Target Customers & 5 Reasons Why Selling to Everyone Is Pointless

1111 Single's Day

If you have ever attended any business training or workshop, you probably did an exercise where you had to profile your target customer. It is a common exercise done across industries for a reason. Customers are your no.1 revenue-generator. Knowing who they are is thus a very important aspect of your business.
When we do brand positioning workshops, one of the exercises we ask participants to do is to determine a customer profile. We ask them questions like ‘who are you selling to? What is their psychographic background? What do they like to do?’ The answers to these questions will shape the core of their brand strategy and connect the brand to their customers effectively.

Who are your customers?

While it sounds very exciting to sell to everyone, it’s a foolhardy plan. It’s fine to think everyone should know about your product and be as famous as Coca-Cola or BMW. But you have to start with a group of customers who are most likely to buy what you offer. Not knowing your customers is akin to not selling to anyone at all.
You might have a brilliant product; a non-iron shirt, a non-toxic dish soap, or world-class gourmet chocolates. But who would be interested in your product or service? Not everyone cares about non-iron shirts because they don’t wear shirts to work. So you won’t market your shirts to factory workers or nurses. Who would you sell to, then?
Many branding and marketing strategies require a core customer base to work. How would want to advertise your brand? What keywords do you use to blast your ad on Google Search? What colour scheme do you use for your packaging? Which social media platform do you want to establish your brand on? Yes, these all can work only when you know who you are targeting to.
With an established target customer, also known as target audience, you can group the population into groups of people that share a common trait. These traits can be as basic as gender and location, to as specific as hobbies, opinions and psychographic traits.

Why should you profile and specify your target customer?

  1. Craft the Right Message They Like to Hear
    What is the vernacular used among your target customers? Teenagers have their own slang but no, ‘That’s so fetch,’ is not a thing they say. While it’s easy to jump to stereotypes e.g. ‘millennials will buy anything with a WIFI in it’, your brand should go deeper towards what your customers want and how they speak about it.

    More often than not, speaking to your target customer is more than what vocabulary and lingo they used. Instead, it’s more on what emotions are present when your customers talk about a topic. Your brand has to be relatable to customers. How they feel about your brand should be the same as how they feel about your message.

    Take the example of any organic food brand you’ve seen, such as Signature Market and Organicule. How do they describe their food products? What benefits are highlighted? Customers who consume organic food are often health-conscious and/or environment-conscious, so the brands’ value propositions usually revolve around health benefits or non-GMO attributes.

    Therefore, by knowing who your customers are, you can identify the right personality and language to reach out to them, thus being more relatable and likeable.

  2. Sell Things They Actually Want
    Is your product what customers want? Is it a necessity to them, a nice-to-have or something quite hard for you to imagine them using? But the more important question is; what challenges your target customers face in their everyday lives? What do they want to achieve? How would your product or service help them solve their problem or get them closer to their ambitions?

    IKEA provides a great example of selling things people want. As an established brand, IKEA has defined segments of their target customers that caters to various customer life-cycles, from young couples in their first apartment, small families, large families with older kids, to retirees.

    Picture credit:

    The brand has a whole designing team of artists and architects dedicated to developing homeware and furniture that help customers in their daily lives. From sophisticated wardrobes with three sliding doors to a simple glass bottle with a stopper, IKEA’s products are made to ease their customers’ lives.

  3. Maximise Your Brand’s Potential
    By intensifying all your branding resources towards a defined target customer, you’ll focus on those most likely to purchase, thus increasing the chances for a sale. Positive sales growth is a valuable metric that will help in many ways. It will grow your business, get investors talking, and strengthen your brand. With a strong customer base, your brand would also garner fans and foster brand loyalty.

    Adidas has a strong customer base that helps them stay competitive against Nike and Puma. The brand differentiates itself by selling to football players and enthusiasts. Among their branding strategies include sponsoring football events such as the FIFA World Cup and the Euro Cup, as well as sponsoring many football athletes like Lionel Messi. This move establishes Adidas as a relevant brand for sports, and especially in football.

  4. Saves You a Billion Bucks
    By setting your target customer, you would stream valuable budget more efficiently. You will know where to invest, who to hire, what brand strategy to use, and which marketing channel works best to get the most brand awareness from your customers. Best of all, by understanding what your customers like and dislike, you will save your brand and your business from costly mistakes.

    Mistakes do happen, even for top brands. Snapchat, once a famous messaging platform, had an app redesign earlier this year. It didn’t go very well. Users disliked the new interface, which they found confusing and disorienting. The app’s active users plummeted as people switched to an obvious alternative; Instagram Stories, which in contrast, knew how to market to end users and businesses.

    Snapchat’s new app design. Picture Credit:

    Despite Snapchat getting the first-mover advantage in the multimedia-sharing innovation, Instagram is the current chart-topper. This is thanks to Instagram’s deep understanding of how people use their Stories feature. They also made it better and easier for people to check and navigate their posts back and forth. While Instagram milks their new success, Snapchat is scrambling to cover losses and a shrinking number of users.

  5. Makes You A Formidable Competitor
    All of the points above will help you become a better, competitive brand. When you know your customers, you know what to do and what resources to use. And when you know your methods, you can track progress better, and you can plan ahead better. SMEs, in particular, can benefit a lot with a defined and well-invested target customer. Many SMEs have unique and niche (sometimes unseen) target customers, which paves the way for innovation and ingenuity.

    Larger companies can also benefit with a segmented or niche target customers and be innovative. That’s how the team at Jardin Craft brands themselves. They target homeowners who want a fuss-free way to liven up their space with plants and flowers. It is why the brand showcases their pots in unusual environments and combinations.

A brand that has no invested target customer has no direction. That’s why you need to know who you’re selling to and what interests them. So, let’s think. Who is buying your products or hiring you to do things? If you are struggling to find the answers, stop everything else. Get this done first.
Why not get our guidebook, the CEO’s Brand Strategy Playbook, to help you? It has all the chapters you need to develop a whole brand strategy, complete with a target audience, brand personality, brand purpose, and brand positioning. It’s DIY, but you can always reach us out if you need help. Give it a try!