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Target Audience: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

“Every day is a school day”, so the old saying goes.

1 of Sales Marvel's new clients - let’s call her Kate - had a real epiphany over her Target Audience over these last few months and much of the confusion was caused by what she learned in the (MBA) classroom.

Target Audience Avatars

I’m sure you’ve heard how important it is for your business to have customer Avatars to help set out or map our target customer personas.

Avatars are also helpful because they encourage sniper-like behaviour, not scatter-gunning or "throwing mud against the wall" which can waste

lots of time and marketing budget if you're not careful.

If you try selling to everybody, you’ll end up selling to nobody...

(Google might be the only exception due to its vast resources and total domination of its own target audience...the internet)

For example, Kate uses these Avatars in her business:

Emma: a recent graduate looking to start her own health business

Thomas: a mid-career sales professional looking to further develop his IT sales skills and...

Jane: a company director with an established marketing business who wants to get more sales-confident prospecting for new business

Kate has used these avatars for the last 2-3 years and they’ve served her fairly well up until now.

In line with all the sage advice on strategy, Kate has positioned all her sales messages around those 3 avatars.

But Kate was accidentally constraining growth in her business.


(credit: Robert De Niro, "Analyse this")

After analysing the last 12-months of business results, new customer wins and social media engagement, the results were acceptable but not stellar.

When Kate discussed the results with me, I asked her some searching questions. After all, that's kind of my job here.

We talked about the people already buying from her, following her on social media and engaging with her social media posts.

Here’s the thing: 85% of Kate's career has been in working for large corporates with thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of employees working with other large corporates of a similar size.

That’s where her reputation, her history of achievement is…working with large corporates.

So, 1 of the searching questions I asked her was "if corporates are your reputation and your professional experience is, why are you now trying to do business with small businesses - a completely different target market?"

“What right do you have to work in that part of the market?”

Kate replied that she had grown tired of working in the large enterprise sector and her passion was to now help small businesses grow.

“Small businesses represent 47% of UK GDP”

(source: ONS data).

Now that is all well and good, having a passion to address that target sector for some very admirable reasons. However:

What Does "Mr Market" Think?

However, what Kate had not considered was what Warren Buffett calls "Mr Market" (or Ms Market).

Mr Market means it doesn’t much matter what you want to do, what really matters is what skills the market values you for and what it will hire you to do for it.

Mr Market is why Salespeople can’t suddenly become heart surgeons, why Accountants can’t suddenly become landscape gardeners and IT Consultants can’t suddenly become interior designers.

Mr Market doesn’t recognise them having those skills or reputation…yet.

However, Mr Market is the reason why Tommy Shelby was able to successfully pitch for Billy Kimber’s business in Peaky Blinders.

Mr Kimber recognised that the Peaky Blinders had a particular reputation.

My Take:

Before you go out there and proclaim your brilliance to others, you need to have a story that’s relatable to your target market if you’re to make a success of your business.

For more information on telling your story and other sales hints and tips, subscribe to the Sales Marvel website.

A basic subscription is free and you’ll receive a free copy of my eBook 7 Top Tips for a Successful Sales Pitch.

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