Chapter 15 Who is your target market? (Pick the one that suits you best!)
Your target market is the people that you – the product – is designed to please. Who is it that you are doing all this for? If you are a psychopathic personality (according to the clinical definition), then that is a small audience of one. You. And just so you know, between 4% and 6% of the world population fits the definition of psychopaths ☺
And BTW, CEOs in today’s corporate world are four times as likely to fit that profile. Are you surprised, given the callous & uncaring behaviour that we have seen, and continue to witness today?
So, assuming that you are not a psychopathic personality, which group of people are you trying to influence? How are you the solution that this audience is looking for – the ‘itch’ that they ‘need’ to scratch?
There are three major criteria that you can use to decide who your target audience should be:
1. A meaningful identity. If you defined the audience properly, and read them the definition you wrote, would they recognize themselves – and would they care? Would they say – ‘Hey, that’s me!” You can’t give a generic definition of this identity – something like ‘the boss that wants the best from their employees’ – because that is every boss. It can’t be that general…
To know if you have indeed developed a meaningful identity for your audience, you can use what we call the “Window Test”. If you were to climb up to the 10th floor of a building on a busy street and yell down to the street below – “Hey, all mothers who want the best nutrition for my children!” – the chances are you would attract all the women above a certain age. That’s no good. If on the other hand, you said something along the lines of – “Hey, all those who want to motivate, excite and drive their team to new heights of achievement!” – well, you would certainly get a different group, wouldn’t you?
Similarly, if you defined your target audience as “senior management” – that would probably be too broad. On the other hand, a more meaningful identity might be along the lines of “forward-thinking, tech-savvy, members of the senior management team who are devoted to building the technical backbone of your company”… now that’s a different bunch. Might be the same people – just defined differently. And I humbly submit – more meaningfully for you and for them!
2. Motivation. Does the definition you wrote clearly contain the itch that needs to be scratched – and show how YOU are going to scratch it – the unique benefit YOU offer? Let’s take a look at Jon Stewart. Implicit in all that he does and says is the clear benefit to you, the viewer, that he will take a certain point of view about the hot button topics of the day. You tune in – or tune out – for that exact reason! You appreciate – or not – his take on topics as varied as the Republican primaries, the situation in the Middle East or the peccadilloes of certain politicians, some of whom may or may not be his friends.
What about Richard Branson, the charismatic (despite being slightly crazy or perhaps, because of it!) chairman of the Virgin group of companies? Why do people – especially media and members of the press – turn out in droves for one of his events? Because he can be guaranteed to do something that will be newsworthy – that is the unique benefit he offers to the 24-hour news cycle. And boy, does he deliver column centimeters ☺ usually with gripping visuals!
3. Mass. Is the target market you offer this benefit to as big (or small) as it needs to be? You don’t want to restrict yourself, but you don’t want to go too wide either. At the same time, you want the category of people in your target market to want to be a part of the market – the way you have defined it. They need to want to be a part of the club – the exclusive club – that you are inviting them to – and they should be proud to be associated with it.
Who wouldn’t want to be a part of these groups?
“Those with the guts to push themselves past their own limits!”
“Executives who have earned the power that prestige brings!”
“Career women who know how to be a great mom!”
So – who is your target audience? Think about how you are going to define them to your maximum advantage…
Chapter 16 With whom are you competing? (You get to decide your frame of reference!)
Who are you competing with in your professional and personal lives?
By the way, if you don’t think you are competing with anyone, you are way too Zen for this book. Read no further. Relax. Take another chill pill. (Please note – I am not advocating pharmaceutical solutions of any sort!). Continue down the path you are on, and I hope to join you on that path in a few years (or not).
If on the other hand, you recognize that – whether you like it or not, and whether it is fair or not – you are in a competition, then let’s continue.
Many times, it is not a fair competition. How many people do you know who have lost husbands to younger women? Been ‘reorganized’ out of jobs that have gone to younger people? What about parents dying alone, having lost relevance in the lives of their children, and their children’s lives?
The good news is that the competitive sets we live with are not necessarily those that we were born with. You – YOU – can choose who you are going to compete with. If you do this properly – you can actually make your competition irrelevant.
An example of how a brand has done this effectively is Apple. An iconic brand, yes. But most importantly – there are only two types of computers in the world today, as far as the public is concerned. Apple – and PCs. In one fell swoop, Apple (through a concerted and focused effort) made all the other brands of PCs redundant. They basically said – either you are an Apple user, or you are not. If you are not, that’s OK. But when you, Mr. or Mrs. User are ready to graduate to Apple, we will be here for you…
In marketing terms, Apple redefined the Frame of Reference so that it works only for them. Powerful stuff.
So how do we make this work for you? Here’s what you need to do.
1. Start by reviewing your competitive landscape – your Frames of Reference – all the landscapes available to you.
2. Determine the Frame of Reference (FOR) you can win in – and that’s worth winning in!
3. The Frame of Reference you choose must meet these criteria:
a. Simplicity: “I know exactly who I’m competing with!” Is the Frame of Reference that you have chosen understandable by your ‘consumer’ without explanation or effort? Most importantly, does it answer the following three questions simply and directly:
i. What ARE you? Father. Athlete. Accountant. Manager. Sales Rep. And so on.
ii. What do you DO? Provide an amazing home environment. Run the 4-minute mile. Provide accurate financial statements. Run your team like a well-oiled machine. Exceed your targets every single quarter. And so on.
iii. What Emotional Benefit do you provide? Always there for your children. Driven to excel on and off the track. Guaranteed to get the numbers right the first time. A job given to you is a job done. The go-to person in the sales team who always takes up the slack.
b. Significance: “I can demonstrate how the benefit I offer is unique, and stands out from the others in this group.” Does the Frame of Reference you have chosen set up a meaningful differentiation?
Remember, every Frame of Reference you choose will automatically have both positive and negative associations that go with it. This is just the way it is. Embrace it.
For example, take the category of ‘weight lifters’.
What are some of the positive associations that this category comes with? Strength. Muscles. Focus. Determination. Passion. Energy. Did I mention strength?
What about the negatives? Not very attractive to look at. Prone to injury. Linked to drug use & abuse. And so on.
So – understand well the category BEFORE you choose – think it through because it will stay with you once you define it for your ‘consumer’ to see, and invite them to view you in that light.
c. Scale: The Frame of Reference should be as large as the other two will allow. Remember, a bigger scale is not necessarily better. The issue is that of the ‘Zone of Authority’ (ZOA). How far does your ZOA stretch? It is often better to succeed as a power player in a smaller category – be a big fish in a small pond – than try to play in a category that is unnecessarily large…
And don’t forget to consider direct and indirect competition – many a brand has been knocked off its perch by competition that it never even saw coming. For example, the biggest selling camera in India a couple of years ago was actually Nokia – not Nikon, or Canon, or any other ‘actual’ camera brand. Do you think they saw it coming?
So. What is your frame of reference? Where in your world can YOU best compete & with whom do you compete? On what benefit can YOU win? Do you know? If not, well, you’d better find out.