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How To Target Your Market And Win Everytime

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WE always talk about targeting the right people for your product, but just how valuable is it to know your audience?

Here’s a quick case study of a deodorant that became a top seller through nothing more than pinpoint targeting of its customers:

In Brandwashed: Tricks Companies use to Manipulate Our Minds and Persuade Us to Buy, we learn how Axe Deodorant took over their market through targeting.

Unilever executive David Cousino tells us that they first analyzed the potential male deodorant market by breaking men down into six profiles:

  • The Predator – Takes advantage of drunk girls, and lies about his job and where he lives
  • Natural Talent – Athletic, smart, and confident. Doesn’t need to lie to score
  • Marriage Material – Humble and respectful, he’s the sort of guy a girl wants to bring home to mum and dad
  • The Friend – He always hits that glass ceiling
  • The Insecure Novice – He has absolutely no clue what he’s doing, and things get awkward fast – the geeks and nerds
  • The Enthusiastic Novice – He has absolutely no clue what he’s doing, but he’s outgoing and tries his best anyway

BASED on these six profiles, they chose to target the ‘Insecure Novice,’ since these are the guys who need the most help in getting women.

And also, this is the target market that could most easily be persuaded into buying a product – ANY product – that could potentially help them get over their nerdiness and get the woman. Or women. Lots of women.

The next step was to create the ads. Research showed that the ultimate male fantasy isn’t to have just one woman at a time – it’s to be irresistible to several sexy women at once. (Seriously, did they really need research to tell them this?)

That’s why the TV ads proclaim that if you use Axe Deodorant, you will get the chicks. ALL the chicks.

The result? Axe came out of nowhere to be the #1 male antiperspirant brand.

Notice that they didn’t set out to target EVERY man.  They targeted ONE demographic – men in their 20’s and 30’s who were nerdy and had trouble getting women.

But in the process, they achieved a great deal of crossover into the other groups as well.

This is an added benefit of targeting that many don’t realize. They believe that in order to get the biggest share of the market, they need to target everyone.

But when you target everyone, you tend to attract almost no one. Paradoxically, when you target one specific group, you tend to attract customers from all the other groups as well.

Sidenote #1 – Axe’s marketing worked almost too well. High school kids were completely dousing themselves in Axe, thinking they would get every girl in class to fall all over them.

Instead, schools complained of kids reeking of the cologne-like smell.

How could Axe have fixed this? Perhaps by cautioning its users that because of the power of Axe, a normal amount was actually more effective than going full coverage.

Instead, Axe backpedaled a bit from their original campaign, and sales declined.

Which is another lesson – when you find a target market that works for your product – or better still, you target your product to the right market – don’t change what’s working.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Make a list of potential target markets for your next product
  • From that list, choose the market – or demographic – you want to target
  • Create a profile of ONE person in that market – this is your ideal customer
  • Tailor your product and your message to that one person
  • Dance around your office as you see the sales come flooding in

Stop targeting everyone and start targeting your ideal customer. Once you do, it will become clear how you should market, where you’ll find your customers, and how to get them on board.

And yes, your sales will almost certainly increase.

Sidenote #2 – Profit By Taking A Stand

Common advice and perhaps even common sense tells you to not take a stand on any issue, for fear of alienating a certain percentage of your customer base.

But this could be bad advice. A recent study found that people want brands to take a stand on leading social and political issues, including immigration, human rights and race relations.

No matter what stand you take, though, you will likely alienate somebody. For example, if you believe all people are created equal and have the same rights (or should have the same rights) then there are certain white-hooded folk in the US’s deep south who won’t like you. Too bad.

The best way to build a strong tribe that follows you and buys your stuff is always going to be to take a stand and have an opinion, and that goes for social issues and politics, too.

Sidenote #3 – Horrible Marketing? Or Excellent Targeting?

As I often do, I did a Google search for “How to increase sales conversion rate”. I’m always looking for new ways to increase conversions, and I hope you are, too.

As you know, if you can get more of your current traffic to convert, you then make more money with the exact same traffic.

But that’s somewhat off topic. What I really want to tell you is that when I did that search, one of the paid ads that came up said the following:

“Increase Conversion Rates – 3K/Month Minimum Investment”


My first reaction upon seeing this was that these people must be off their rocker. Who’s going to click on that ad when they know up front they need to invest $3,000 per month to get results?

But the answer was obvious – people who can AFFORD to pay $3,000 a month to increase their conversions, that’s who.

This is an excellent example of targeting the exact people you want to reach. This company doesn’t want to waste time with anyone who isn’t going to make a major monthly spend, and they tell you that up front.

They actually want to discourage people from clicking their ad, so they can focus on getting the really big fish.

And if the little fish don’t click the ad, so much the better, since it’s money wasted on their Adwords campaign when people who can’t afford their services click their ad.

Bottom line: Don’t be afraid to use filters in the very beginning of your sales funnel to weed out poor candidates for your product.

You’ll save time and money, while being able to focus all your resources on the people and businesses who are a good fit for what you have to offer.


Impellium is an online media company focussed on personal and business growth strategies for home business owners and lifestyle entrepreneurs.

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