In the 1950s, a family owned pharmaceutical company saw an opportunity to use the chemical paracetamol – also known as acetaminophen – in medicine.
It was effective in reducing fevers and pain management.
This compound became the active ingredient in Tylenol.
To find its market niche, Tylenol targeted fever relief.
Specifically, fever relief in children.
They chose this audience for its lack of competition and a specific product to serve the audience’s needs.
The makers of Tylenol knew Aspirin dominated the pain management market, and to acquire customers in direct competition with Aspirin would be costly.
By targeting fever relief in children, parents began to trust the Tylenol brand.
This provided Tylenol the brand recognition to begin turning its marketing efforts towards pain management.
Going head to head with Aspirin.
By taking this approach, Tylenol was not competing with Aspirin as a no-name startup, but competing as an established player. With a brand that parents already trusted.
Slowly but surely, by marketing to existing Tylenol customers, they were able to start taking market share from Aspirin.
This is the power of starting with a specific problem.
Then, once you’ve done the costliest marketing activity – acquiring new customers – you can educate your existing customers about all the additional ways they can use your product.
You might call this customer marketing, increasing wallet share, or even the loss leader approach.
One thing holds true, growing through existing customers is an effective strategy.
And just like Tylenol, it’s a sneaky way to take on competitors.