Little Susie Q. wants to open a purple panties shop in downtown Bumblefuck. She hires a marketing consultant who performs the obligatory market research. Together they nail down Susie’s target market: women ages 25 – 50, median income $65k, location within a 10 mile radius. They figure out what these women want (to look sexy) and position their purple panties as the definitive solution. Then, and only then, does little Susie Q. open her doors to the public.
If Susie and her marketing consultant had not done this preparation they would probably waste tons of dough advertising to Susie’s wrong people.
She might mistakenly target people in East Jibip when no one there is willing to drive all the way to Bumblefuck. She might send wasted mailers out to fraternity houses or struggling single mothers (who are just fine wearing their ripped granny panties, thank you very much).
Without these demographic data, Susie would be taking a shot in the dark with everything she did for her marketing.
So goes the story of brick-and-mortar marketing. This is the way it’s been done for centuries. It’s worked very well, too. It’s made millions of people billions of dollars. And if it ain’t broke, why fix it?
But see it’s not just broke for people like you and me. It’s entirely and completely irrelevant. Yet these “marketing experts” insist that their historic model will fit into this new paradigm.
I promise you it won’t.
When looking to these so-called experts to define target market, Entrepreneur magazine advises “… entrepreneurs who aim at a small target are far more likely to make a direct hit.” while Inc. online warns ” Don’t break your target down too far!”
Running a business online today means that you have
a over THREE BILLION potential customers at your fingertips. The marketing industry has never been faced with this situation before and it’s crystal clear to me they’ve no idea how to deal with it.
The problem is now inside out. It’s a complete reversal. We no longer need to study demographics. We no longer need a target market.
Long Live Your Perfect People!
What we do need to define, in a pristinely crystal-clear manner, is who our perfect people are. Because today we have finally and forever been set free from the confines of target markets and demographics. We get to choose who we want to do business with.
This is a foreign concept and one that I see so many people struggling with. It’s actually much easier to just pay someone to do a little research and let the market define which customers to target.
Figuring out who your perfect people are, on the other hand, requires some deep soul searching. It means we have to be certain what our message is, who we want to work with and how we can change our world with that work. These are not always easy questions to answer!
In fact, when I work with someone to help them figure out who their perfect people are this can be the single most difficult hurdle for them to overcome. Partly because it requires them to put aside everything they thought they knew about marketing, and partly because it is an intensely personal process.
This subtle shift, from target market to perfect people, is absolutely key to your online business’ success. It is also key to your having a business that nurtures and energizes you as opposed to one that drains you and leaves you feeling used up. It can mean the difference between running to your computer every morning more excited than ever or dragging your feet and dreading opening your Gmail page.
What can you do today, right now, to conjure some clarity about your perfect people? What problems arise for you around this question?
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