Planning, Startups, Stories


Tim Berry on business planning, starting and growing your business, and having a life in the meantime.

Strategy Step 2: Market Focus 0

Strategy step one was understanding identity. Step two is market focus, but always with the realization that you think these two through together, not one by one. Your identity is about uniqueness, strengths, and weaknesses. That influences your choice of target market. And your market influences your identity. They mix together.

Most of us make the mistake of aiming too broadly. Think of the Bill Cosby quote: “the secret to failure is trying to please everybody.” If we were a restaurant, we’d be trying to offer the best food at the lowest prices with the best service and a drive-through as well. Which is disastrous. Most successful restaurants focus narrowly. They want the foodies who pay high prices, or the quickies who want fast and cheap; but never both.

Really strategic target marketing is like sculpture. You start with the big block and then knock the pieces off of it. Be able to define who isn’t your target market.

Try to imagine in detail your absolute ideal buyer. Experts call this working with a persona. Give her age, family, education, job, commuting habits. Know what kind of car he drives, what websites he likes, and what he watches on TV. Know her politics. Know what he reads. The more you know the one idea, the better to manage your market message and media.

Make sure you understand this person’s underlying buying decision. Understand the real needs. With restaurants, for example, the needs and wants involved in an expensive low-lighting romantic meal for two are very different from those involved in a quick cheap drive-through hamburger happy meal. Free yourself of features, and think of benefits. Tell yourself the story of you this person finds your business, what he is looking for, and why that matters to her.

(Image: istockphoto.com/ with my modifications)