Speak to a Targeted Market or Speak to No One

Image courtesy of Pete/Flickr.

You may have heard the classic marketing idea that if you speak to everyone, you aren’t speaking to anyone. The reason this adage has been around so long is that it’s true. It may have come about during the age of traditional marketing with billboards, newspaper ads and television spots, but it can easily translate into internet marketing.

What does it mean?

In essence, this theory proposes that if you try to target too many markets or try to appeal to everyone, your message and direction will be lost and you’ll end up not speaking to anyone.


Several different messages, tactics and ideas can help you in marketing, but when they are all thrown at the same market, they can actually backfire. People will be confused, they won’t associate your business with your brand and they won’t respond to your calls to action.

What are the Common Pitfalls?

Businesses commonly fall into the trap of trying to market to everyone when they don’t have a strategic plan. They think they know what they want to tell people and they may have some good ideas for promoting their business, but they aren’t very organised.


Another problem businesses face is not knowing how to use the tactics and tools available. They know things like social media, search engine optimisation and online ads can benefit them, so they use them without knowing how to use them to their fullest potential and to target a specific market.

How Does my Business Avoid This Problem?

In short, your business needs to target its markets and then carry that targeting through as you promote your business.


Define your Market


To avoid targeting everyone and letting your message get lost, define your market very clearly and specifically. Write a description of your target market that includes information like demographics, needs, interests, where people hang out online and how your products appeal to them.


Of course, you will most likely have more than one market to target. Define each one separately with a thorough description so you can see each clearly and understand how each is different, despite some possible similarities.


Match Tactics with Markets


Now, look at each market individually and decide what tactics will help you reach them the most effectively. For example, you may reach out to other businesses through LinkedIn or email marketing and you may reach out to your customers through social media and online ads.


It’s okay to use some tactics for more than one market, but remember that the way you use a tactic to target current customers will most likely be different than the way you use it to target potential customers.


The idea here is to recognise that each market needs something different and needs to hear different messages and have different experiences if you want to promote your business successfully.


Stick to the Plan


After you have defined your markets and mapped out which tactics to use for each one, stick to your plan. You can experiment with different approaches, but avoid the temptation to use the same strategy for all of your markets.


Each of the markets your business depends on is different. Treating them all the same or failing to target your internet marketing tactics to a specific audience will make your marketing less effective, which means you’ll miss out on benefits that could help your business be more successful.