I recently came across a wonderful quote from Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers, What the Dog Saw and David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants.
"If my books appear to a reader to be oversimplified, then you shouldn't read them: you're not the audience!"
He knows who he's writing for. He understands who his target audience is. Do you do the same with your product and marketing?
It's easy to assume everyone's your target audience when you have something everyone could conceivably use. The reality though is that no two people are alike. Targeting "everyone" means you're wasting your efforts.
Take something as mundane as window cleaner. Mostly everyone in North America has a home or a car with windows, so everyone needs YOUR window cleaning solution, right?
Not so fast. There are many kinds of people, such as:
- those who don't care if their windows are dirty,
- those who would prefer a more environmentally-friendly alternative,
- those who buy the stuff in bulk (and yours isn't sold in bulk),
- those who only buy "the best stuff",
- those who only buy the cheapest stuff,
- those who prefer pretty scents,
- those who prefer just the basic blue liquid,
- and so on.
Not understanding who your product or service appeals to causes cascading problems for marketing. From design to content to context, you're flying blind. When you know who your ideal customer is, you're miles ahead of your competition who don't.
I know you've heard it before, but it's worth repeating. Know your audience. Create useful and informative stuff for them, and do it better than your competition. You'll come out ahead in the long run.