Are Your Marketing Zebras?

zebraWhen I speak with business owners who are frustrated with their marketing I always ask the question, “What is your target market?” The answer usually starts with, “Anyone.” It’s like they are marketing zebras instead of horses of a specific colour. Let me explain.

I learned a marketing rule many years ago which is still very relevant today. Here it is: “Anyone who tries to make everyone their customer ends up with no one as a customer.”

Marketing Zebras instead of Choosing a Specific Horse

Here is an example. Let’s assume that you sell horses. In the horse market there are people who want white horses and those who want black horses. As a marketer you are asking yourself: “How can I sell a product to all of these people?” Then you have a brilliant idea. You will market zebras. They are perfect. They are black and white, both types of customers will be happy.

You start to market your zebras but no one is buying. What’s going on? Everyone should be happy! After some research you find out that the people who want white horses don’t want horses with black on them and the people who want black horses don’t want any white on them. By trying to make everyone happy you made no one happy. You didn’t completely satisfy their wants and needs so they didn’t buy.

When we identify the specific needs and wants of our target markets we can then develop a product mix and market messaging that is aimed directly at the people we want to serve. The more specific the message the more likely it will resonate with our market and will end up in a positive response. Our potential clients are being exposed to hundreds of marketing stimuli every day so our message has to hit them between the eyeballs with a concise message that is relevant to them.

Invest some time to fully understand exactly what your target market wants from you and adjust your product mix and messaging aimed only at them. If done effectively you will see your business grow faster than ever. Hold on and enjoy the ride.

Tony Malyk

Tony Malyk is a Certified Professional Business Coach and Business Value Accelerator specializing in improving profitability and increasing business value in the manufacturing, distribution, trades and technology sectors.