Most entrepreneurs are passionate about their endeavor, which gives them the incentive necessary to power through the challenges of starting a new business. However, this single-minded focus can sometimes steer the business into a rut and prevent it from being agile when market or competitive forces change.
Many successful brands have used chunk-up marketing to shift perspective and open up a new realm of possibilities. Here’s what you need to know to apply chunking to your marketing strategy.
What is chunk-up marketing?
Chunk-up marketing approaches the marketing process through a series of small, deliberate steps, or chunks, that bring authoritative long-term results for a brand.
“Chunking” is a term found in various professional disciplines, including psychology. It involves moving from one concept to another through a series of connected ideas. Companies use chunking as a problem-solving device to break up core business missions into manageable, interconnected components.
Chunking involves three concepts:
- Moving up to see the bigger picture (chunking up to universals)
- Moving down to see the detail (chunking down to specifics)
- Moving side to side to see the parallels (chunking sideways for parallel niches)
What are some examples of chunk-up marketing?
We can find two good examples of chunking in the automotive and transportation marketing world: Rolls-Royce and Uber.
Rolls-Royce pivots to aircraft engines
Rolls-Royce sells cars. It’s a leader in the luxury car business. But at the outbreak of World War I, the company had a problem. No one cared about luxury automobiles at such a devastating time.
Rolls-Royce leaders decided to approach this problem with chunk-up marketing:
- They looked at what the company did (build cars) and pulled away to see the bigger picture.
- As a part of building cars, Rolls-Royce built engines. Engines are used for all kinds of transportation. At the time, the transportation industry needed engines in aircraft, not cars.
- The company shifted to building airplane engines. Today, it’s the second-largest producer of aircraft engines in the world.
Uber expands into food delivery
Initially, Uber saw itself as a transportation company competing with taxicabs. However, by chunking up, its leadership started to think bigger. What else, other than people, can be transported locally? Voila! The Uber Eats delivery service was born.
How can chunk-up marketing help your small business?
Chunk-up marketing is a powerful way to view your business. It creates the environment necessary to discover new markets, find new allies, and manage your marketing mission and strategy. It’s one of the best ways to build the foundational layers of brand power and authority.
For example, suppose you own a swimwear store. Are you likely to rank in Google search results or even be noticed online for a broad category like women’s swimwear? Probably not. However, the chunk marketing process can help you reach your target audience and move your brand or business forward.
Here’s an example of chunking down in this instance to help you uncover your unique brand identity:
- What kind of swimwear do we sell?
- What color are they?
- What style?
- What brand?
You don’t just sell bikinis; you sell blue Mikoh triangle bikinis. This is a much more specific brand identity.
In the world of search engine optimization (SEO), “blue Mikoh triangle bikinis” is an example of a long-tail keyword strategy. Keywords are typically short phrases, such as “dog beds” or “gardening supplies.” But long-tail keywords use phrases with three, four or more words. Incorporating long-tail keywords on your website can help your business rank higher in search engine results. At the same time, this strategy identifies your most powerful marketing angles and builds brand intimacy by connecting with customers.
Did you know? Using long-tail keywords on your website is also an excellent way to optimize for voice search and boost your SEO rankings.
Chunk-up marketing is also a way to join forces and collaborate with those in a parallel niche. For example, say you run a hair salon, and your goal is to find ways to grow your business.
- Chunk down: You provide hairstyling for weddings.
- Chunk sideways: Who else operates in the wedding niche? Limousine services and wedding dress stores. These are not competitors; they are potential allies with whom you could cooperate to benefit all parties. [Related article: 5 Reasons Your Business Should Have Strategic Partnerships]
How can you apply chunking to your overall marketing strategy?
To use chunk-up marketing effectively, be logical and consistent. Here are a few ways to apply chunking to your marketing strategy.
1. Chunk up and create content hubs.
Try chunking up by creating content hubs full of information helpful to your target market. Content hubs comprise various media, including articles, images, engaging blog content and videos with valuable information for potential customers and prospects.
Approach other non-competitive companies and content producers who also target this market and invite them to contribute their content. Join their affiliate programs so you get paid for every customer you send them, or set it up as an advertising platform.
Tip: Pinpoint your brand’s target audience, and consider what else they need or have questions about. Become a repository of information that your target market seeks.
2. Chunk sideways and pursue referral programs.
Let’s say you own a home cleaning company. You want to get new business, and you’ve decided to pursue people who have recently moved to your area since they don’t already work with a cleaning company. Chunk sideways and reach out to realtors and moving companies.
Ask them to distribute your flyers or postcards to their customers; in return, you’ll refer clients who are moving out of town. Alternatively, you can give the referring company a small amount of money for every customer they refer who becomes your customer.
3. Chunk up (or down) and enlarge product offerings.
When COVID hit, restaurants found themselves in a pickle. Communities nationwide were shut down, and nobody was eating out. As a result, more than 10% of all restaurants in the U.S. closed permanently, according to a Datassential report.
However, many restaurants found a way to survive. Many of them decided to chunk up and look at the bigger picture. For example, instead of defining themselves as dine-in restaurants, some decided to expand to the prepared food business. They shifted to providing delivered food or food for curbside pickup. Some chunked up even further and sold raw ingredients like a specialty grocery store.
Other businesses also chunked up and looked at the bigger picture. For example, doctors’ offices began offering telemedicine visits, and yoga instructors conducted Zoom classes.
You can also enlarge product offerings by chunking down. For example, the cosmetic brand NARS came out with a shade of blush called Orgasm that became a viral phenomenon. To cash in on the mania for this popular shade, the company created an Orgasm collection that included a matching lip mask, lip balm, lipstick, blush-bronzer combo and eyeshadow palette.
FYI: Many business COVID-19 stories show examples of companies pivoting, taking their businesses in a new direction, and finding success amid challenging circumstances.
Getting unboxed with chunk-up marketing
Chunk-up marketing gets your company out of its predefined box, allowing you to see potential connections and new strategies to help your company grow and thrive. When you apply this concept across your entire brand, you’ll begin generating traction and see results.
David Trounce contributed to the writing and reporting in this article.