Why Everything to Everyone Doesn’t Work
I came across two great articles the other day that highlight the failure of “Everything to Everyone” quite effectively. One came from Seth Godin about working on changing the people that matter and the other was from Charlie Kindel about Apple’s tight focus on their customer.
Seth’s main point was that we’ve become fractured in so many ways and marketing is increasingly becoming targeted. Companies now question the importance of running mass market ads when they can more effectively target their appeal to those potential customers predisposed to buy what they sell (or are already customers). The Super Bowl ad is now a branding device, not a sales device. Don’t you feel better about Jeep as a company after their “Welcome Home” ads about our returning veterans?
Charlie’s take away was that nobody in tech does a better job targeting individual consumers (not businesses) than Apple does and this very fact explains their success. Everything they do is organized around the principle of delighting their customers.
Knowing who your customer is, what your customer wants and delivering it is perhaps the most fundamental rule for success in business, but so often large companies forget this as they feel to need to compete in areas that not anywhere near their core just to “be in the _____ space.”
Small companies, by necessity, can’t be everything to everyone. They have no choice but to focus on their niche market. As Seth maintains, when it comes to advertising and marketing decisions this focus must always be top of mind. Does my customer really read the paper or listen to radio? Do they spend time online? Are they fans of anything in particular? Where should I target my limited marketing funds? Does it make more sense to catch them when they’re searching online for something related to my business or to be in print in the yellow pages?
The more you know about your customers (and potential customers) the easier these decisions become. Are you taking the time to get to know them and if so, how?
To all my many friends who I got to know through CMC I can’t wait to reconnect at the Digital Valley Entrepeneurs gathering this Thursday, December 6th at 6:00pm bb’s kitchen in downtown Aspen. Anyone interested in digital media is welcome to join us!
(ASPEN, COLORADO)—A group of entrepreneurs has come together in the Roaring Fork Valley on the Western Slope of Colorado with the intention of branding and building their businesses in a paradisiacal place that is being transformed by digital talent.
The first meeting of The Digital Valley Entrepreneurs group (TheDigitalValley.org)—scheduled for Thursday December 6, 2012, at 6 PM, at bb’s kitchen restaurant at 525 Cooper Avenue in Aspen—is free and open to all. The founders of The Digital Valley Entrepreneurs first met here in a workshop given at The Isaacson School for New Media at Colorado Mountain College.
“The amount of talent in the Roaring Fork Valley is remarkable,” said Janine Cuthbertson, chief executive officer of Moms for Moms Communities, an organization based in Carbondale, Colorado, that now boasts a baker’s dozen of online communities for mothers around the country. “We have great graphic designers, artists, writers, photographers, filmmakers, social media experts, and executives. But before The Digital Valley Entrepreneurs came together there was no place for the kind of synergies you see in places like Palo Alto and Boulder.”
The Digital Valley Entrepreneurs intends to meet monthly and to organize a directory of digital talent in the Roaring Fork Valley. A stated goal of the group is to keep creative work within The Digital Valley, rather than see it contracted out to places as distant as South Carolina or beyond.
“The workshops showed that great, creative people come to the valley ready to do awesome things given the new kind of opportunities that come with all things digital,” said Joni Keefe, a successful entrepreneur who sold a Florida landscaping business before moving to the Roaring Fork Valley and enrolling in The Isaacson School. “We are all confident we can put The Digital Valley on the map.”
Wise Use of Time
When we delve into some technologies, we often are faced with creating accounts, building and maintaining hands-on knowledge, and then maintaining the service. Inevitably, things go wrong, and then we have to clean up the mess. When too many things go wrong and need attending to, we’re pulled away from doing something more fundamental and valuable, whatever that may be. Our time is frittered away.
I like this quote which was part of a post by John Martellaro about Apple and other technology companies constantly coming up with new ways to dazzle us with things which may not really be essential. It seems to strike at the heart of many people’s reluctance to engage in social media. What if it’s all a “big bag of hurt”, to quote Steve Jobs’ take on Blu-Ray high definition discs?
Ultimately the answer for businesses large and small depends upon their needs. As a business, do you have all the customers you can handle? Do they value your business and your working relationship enough to become repeat customers? Are you making the most of your interactions with them? Does word of mouth drive your business and are you satisfied with how that’s going?
If the answer is no or not yet to any of the above, then exploring social media and working with someone in the field to make the process simple and effective will change things for the better. One thing you will find is the like most things, the more you put into it the more you get out of it. For some businesses like this Milwaukee pub, the immediate impact is astonishing.
More and more people are relying on social media content to guide their decisions. One out of every seven people on the planet is using Facebook and there is a rapidly growing trend of people accessing social media on demand from a device they keep in their pocket all day long. The overall growth statistics are remarkable. One thing’s for sure, this is not is not a fad and it’s not going away. You tell me, is it worth the time to get over the technological hurdle and engage these customers?