Target audience advice: Go small to win big

I help my clients figure out which customers to focus on. When I ask them who their customers are, 99.9% of the time they say “everyone who uses an iPhone” or “everyone who has a computer.” I get it. The strategy is to go big or go home. The problem with going big on your target audience is like going to that restaurant that has one hundred items on the menu. Sure, there is something for everyone but it’s all rather average. Typically those restaurants do one thing really good. So, what if you did one thing really good and focused on the people who want, need and are dying to connect with that one thing?

Today, Seth Godin’s blog hit the nail on the head. The more focused your target audience and market, the bigger the results you can have in reaching them, connecting with them, winning them for life.

In search of the minimum viable audience

Of course everyone wants to reach the maximum audience. To be seen by millions, to maximize return on investment, to have a huge impact.

And so we fall all over ourselves to dumb it down, average it out, pleasing everyone and anyone.

You can see the problem.

When you seek to engage with everyone, you rarely delight anyone. And if you’re not the irreplaceable, essential, one-of-a-kind changemaker, you never get a chance to engage with the market.

The solution is simple but counterintuitive: Stake out the smallest market you can imagine. The smallest market that can sustain you, the smallest market you can adequately serve. This goes against everything you learned in capitalism school, but in fact, it’s the simplest way to matter.

When you have your eyes firmly focused on the minimum viable audience, you will double down on all the changes you seek to make. Your quality, your story and your impact will all get better.

And then, ironically enough, the word will spread.

 

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