Seth Godin refers to target markets as tribes. That is what a target market is; it is a subset group of people who are raving fans of your product or service.

A good example of a tribe is Harley Davidson, or for the crafty people Creative Memories, or for the graphic designers Apple. These are three very different organizations with very different tribes who have all mastered target marketing within their organization.

What did tribes do, and how do we do it, too?

First, they identified what they offer in their industry that is unique/different than anyone else in the industry. For Harley, it is the opportunity to live free and experience the open road like a rebel. Do other motorcycle companies offer that? Isn’t that what owning a motorcycle is? Yeah maybe, but Harley is the only one that markets for that freedom.

For Creative Memories, it is the opportunity to share in the creation of memory books with friends and family by sharing the tools to make your memories special to you. Again, are there other companies out there that offer memory creation? Sure, but creative memories markets to that point where other organizations that offer that unique feel are not targeting that for a reason to buy their product.

For Apple, it is the opportunity to create art like you never could before.

I am sure you are seeing the pattern now. All 3 of these firms are marketing to their unique value that other people in the industry identify but don’t talk about as a benefit of their product.

What is the difference in marketing Benefits over Features?

This actually has more to do with the business voice or the consumer voice. At the McKeown Network, we call this the business lens or the consumer lens.

When we are close to our industry and our business, as owners we often are, it becomes challenging to talk about our product or service in a way that our consumers can relate to and understand.

This is often due using industry jargon to be confusing or overly complex. Some companies do this intentionally and it works to their advantage as the client they are speaking with becomes overwhelmed and desperate to work with someone who clearly knows about the industry.

This is the business lens talking.

Apple, Harley, and Creative Memories talk to their consumers and clients from a position of a consumer or client. They work to remove themselves emotionally from the business and focus on why does that tool/part/or software make a difference to the client. When they promote their product they talk about the benefit the product offers, not the features. This is to make that product more relatable, less complicated, and the clear solution to the client’s problem. The problem for each or their clients varies as they are very different companies.

I talk a bit about target markets in the Controlling your Brand post from earlier this month. (Those who know me know this article is actually several years old but I rewrote it for this site)

Why is target market important?

I can answer this with a question… do you like keeping the money you make or giving it away?

If you like giving it away to friends and family because it makes you feel good, then, by all means, don’t do target marketing. When you leave targeting out of your marketing strategy you open yourself up to spending a lot more money to reach everyone.

On the other hand, when we implement targeting into the marketing strategy we use less budget and reach the people who are most likely to buy from us.

At the end of the day, if you are running a business, the marketing plan should come down to the ROI. Is this marketing campaign, event, or program generating more business than I am paying for it to exist? If the answer is yes, then keep feeding the monkey. If the answer is no, research why the campaign isn’t working, and consider putting that campaign idea on the shelf for a while to try again later.

I hope this article helps you to identify if you have established a target market of people you want to do business with, and who want to do business with you. If you feel a little lost, reach out to us. We are happy to talk with you more about your business and help you on a personal level figure out who you should be targeting with your marketing, and where to find them!

Please join the conversation!