If you think “everyone” is your target market, think again

The first time we meet with a lot of our clients, they tell us their target market is “everyone.” While this might seem reasonable, it’s actually more likely to hurt their business and result in wasted advertising dollars with fewer customers.

Missing the target mark

Take Shea Moisture’s recent ad as an example. Shea Moisture’s products have historically been marketed to African American women. But their newest ad featured mostly Caucasian women.

Shea moisture
Shea’s latest ad, which targeted a new market to disastrous results

Why the sudden shift? Shea wanted to sell more products, so they tried to broaden their target market to include more people. That makes sense, right?

Wrong. The backlash on Shea’s new ad was not pretty. Over 30,000 negative tweets about the ad made Shea the top trend on Twitter for the afternoon. But all publicity isn’t necessarily good publicity: Shea pulled the ad after running it for only one day.

30,000+ negative tweets

Shea’s efforts blew up in their face because their target market felt abandoned. They’ve always provided a solution to African American women’s hair problems, which meant they deeply understood and cared about those problems. By offering that same solution to someone else, Shea showed they didn’t really “get” their target market.

Broadening your own business’ target market probably won’t result in a Shea-level disaster, but you can still learn from their mistake.

You can’t be everything to everyone

The most successful businesses work because they market to individuals who have the greatest need for their product. These businesses know what they’re really good at, and who they’re good at helping. They don’t try to provide a one-size-fits-all solution.

Imagine you have a 1965 Ford Mustang. Would you rather get the oil changed at a mechanic who specializes in vintage American cars, or would you go to a big brand chain repair shop?

In this example, a chain repair shop could certainly change the oil for you and do a reasonable job. But the mechanic who specializes in vintage American cars will know all about your Mustang. He’ll be able to provide service above and beyond, and he might find problems with the car that a typical mechanic wouldn’t even notice.

When you only do one thing, people assume you're really good at it

Target market = targeted marketing

Ads attempting to appeal to everyone end up appealing to no one. This is because everyone has different needs and problems. Trying to solve all those various problems with one ad ends up making your message so generic that no one benefits from it.

When you know exactly who your target market is, you can develop advertising messages that speak directly to them and their problem. This will lead to better engagement and more customers from every ad dollar you spend.

That means you can spend less money on advertising and get better results.

If your marketing plan needs some Shea Moisture love (or you just need help defining your target market), reach out to Field Group.

FG hits the target market bullseye
We’ve been practicing our archery skills

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