One of the most frustrating moments when working with businesses and brands is when you ask them to specifically state who is in its target market.
"Everyone will want what we offer."
One thing, when you hear that, is clear: the people believe in what they are doing. The passion is in the right place, but it is fogging up their logical faculties.
One of the best things to learn in marketing and advertising is that everyone is not going to love and use your good or service. It's just not going to happen. No matter how hard you try.
But once that realization washes over, now the real work can begin.
Several "hot" companies are facing that now. Currently, Facebook has been having a lot of people attracting and retaining this generation's teenagers. Many thought that Facebook may be on the decline.
Or on second thought, it just started to re-focus on the huge audience it already has accumulated. This can be a very good thing for Facebook; with its younger audience not growing as much, it can attract advertisers with confident data that supports them to shell out money and creative on Facebook. We know that in September it'll be our 10th year anniversary being on Facebook. Many of our friends will be the same. Facebook can concentrate now on figuring out all the markets on its system and create a dynamite package for advertisers. Facebook can be excited about that.
When brands don't target, or worry about growing constantly without paying attention to the customers they already have, they can get into some easily avoidable issues.
But when brands focus on a specific group of people, and aim to fulfill all their needs and wants, they can sustain a happier, healthier growth model. Plus, the brand would be focusing on its strengths, instead of trying to attract everyone, and expose any weaknesses it may have.
Will this shrinking and re-focus mentality be the next big trend in 2014? It's possible. And that's not a bad thing.
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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