Sales & Marketing: Know Your Shelf Space

We finally have two major presidential candidates to consider this November. Call me shallow, but I’m not thinking about meaty issues when I think about these two candidates.

I’m wondering which one would be stocked and on display at your nearby Target Store. I am wondering about this because I think the candidate who wins over Target Store customers, or “guests” as they are called by the company, will win the election this November.

Target Stores positions itself as a place to “Expect More. Pay Less.” I think millions of Americans share the same outlook on life. Target Stores differentiates itself by appealing to the well-intentioned motivations and hopeful aspirations of its customers.

I think whichever candidate does a better job of owning the mindshare and political “shelf space” of Target guests is going to be our next president. This will be the candidate who inspires Americans to expect more and pay less and who authentically meets us where we are in terms of our best motivations, hopes and aspirations for a better life for our families.

I’ve seen this happen in real life this decade. Twice.

Tim Pawlenty, the governor of Minnesota, is a Republican who won his last two terms in a left-of-center state. He keeps winning, I believe, because Tim Pawlenty would be on the shelf if Target stocked a line political candidates. I think he’d even have a shot at being displayed on an end-cap. There is no better an example of an “Expect More. Pay Less” politician than Tim Pawlenty. As a result, all he does is win elections and lead successfully by winning the hopeful hearts and thoughtful minds of people.

So as you think about our nation’s election this fall, here’s another question to consider: If Target Stores carried a line of businesses like yours, would your company be the one they’d stock? Or would they stock your competitor?

Is your business and your brand well understood in your market? Your customers and prospects want to be inspired to work with you and buy your product or service in a way that no other competitor can offer.

Your customers and prospects are just like you: They are motivated. They are hopeful. They aspire to a better life for their families. They want to expect more. And, in a turnabout from Target’s branding, they may even want to pay you more (not less) if you get really good at owning their mindshare and shelf space.

So maybe it would be a good exercise this summer and fall to mix a little politics with your business. Watch out for which candidate does best at becoming the “Expect More. Pay Less” leader; the one who owns the political shelf space of Target shoppers.

Then, figure out how you can define your brand in a way that inspires hope and meets the aspirations of your customers and prospects. and ultimately owns their shelf space for the product or service you offer.

Get to know your shelf space. Your customers will be happy you did. I’ll bet a lot of them are Target guests.


3 thoughts on “Sales & Marketing: Know Your Shelf Space

  1. PAWLENTY, good guy but borrrrring (no help to McCain)

    PALIN, exciting/energy (great help to McCain AND GOP)

  2. Tim – good stuff that is useful long after the campaign is through! I read you article today and it got me to thinking about the kinds of suppliers and clients I want for my business. I want businesses like me. as you said, that are motivated, that would make the endcap at Target. You are right about branding [Is your business and your brand well understood in your market?] It’s one of the biggest challenges for a small business owner and where most fall short in their marketing efforts. I am always trying to get my clients and prospects to clarify their brand and help ME understand so that I can help them deliver the message to their best prospects. After all, if I am TRYING to ‘get’ you brand and can’t, what does it say to your propsective customer? Who will win the client – the easily understood and recognized brand or just another company offering XYZ to everyone?
    Thanks for the stimulating post!

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