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What Location, Coffee Shops, and Sabertooth Tigers Can Teach You About Landing More Paying Customers

July 18, 2018 at 1:38 PM


10,000 years ago, the world was a much more dangerous place, and so we formed tribes to protect ourselves from starving to death, becoming a tiger’s next meal, or being attacked by neighboring invaders.

As these tribes grew, they began speaking in the same tongue, eating the same foods, enjoying the same things and sharing the same beliefs –– thus culture was formed.

Today we no longer have to worry about being eaten by a sabertooth. In fact, for most of us, our biggest daily concern is successfully hunting down an elusive Wi-Fi password.

Yet, regardless of the fact that the world is much safer than it once was, we still find ourselves forming tribes… a phenomenon that is extremely important to be aware of if you are a marketer or business owner.


Why tribes matter for brands of all shapes and sizes.

Everywhere we look we see tribes. While they aren’t wearing animal pelts and carrying around spears, they are still tribes nonetheless.

For example, there is the Jeep tribe, a proud bunch of Jeep owners infamous for executing the subtle yet punctual “jeep wave.”

Then, of course, there is the bodybuilding tribe filled with fitness enthusiasts that enjoy geeking out over various supplements and taking far too many shirtless Instagram selfies.

Oh and we can’t forget about the coffee aficionado tribe that can tell you everything you could ever want to know about the coffee roasting process –– more on that here shortly.

The reason tribes matter so much to us marketers and business owners is because the people within those tribes have the same interests… which means they buy the same things. So, when you can determine who your tribe is, where they hang out and market directly to them, you have a direct channel to your customers.

Unfortunately, not many marketers and business owners are focusing on this –– instead they’re casting a wide net.


The bad habit even the biggest brands are guilty of.

While many of the most successful brands in the world have recognized who their ideal customer personas are and in which tribe their customers hangout, they are still casting an extremely wide net in hopes to reach more customers. But, here’s the thing, there is a big difference between “reaching” customers and “catching” customers.

If you want to reach customers, throw up a billboard on every intersection in the world. But, if you want to catch customers, you need to get serious about marketing directly to your tribe –– which requires knowing their location.


Location. Location Location.

Earlier I mentioned the coffee aficionado tribe, which segues nicely into a real-life example of how understanding where your tribe is can make you and your brand a lot of money.

For local coffee shops, location matters a lot. While big brands like Starbucks can afford to build their coffee shops on busy high-trafficked intersections, small local coffee shops generally don’t have the budget for this prime real estate.

So, instead, they have to be smart about where they choose to set up shop –– and this means setting up shop exactly where their tribe/customers are.

Barista Parlor, located in Nashville, Tennessee is a great example of a coffee shop that has built a mini-empire by leveraging its location. They cater to an upper-class hipster tribe in Nashville that’s not afraid to spend $7 on a high-quality cup of coffee, and they’ve set up shop in neighborhoods where upper-class hipsters live and work.

Instead of casting a wide net and attempting to sell coffee to all 700,000 people in Nashville, Barista Parlor chose to market to a select few: their tribe.

The lesson?


Stop trying to market to the world.

Whether you are a small coffee shop chain or a fast-food behemoth, you can drive more sales by marketing to very specific locations versus entire cities, states, nations and even regions of the world.

For example, if you’re Clif Bar and your tribe is the outdoorsy adventurous type, why not send out a focused hyperlocal marketing message to cities like Boulder, Colorado and Chattanooga, Tennessee (two small but extremely outdoorsy communities) versus to the entire Eastern region of the United States?

The same could be said for high-end brands like Porsche or Mercedes. Instead of throwing up billboards all over New York City, why not specifically target wealthy upper class neighborhoods?

In other words, if you know your tribe and you know your customer, why not concentrate on catching them versus just reaching everyone?

This, in a nutshell, is what we do here at Spatially –– we help you market well-crafted and personalized marketing messages to specific locations so that you can catch more customers and drive sales.

We help you find where your tribe hangs out and market directly to them.

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