Who Is Your Market And Why Are They Different?

" My customers are different. My market is different. That won't work in my market!"

Listen closely while I show why this is absolutely wrong.

I have a friend who tells me constantly " That idea will work fine in your area. But my market is different. My customers won't go for that."

When he says " My market" he thinks he means everyone in his area.

That's not his market. His market is only the people that are attracted to his store by his advertising and marketing.

These are the only people he is talking to. These are the only people that are coming to his store. His " Market" is really only a very small percentage of the population in his area.

In my town there is a man with a retail store. He gets mad at customers easily and is generally not happy talking to customers (He is really a good person. He knows I write about him. I just agreed not to use his real name or business name). He keeps telling me that this market is ruined, nobody is buying, and the economy is terrible.

But he's less than a quarter of a mile from me.

His " Market" is simply the people that he can attract, and no more.

Your market is the people you attract.

You can expand your market, upgrade your market, even switch markets...without moving from your present location.

By changing the person you attract, you change your market.

Are your customers cheap? Liars?

More trouble than they are worth?

Well...what are you doing to attract that kind of customer?

In every area there are price shoppers, people who return everything they buy, cheaters, people who buy based on quality, brand loyal people, Consumer Report disciples, and a surprising number of nice..fun to deal with...higher end buyers.

You attract some of those people to your business. And here's a reality; If you advertise primarily low prices, you will only attract the low price shopper. You know, the people that will drive five miles to return a part for a refund because they found it for $4.00 less at Target. Those people.

My friend, the retail guy, genuinely has the lowest prices in several counties. But because of the way he advertises and his attitude when talking to customers, the only people that will shop with him are the " Die Hard Low Price Shoppers" . His ads reflect his " lowest price" appeal.

He tells me that almost every call he gets starts with " What's your cheapest price?" . I know it's true.

Why? Because he attracts that kind of buyer. Sound like fun?

The solution is to attract the higher end buyer. The buyer who bases their decisions more on trusting you, and following your advice than the fact that you have low prices.

We don't advertise to anyone but higher quality buyers. That doesn't mean we won't sell to anyone. We don't discriminate. I'll take money from anyone. But I don't want to invest money in marketing that attracts a less profitable customer.

Do you?

I have heard over & over again that " We're losing our piece of the pie"

Cute metaphor. But what they may ignore is that the pie is almost infinitely big and we determine the size of our bite.

Claude Whitacre is the author of the book The Unfair Advantage Small Business Advertising Manual. Claude speaks on small business advertising and retail marketing.

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