Branding expert Peter Montoya says that your marketing should attract the customers you want, and repel everyone else. That might seem strong, but by choosing to appeal to one group of customers, you may be alienating or even angering others.
Your first reaction might be that you do not want to lose anyone who might possibly become a customer. However, the people who are repelled by your targeted marketing would probably never have become your customers, anyway. You have not lost anything.
As an example, a radio station advertised their shock jock morning show with billboards calculated to offend all the people who would never listen to the show anyway. But the people who would enjoy the show responded to the billboards and even to the controversy they generated. The station clearly knew its market.
It is also important to remember that not all customers are of equal value to you. A software company wanted to increase their customer base, so they offered a drastic price reduction on one of their products for a limited time. This did not attract as many new customers as they thought it would, causing the company to realize that their customers were not as sensitive to price as they had imagined.
And they made an unpleasant discovery about their new customers. The people who bought from them because of the low price were very different from their usual customers. For one thing, they required much more attention than those who had paid full price. While the full price customers were sophisticated users who were able to install and use the software with very little assistance from the vendor, the discount buyers needed much more help. The net result was more work for less revenue—certainly not what they had in mind.
Pricing, packaging, advertising, image—all work to attract the customers you want. A strong message not only attracts those customers, it repels the ones that are not a good fit with the unique qualities of your product.
After all, if your product is like everyone else’s why should anyone notice or buy? To get the attention of customers, products have to be remarkable. In his book, “Purple Cow,” Seth Godin says that success and growth come with products that annoy, offend, don’t appeal, are too expensive, too cheap, too heavy, too complicated, too simple—too something. That means that while many people will not be attracted to your product, it will be absolutely perfect for others. They are your market.
This advice is especially important to small businesses. Most small companies can’t afford to compete with the big guys on the big guys’ terms. Instead, shake up your industry with a creative innovation and capture your niche while your competitors are busy making compromises to try to hold on to their sliver of the market.
Do not try to be all things to all people. Instead, focus on how you can make a remarkable product (or service) to appeal to exactly the customers you want.