by Tony Vidler
Whenever we talk about target marketing, or getting focused on a specific ideal client profile, people seem to think it becomes an “either/or” choice. One has to be focussed on the ideal clients only and ignore everyone else, or alternatively, you have to be focussed on dealing with as many potential clients as possible(whether they are ideal or not) and give up on the idea of the “ideal”.
For best results you want at least 2, if not 3, target market clients.
At the very least you will have identified an “ideal client” – this is the type of client that your really like and want to work with, and where you can deliver exceptional value. Positioning for them and attracting them will be perhaps two thirds of your marketing effort. The ideal client profile is the one that all centre of influence and referral generation marketing activity is focussed upon. It is also the area where specific tactics (e.g. building a network and specialist position using Linkedin) pays the highest dividends.
Then there is the “good client”. For most of us there is a broader market of clients who are fine to work with, and we can deliver great value, and the relationship will be mutually profitable. They just aren’t “ideal” – often because they do not present the future growth opportunities of specific technical advice challenges a professional loves working with.
But they are good clients nonetheless.
Often these broader-market-segment are producing the bread & butter income, and they are relatively easy to attract in volume and relatively easy to service. They are good clients, and they are good for your business. They are worth spending a good third of the marketing effort and resources on.
A possible third segment is a “niche”. Pursuing a niche market isn’t necessarily driven by profitability, or because the clients are ideal. It is often just about pursuing an opportunity – like a miner following the seam of gold there may not be an intent to dig in that particular direction, but while it is worthwhile and we are finding gold we will keep digging. Rarely does this type of client segment come about from applied marketing effort or dollars though. It is usually opportunity-driven, and each client tends to lead to other opportunities within that same niche.
There are in reality 2 market segments – or types of clients your should be spending marketing effort and resources on: your ideal targets, and those who are good potential clients. That’s where the money and attention gets directed….but if a rich seam of gold appears in a niche, then pursue that too, just don’t spend money looking for it.
Other posts on positioning for target markets might also be of interest::0