What can tarantulas teach us about marketing? Well, tarantulas have been around for 150 million years, and there are over 800 different types. They come in all shapes and sizes, and are found all over the world. In fact, science is still discovering new tarantula genus. So, tarantulas are a diverse, highly adaptable, successful species. Tarantulas also make up a small segment of a UK pet trade worth billions of pounds. In reality tarantulas make very poor pets for the majority of people, and I’ll side-step the ethical debate that swirls around the whole exotic pet trade for now. However, those people who do keep tarantulas as pets can be broadly segmented into three groups.
First, you have the Collectors: people who keep tarantulas the same way other people collect stamps. Collectors amass and display large collections of spiders. Over 50 specimens are quite common. They spend significant sums on their hobby, but tend to view the animals with scientific detachment or regard them as curiosities. Next, you have the Enthusiasts. As the name suggests tarantula enthusiasts have a real passion for the hobby. They use the hobby’s vernacular, are extremely active on social media, engage with spider related online and offline groups, readily share content and attend events. Many people who keep reptiles eventually migrate to keeping tarantulas, scorpions and other invertebrates. There are around 9 million pet reptiles kept in the UK right now, it’s a significant segment of the pet trade. Knowing that many reptile enthusiasts will eventually gravitate towards spiders and inverts is an extremely useful, even powerful insight for anyone actively selling into the tarantula niche.
Finally, the third segment of the tarantula keeping market is the Dedicated Pet Owner. These people understand that pet ownership comes with responsibilities and obligations. These people might only keep one tarantula. They’ll do their homework before making a purchase. They’ll name their chosen spider rather than refer to it by its scientific classification. Although never to be reciprocated, they’ll love their tarantula.
So, tarantulas can teach us quite a bit about market segmentation, buyer behaviours and motivations. In order for FX brokers to successfully attract and retain the loyalty of traders they must first learn as much as possible about them. This research needs to go beyond demographics or socio-economic profiling. You can certainly learn a lot from simply observing your existing customers, their trading habits, spend and responses to various marketing stimulus, for example. Of course, none of this is particularly new or ground-breaking. Market and customer segmentation is as old as the hills. However, today technology adds an extra dimension to customer research. Analytical tools allow us to monitor and measure every detail of a trader’s interaction with a brokerage. This information allows us to continually tailor and refine our marketing messages, and the media used to deliver them. In turn this reduces our marketing spend and improves return on investment.
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Our good friends at Google provide some handy research and insight tools – just search ‘Think with Google’. Social media and associated monitoring tools enable us to listen to target audiences, and gain valuable insights about them. Handy free monitoring tools include Google Alerts, Social Mentions, BlogBridge, Hootsuite and/or TweetDeck. Naturally there are lots of paid services also available.
The UK’s FX trading market is quite mature. This means many FX brokers end up competing for the same traders. Naturally traders exploit this situation, taking advantage of various offers and deals while having multiple accounts. As a broker you can throw money at the problem, and continually inflate your marketing budget to grab market share. Alternatively you might target a niche such as high-net-worth individuals. However, tarantulas teach us there is another way. Rather than eating each other’s lunch, brokers can take a look at what adjacent markets have to offer in terms of potential new traders. Just like the segment of people who keep reptiles today will keep tarantulas tomorrow.
Remote Betting and Gaming
In recent years we have seen FX traders move wholesale onto mobile devices, and so too have a significant segment of the UK’s online betting and gaming industry. In 2013 total consumer expenditure in the UK mobile betting and gaming space exceeded £2.5 billion. With an annual growth rate of 12 per cent the industry could exceed £4.4 billion by 2018 according to a Deloitte report. At the same time FX trading is changing, moving away from the image of complex, often incomprehensible financial investments. Today’s FX is edging closer to betting and gaming with the rise of new products such as binary options. Naturally this shifting ground will throw up its own issues and challenges from industry regulation to new competitors.
The remote betting and gambling industry have already gained some useful insights that offer new opportunities. For example, consumers who would never contemplate going to a high street betting shop, bingo hall, casino or arcade will happily play real-money games on a mobile device as a leisure activity. The Deloitte report on remote betting and gambling suggests creating high quality, innovative mobile products while developing strategies to monetise social media presence. This might prove equally good advice for the more visionary FX brokers.