You’ve heard it said a million times that “you can’t be all things to all people.” Yet, still, you try. And you’re not alone. The vast majority of companies gear their marketing efforts to ensuring that absolutely NOBODY is left out. But it’s critical to understand that there are people you absolutely can and should leave out.
In a recent post, marketing guru, Seth Godin presented this idea quite well. We’re big believers here at 30dps in crafting your various messages to appeal to specific target personas. But even when a precisely defined group is presented with the perfect pitch or piece of content, a fraction of them just won’t get it—the power of your products or services, the value of your first-rate customer support, the “cool factor” of your corporate culture—whatever “it” is. And THAT’S OK!
You see, expending the often substantial effort needed to guarantee that the outliers understand you is counterproductive in a number of ways:
- You Alienate Your Best Potential Buyers — The people who “get it” within the first few sentences of your product description tend to get irritated when the information continues ad nauseam. However, they feel compelled to read it lest they miss some key detail. Force them to do this, and some of them will actually bail out in search of a company that places a higher value on brevity.
- You Insult Your Prospects’ Intelligence — A corollary to the above; people want [and expect] you to provide the information they need to fully understand your offering. But when your content goes on to [in effect] say, “Are you sure you understand? Really sure?! UNEQUIVOCALLY SURE??!!” Well, you may begin to rub them the wrong way.
- You Pull Resources From Other Tasks — Forgive the somewhat coarse phrase, but all the time you spend idiot-proofing your communications is time taken away from other, more productive tasks. This includes the mental effort of trying to think of every possible way someone could misinterpret what you’re saying. That effort is much better spent on coming up with ever more creative and engaging ways to reach your audience.
- You Probably Won’t Win Their Business Anyway — The reality is that the people who don’t get your messaging in its more abbreviated and more appealing form may not even get it when you add five more explanatory paragraphs.
And, yes, as Seth points out, the 2% can trash you on social media for not catering to their information needs, but you should take comfort in the fact that the 98% understand who the 2% are and why they lash out. They read the vicious posts, chuckle, and continue on to your website to request more information or make a purchase.
So, speak freely! If your materials resonate with the average reader, you’re in great shape. Best to let the outliers move on to do business with other companies. They tend to be very difficult to support anyway! We’re experts at marketing to the 98% and eager to learn more about your projects.