Focus on Your Target Market!

I always joke in my live programs that if your ideal customer is a left-handed Vietnam veteran who plays golf with a 30 handicap and used to drive a 1975 purple AMC Gremlin, you can get that list of those people.

It won’t be a very big list, but if these truly are your ideal prospects, you should have a very high conver­sion rate with all of them.

So it was with great surprise and a little joy that I saw two ads on TV for Raymond James (the investment company) that really grasped this concept.

Do You Need Individual Help?

Take a look at the ad on the right page. It shows an animated sequence that displays the following copy:

Men who have a pilot’s license: 214,102...who built their son a tree house: 2,373 ...and want to travel and retire to Costa Rica: 61...and fly through the trees: 1

This is followed by the slogan: “There is no one exactly like you. Individual solutions from independent advisors.”

I really like this ad because it stresses the importance of really drilling down and understanding the characteristics of your market.

The implication here is that if you’re the guy with the pilot’s license who built the tree house and wants to retire in Costa Rica and fly on a zip line, then you are truly unique, and a one-size-fits-all retirement plan just isn’t going to cut it for you.

That’s why you really need the in­dividual, personalized attention you’ll get from this company.

There Are Riches in Niches...

Now, I have no dealings with Ray­mond James, so I can’t personally vouch for the accuracy of this claim. But the approach is excellent. And this raises an extremely important question:

Why don’t most organizations ap­ply this exact same approach in their own marketing?

Time and time again, in virtually every market I work with, I see the same thing. I ask people to identify all the different niche markets they can imagine from within their broad definition of “customer,” “client,” or “member.”

With a little prodding, they are able to identify three, four, some­times even 40 different, unique “sub-markets,” each with its own specific and individual needs from the organization.

And yet when I ask how many dif­ferent brochures, ads, or sales letters they have, the answer is always the same: one.

The problem is that a single “one” of anything can’t possibly address the specific needs of multiple niches.

Increasingly the mass marketing is turning into a mass of niches. Chris Anderson, author of The Long Tail


Raymond James #1b&wOn the other hand, it’s not practical to design 40 completely different brochures for 40 different target markets. At least in most cases.

So the trick then is to find out ways to leverage what you already have and still put a “personal touch” on everything you do.

As an example, during a recent consulting day for a major national association, we ran into just this challenge: how to customize an annual conference brochure for four different types of memberships.Raymond James #2b&w

The answer? Don’t customize the brochure; customize the cover letter.

For example, the letter sent to members in rural areas would say:

This year’s conference is designed with the rural market in mind. Specifically, Session M-102 on Page 5, Session T-113 on Page 7, and Session W-107 on Page 10 address problems facing businesses just like yours...Raymond James #3b&w

Of course, there would be letters just like this highlighting the relevant sessions for inner-city

businesses, minority-owned businesses, large operations, and newly-opened businesses– all with the same general brochure enclosed in the mailing.

Raymond James #4b&w

This ad from Ramond James shows the significance of segmenting your market.

This is an extremely effective and economical approach you can take to target specific niche markets... without breaking the bank.