Stop Worrying About the Target Market Thing

A market is where you go to pick up fruit, pie, soap, or maybe sausages.

Find YourselfI pick up sausages, but make my own pie.

I’ve heard there was a thing back in the ‘80s where people would go to pick up strangers with benefits.

A market has thousands of things on offer, and they attract a broad swatch of humanity. True that markets target market segments, or there would be no Krogers or Trader Joe’s; only Shop Rites and Food Lions. We do need to decide if we are more like Krogers or Food Lion — maybe Whole Foods even — but when it comes to knowing who we might want to pick up, (well, in the G-rated way of course,) can you see how thinking “target market” is not going to get you there?

Next time you go to a market, look around. Are you exactly like everyone else in the store? Hell no. You might have to fight off your fellow shopper at the check out line to scan through the latest scandal magazine, but would you buy those things in her cart? Would you wear her version of casual? You have something in common, but you are not necessarily alike.

The market as a target is too huge, too diverse to try to speak to, market and sell to. And it’s not a person!

How many of you, when I ask the question, “Who are you marketing to?” will answer with some variation of “women entrepreneurs, women who are overwhelmed, struggling entrepreneurs, lost souls, mothers who are exhausted, women who are overweight?” Great. You’re marketing to a million people on any given day hoping a few will notice. With millions of dollars and million dollar joint ventures — every product on a supermarket shelf has to pay for the right to be there and pay for ads– you too can win at that game.

In marketing speak you need an avatar. In my world, that’s impersonal.

What you want instead is a real person. Give your man, woman, or mom a name. Start there, then get to know them. Write the biography of the person you just know will love you and your products. Don’t worry about where to find them yet. This process will allow you to find them. They, we, gather with others who share our tastes, likes, hobbies, businesses and so on. The more you know about this person, (who, hint-hint, is often you in disguise,) the more connected you get to their problems, the things they need help with. You can speak to them in their language and create more targeted offerings. When they sign up to work with you, you can send them a copy of that gossip rag you both say you don’t really read and know she’ll love it.

Speak to one person. Love on one person. Design for one person and connect your full expression to one human.

Marketing to millions starts with marketing to one.

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