketing plan. They identify their target market by geography, age, sex, social economic values, hobbies, house size, shoe size, deer hunting shirt size, etc. Some market strategies can use as many as a hundred or more parameters to define their target market. Sounds excessive doesn’t it? Not really when you consider that mega dollars in potential sales are at stake. Many advertising firms and marketing executives have lost their jobs when a marketing strategy and advertising plan has failed.
The conventional strategy has been to use various advertising media such as TV commercials, newspaper ads, direct mail advertising, radio commercials, etc. All of these methods require a lot of money up front to produce and distribute. Their focus has been on getting the buyer to look in the direction of the product and create a need in the potential customer to buy their product. Cluster marketing strategies are used to define which media will be used to advertise the product and where the product will be sold.
Let’s look at an example where advertisements are created for the newspaper and direct mail advertising. These are two of the oldest methods still in use. They both use printed media and are the easiest conventional advertising methods to produce. In a small town, using both methods might be excessive because statistics have shown that in most small towns the majority of people subscribe to the local newspaper and newspaper ads are cheaper to produce than direct mail advertising. In larger cities, however, both methods would be needed to cover the whole city since the number of subscribers to the local newspaper are substantially less as to the size of the population. In this example, the parameter of the number of newspaper subscribers is also used in the marketing plan.
Cluster marketing strategies analyze the target market using diverse combinations of geography, population densities, and personal parameters to develop geographic areas of interest. In marketing, these areas are referred to as clusters or groups of interest. The clusters are identified so that either single or multiple target markets are used for the advertising plan. Clusters (geographic areas) that have the same target market potential can be geographically close or hundreds of miles apart. With today’s mass communications the distance doesn’t matter to the modern marketing executive’s plans.
Internet Cluster Market Strategies
The growth of the Internet has lead to the development of a whole new dynamic in cluster marketing strategy. The Internet has consolidated many parameters. As an example, age groups have been reduced to children, young adults, adults, and senior adults. Previously, these categories were treated with greater detail. Language is no longer a dominant value and buying habits are now measured down to the individual instead of age groups. The search engines now create massive databases of the sites people visit and which ones they buy from.
Conventional marketing strategies develop “one way” links from the advertisement to the location where the product can be purchased whereas Internet marketing strategies develop “one way” and “multiple” links to where you can find all of the sites where the products are sold. It also develops additional links to extensive content that describes everything we really didn’t care to know about the products. That content also presents us with additional links to more content and numerous locations where the products can be found.
Marketing executives are also having a great time spending less money on advertising by offering affiliate programs where web site owners advertise the product for free in hopes of gaining a commission when the product is sold. Large numbers of affiliates means a lot of free advertising.
All of these aspects are increasing the dynamics of Cluster Marketing on the Internet. Demographic and sales data is accumulated in large databases and sold to marketing executives and advertisers for large dollar figures. These databases, plus very sophisticated analysis programs, provide many clusters of potential marketing areas.
What About the Internet Entrepreneur
While the big money marketing executives are slaving away over their big databases and their numerous marketing clusters the Internet entrepreneur is grinning like a “fox in the hen house” and making some big dollars without the fancy marketing cluster strategies. The Internet has made it possible for the entrepreneur to simplify the cluster marketing theory into a very simplistic model.
Let’s look at some basic facts:
- Geographic clusters have been consolidated into one Internet on-line world. The Internet is the world and a very large number of people use it every day.
- Search engines have cataloged the online world and continue to update that catalog every minute. Free tools are now available to Internet entrepreneurs to analyze that data on their laptops without having to pay for the use of that data.
- Cluster demographics have been replaced by “keywords” and “long tail keywords.”
- Age demographics have been consolidated to children, adults, and seniors. Yes, even children are making big money with their creative web sites.
- The corporate marketing executive is being replaced by young Internet savvy marketeers and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) content managers. These fresh young minds are raking in the dollars, even in a down economy.
- “One way links” are being replaced with “multi-way links” in web sales pages and clustered articles.
- Article Directories and Social Network sites are providing massive amounts of FREE authoritative links to product sites that conventional marketing executives just can’t understand. These executives will soon be a relic in our modern Internet civilization.
- Cluster marketing on the Internet is no longer about geographic boundaries. The Internet entrepreneur has learned that on the Internet today you cluster methods and sites like EzineArticles, YouTube, FaceBook, Squidoo, HubPages, Twitter, Slideshare, etc., not demographic clusters. Also, countries still retain their own language identity, but the Internet has broken down most of that barrier in Internet marketing. The web logs of every Internet site are full of sources from all over the world giving testimony to the fact that the Internet is now a world marketing cluster unto itself.
While the big corporations have been branching out to the Internet for several years, Internet cluster marketing strategies have made it possible for the individual in our society to earn more on the Internet than some of those big corporations.
write by Alvin Lenahan