I've been listening to a great book lately, The 1-Page Marketing Plan by Allan Dib. Allan is basically laying out his approach to how businesses can create a remarkable easy to follow marketing plan that actually does something for your bottom line. One of my favorite analogies that he used to describe people who don't take the time to perform market research and profile out their target consumer is an Archer In The Fog.
The archer in the fog can't obviously see a damned thing when he's trying to hit his mark.
Successful marketers take the time to get to know their audience. They understand that not everyone is their intended client / customer. I've asked so many business marketing department who their target audience is and the response that I often get sends shivers down my spine. "Everyone." We can sell to everyone. But can you? Can you realistically compete against Amazon? Can you compete with Wal Mart? Do you have the funds to compete with Apple who can spend millions upon millions to transmit their message over and over? You can not. So stop trying.
Let's take for an example an aesthetic medical practice that performs botox and other cosmetic procedures. The ambitious doctor opens her practice and is out to rule the world. She decides she wants to market her services to EVERYONE within a 20 mile radius. She thinks to herself, "they all need my services." Here's the problem. No they don't. Here's the other problem. There are 500 OTHER aesthetic practices within the 20 mile radius all trying to do the same damned thing as her. She needs to niche. What if she targeted pregnant moms that are looking for cosmetic work? It's a solid niche filled with resources. There are plenty of newly pregnant moms. And even better, they ALL talk to each other and learn from each other. Why not create your marketing campaigns around THEM? Give them resources, support them, be there for them, and oh yeah, sell to them when they need your cosmetic services.
The argument is always, well, I'm losing out on a huge market share by niching, but now you're the archer without the fog. You're targeting CLEARLY and acquiring your targets. Once you own this space, if you have the capacity, figure out another niche and market the crap out of that. FOCUS and you'll win.
The Human Factor
All too often marketing is all about the products that people sell. "We sell the best damned reciprocating saws," or, "Our computers are made with 90 gigowatt plasma induced gingerbread flux capacitors." Yes, this CAN be important to some, but the problem is, you're not solving anyone's problems by dwelling on the specs of your product. Have you ever heard Apple Computer tell you in a commercial how powerful their core processors are on their iMacs? They sell by being human. They sell by selling a lifestyle, an attitude, a sense of belonging to something larger and great. Take a look at your marketing, your ad copy, your website, your messaging. Is it product centric or people centric? If you find yourself always talking about how wonderful your company is, or just how awesome your products are, odds are, you're turning people away. Make it about them, and seize the day. Make it about them and come out of the fog. Shoot with clarity and reap the benefits down the road.