Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Marketing Secret: Find the Hole and fill it

In 1972 Jack Trout and Al Ries wrote a classic book about marketing entitled Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind. In that book they set forth a key to successful marketing: Find a hole and fill it! What they meant by this was to identify a consumer need and “position” your product as the perfect one to fill that need.

A good example of this is Arm and Hammer Baking Soda.  How many boxes of baking soda did you buy this last year?  How many of them did you use for baking?  Probably, not many.  In all likelihood you used them to deodorize your refrigerator or possibly litter box. 

A few years ago, someone discovered that an open box of baking soda in a refrigerator cut down on odors. Eventually, someone at Arm and Hammer (or more likely their advertising agency) caught on to this idea.  They began to create an ad campaign around the purchase of baking soda for your refrigerator.  Sure, there were other products that would do the same thing, but eventually, in the public’s mind Arm and Hammer was THE refrigerator deodorizer.  Today, you can even buy boxes of Arm and Hammer made for the refrigerator.

Some marketing genius identified a consumer need – stinky refrigerators – and recognized that their product could fill that need.  A targeted campaign turned “baking soda” into a natural deodorant.  It was “re-positioned” from something used in baking to something used to make things smell nicer.

Take a look at your product line.  Is there a need that is going unfilled in the marketplace that your product could fill, even if that is not what it is designed to do?  Even more to the point, is there an unfulfilled need that you could develop a product around. 

In this regard e-books come to mind.  What is it that visitors to your web site might need or want to be able to do that is not addressed by other books or e-books on the market?  Can you write it or find someone to write it for you?  Then you might have a winner.

So, keep your eyes open for “holes” in the marketplace.  When you find one, fill it, and you will be successful.


  1. Very insightful, Terri. A few minutes spent contemplating who might benefit from reading a book can reveal avenues we normally would never have explored. Thanks for the tip.
    Pat Dale

  2. Thanks Pat,

    For nonfiction, especially, if you found yourself looking for a book on a particular subject and couldn't find one or at least none that really targeted the area you wanted to read about, then you might have found your "hole."

  3. Hi Terri, another great post. Now you've got me thinking about some possibilities.

    Wonderful blog. Thanks for taking the time to share your knowledge.


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