Why Selecting the Right Customers is Essential to Making Money

abercrombie-and-fitchphoto credit: Mordy Steinfeld via photopin cc

Imagine, a soccer mom headed into the mall to pick up a quick pair of shoes for her 5 year old son, before she has to speed crazily across town to pick up her daughter at softball practice.

She parks, and runs in as fast as she can after getting junior out of the car seat, explaining why they don’t have time to get a juice box. As she rounds the first corner, she comes upon a protest. A protest? At the at the mall?

Yes. It seems that DoSomething.org is upset with Abercrombie & Fitch because they don’t sell XL and XXL clothes.

Dan Kennedy wrote about it this month in his newsletter article. He rightly states that it’s a good strategy for businesses to be selective about their customers. The truth is, if you try to appeal to everyone, you WILL go broke! So, niching is the way to go.

Dan made the point that DoSomething.org wasn’t protesting Lane Bryant. Lane Bryant doesn’t sell petites and small sized clothing. It’s a good point. Thinking about it, we could extrapolate that out to almost every successful brand or business. Why doesn’t Ferrari make cars for lower income people? Why doesn’t Ben and Jerry’s make low-fat ice cream?

Isn’t it obvious why they don’t? That’s not their target market. They don’t care about those low income, or health conscious customers. To use a Marketing term, their companies are positioned for different markets.

So, the only thing DoSomething.org could hope to accomplish, other than making themselves look like idiots to success minded, logically thinking people like us, is to use this attack against Abercrombie & Fitch as a PR stunt. Before this, everyone asked said, “Do Something dot who?” Now they say, “Oh yeah, those morons!”

But, before I wrap this up, I want to get an important point across, so pay attention. In your positioning and value proposition … er, I mean (I’m trying to stop talking in marketing speak) … when you offer a product or service, you only want to get the attention of a specific segment of the available population. If you are focused on soccer moms, you are going to tailor your promotions to them.

So everything that you do should be targeted to your ideal customer.

Let me tell you a story. Last weekend Shelly and I went down to Orlando to give a presentation to a top secret group of individuals who are members of private companies, but who are working with Government. I’m not going to go into detail here, because they are a group of individuals who, if they are successful, will change the world we live in. If you have watched “Person of Interest” on CBS, this group is essentially creating a similar system, except this system will be state, nation, maybe even world-wide. Just like the “machine” in “Person of Interest,” this machine will not keep any historical information about the people it scans. But, if you are a criminal with a warrant, have a BOLO out on you, have kidnapped someone, are a terrorism suspect, etc. You will be watched and tracked and the authorities will have your location within seconds.

Anyway, I’m off the subject.

I gave the presentation to them because they were interested in how marketing is changing and how they could market their technologies using the Internet.

The presentation I gave was apparently pretty decent because I was asked by one of the group members to give it again the next morning to the marketing and sales executives of his business which was located there in Orlando.

The next morning, I gave the presentation knowing the entire time that this wasn’t my audience. I did it because I really liked the business owner and he’s a really great guy.

When I finished the presentation, explaining how the Internet has completely changed in the last 3 – 4 months and how everything is completely different, the sales executive looked at me and said, “We already do that.” Then the Marketing Exec. said, “I’d do even more, but I don’t have time, I’m having to perform IT support to our sales CRM (customer relationship manager).”

Not to take anything away from these guys, they are really good guys and I understand what’s going through their minds. It takes a special person to sit there and be open minded when told that what they are doing is now wrong. After all, who am I? They don’t know me, and I come in and tell them they are doing it wrong.

Let’s not mince word, I was pissing on their shoes.

But, I knew the deal. I was only giving the presentation to try and help the business owner, and them, do a better job. If they do, there’s a lot of upside potential for that business. Like $100,000,000 per year upside. But they aren’t doing it right.

If I was to take them on as a client, do you think they would listen? We do things differently here at Mindwhirl. We focus on making our clients money. When they make money, we make money.

So when we go in, we are going to be looking for ways to make money. We open up the business so we can identify the points in their marketing system, if they have one, that are being overlooked, not utilized, or non-existent.

That makes people whose job it is to be responsible for the marketing clam up. They can become aggressive combatants if not treated respectfully. Sometimes, even when treated with respect, their poor self esteem gets the better of them, and it becomes problematic.

That’s why, I don’t typically market to businesses with a marketing department. The sales people are hesitant enough, until they start getting high-quality leads, but if I market to a business with a marketing department, I’m usually just wasting my time.

Think about that. Are you wasting time marketing to a segment that you don’t a) want to work with, b) never buy from you, or c) are problematic?

Dan Kennedy said he’s never sold anything in Tuscon, Arizona, and he’s never had a good experience with any woman with two last names conjoined with a hyphen.

So, he deletes them from his lists and never, ever markets to them.

What about you?

Have you realized that a certain segment of your market is a liability to your business? Have you realized that you have to target your message, and offers to specific groups? What do you think about Abercrombie & Fitch not selling XL and XXL clothes?

Let me know in the comments below.

About Michael Miller

Michael Miller is the owner of Mindwhirl.com, a sales and marketing coaching and training company in Atlanta, Georgia.

Michael’s mission is helping small business owners understand, and organize their marketing so they can make money and grow.

Mindwhirl helps business owners plan and implement effective, profitable marketing campaigns and sales programs.

If you need more sales, we know how to get leads and grow businesses. Call us today at (404) 858-3105, or email me at mmiller@mindwhirl.com.

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