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Being too generic can kill your company

Know your WHO, and be specific – even if it hurts: The more specific you can be about your target audience, the better. Gender, age, interests, income level, geography, and more. What drives them to buy from you? What motivates them? It could also be about what kind of customers they make – what do they buy from you? What is it like to service them?

Take the time to build your target customer’s profile or persona. What problem do you solve for them? How do they want you to communicate with them? Become VERY clear here. If you are too generic and try to be everything to everyone, you can kill your company. The wrong customers can erode profitability, drag down your teams, leave bad reviews and cause customer service problems. But the right ones just get it. Take the time to zero in on who those customers are. Do NOT skip this step. Let me share a story of our own journey to illustrate this point because we are living this right now.

For Dream Local Digital, we’ve worked with nearly 65,000 businesses of all types throughout North America over the past several years in our workshops, boot camps, and in client work. Some of these customers we sold ourselves, while others came through our national network of partners that we support. Because we have so many different organizations selling our services, we got clients of all types. We grew, but it wasn’t the right kind of strong, profitable and sustainable growth, and the business stagnated. I knew we needed a change.

Those of us on the marketing team went through the agonizing process of recognizing that while we had services that have helped small and medium-sized businesses in all industries throughout North America, we needed to niche it down. We knew we needed to focus all of our messaging, our website, our offers, the problem we solve, and the language we use, toward the target: WHO. But we kept resisting the process. We didn’t want to turn away any revenue – that would be crazy, wouldn’t it? Or would it?

We made two attempts focusing on industries we have deep experience in – and they were moderately successful. But something was missing. Then, I recommended that we individually make lists of clients we’d like more of, that we felt were successful engagements. I wanted to see if there were common threads. It was exciting that each of us brought a list of 10-12 clients – and they were all nearly the same. Good! We’re getting somewhere! But, they were in a variety of industries. What do they have in common? We realized they were all companies in growth and scale mode. These clients were committed to growth, they valued marketing’s important role in that growth, and they collaborated with us to fuel their growth. It was a EUREKA moment for us. We found our WHO. While it took us a really long time to get here, once we knew it – it clicked.

You’ll see all of our marketing entirely focused on growth and scale companies. How can you get more specific about YOUR target audience? What kinds of customers are you able to make most successful? What customers refer others to you? Invest more or buy more? Get as specific as you can here, even if it hurts. All of your marketing and your sales efforts will become so much easier once you’ve done it!

As you look at the growth and scale that you want to achieve, I encourage you to start by going back to the basics – zero in on your target customer, and re-think your marketing to speak directly to them. Let me know if you have any questions as you go through the journey. We’re on it with you!

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