If Everyone is Your Customer, Then No One is Your Customer


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I realize this sounds counter-intuitive (OK, crazy) but really, if you try to make  EVERYONE your customer, then NO ONE is your customer. No, this isn't some kind of Schrödinger's cat conundrum, it's a  business fact. Really and truly.

As business owners, we're constantly hustling to keep a steady flow of clients coming our way. The more clients, the busier we are, the more money we make. Sell as much as possible and sit back and watch the bank account grow, right?


Here's why. Human beings are crazily,wonderfully complex and what works for one person doesn't work for the next. We are all high-matinenance special snowflakes and want to be acknowledged and marketed to as such. How do you make a sale? By connecting with the people who want/need whatever fantabulous goods or service you're offering. CONNECTING. I put it in bold because that, my friends, is the key to success, all shiny and gold and able to unlock the magical city of profits.

OK, so that's all fine and dandy, you think, but how do I connect with my customers? I don't have an advertising budget like Coca-Cola and I'm no Kardashian with five gazillion followers on Twittergrambook  (is their 15 minutes up yet, Andy? Please?).

Fear not, as this is actually a lot easier to figure out than assembling a SNÄDDYMKE bed from Ikea and not nearly as frustrating.

Let's say you own a Lexus dealership (lucky you!). Someone strolls into the showroom and is interested in an LX 570.  Being a smart consumer, they're probably looking at other vehicles as well. Would one of these be a Hyundai Tucson? Probably not. The Tucson is a fine automobile but it's not one with a 5.7L V-8 383hp engine and an 8-speed automatic transmission with overdrive starting at almost $90,000.

Think about who your LX buyer is - age, income bracket, where they live, what work and hobbies they have, what restaurants they frequent, what radio stations they listen to, where do they get their news from, what brand of Scotch they drink, how much Scotch they drink...what motivates them and engages them.

Now think about the Tucson driver and go through the same exercise. Got it? Good. Is there much cross-over in the various categories? Probably not. They're most likely as different as Madonna and Marie Osmond. What will appeal to the Madonna's of the world will probably send the Marie's into a shrieking tizzy and vice versa. And that's fine because there is a specific market for every product or service.

The key to success is knowing who your peeps are, where to find them and how to engage them.

When you try to be all things to all people, the message gets lost because it doesn't connect with your target market. This may come across as harsh but brace yourself - not everyone needs or wants you. Shocking, I know but you'll live.  You're not water so don't try to sell yourself as such (and if you own a water company, kudos to you because everyone does, in fact, need what you're selling).

Not that this will come as a surprise to anyone (unless you're Amish like in that Harrison Ford movie, in which case my question would be, why or how are you reading this?),  but people have really small attention spans. Minuscule, gnat-like...cookies! (see what I mean).  According to research by Media Dynamics, adults are now exposed to about 360 ads per day across all five media (TV, radio, Internet, newspapers and magazines). Out of all these, less than half are noted at all and far less make enough of an impression to be remembered.

This is where CONNECTION comes into play. Remember that client profile you worked up on the LX customer? Now create an ad for them. Make them visualize being in the driver's seat of the LX,  hearing the engine purring with the ferocity of eight lions, inhaling the delicious new-car smell, caressing the baby's-bottom smooth leather seats, delighting in the luxuriousness of the sleek walnut trim of the interior, feeling they've "arrived" by  driving one of the world's most luxurious and exclusive vehicles. You're not selling a car - you're selling the aura of power and prestige the LX bestows upon its owner. And its owner is not everyone but the very, very few and privileged.

In order to successfully cut through all the marketing hubris and hit your target client over the head with Thor's hammer, your message has to be on point to emotionally engage them. That Lexus advertisement wouldn't resonate with the Tucson customer because it's a product they aren't in the market for but, it would pull the LX buyer in like Carrie Bradshaw to a Manolo Blahnik blow-out at Sak's.

If your product is the Lexus, don't try to sell the Tucson. Know thy market and thou shalt prosper.

Larissa Banting