Every business that’s launching or trying to grow has to decide who best to target as a customer. Why target? Because without a strategically defined specific target, businesses won’t know who to market to, who to hang out with, who to invest in, whose pain to solve and whose language to speak when marketing to them. So you can image that it’s a pretty bad thing to have the wrong target. Here are some of the mistakes small businesses make in picking a target.

Not Choosing Self-Gathering Groups

Humans only self-gather by two ways in groups: one through industry associations and the other through interest groups (such as yoga, foodies, divorcing women etc.). If you choose a target group based on anything else including age, sex, geography or psychographics, you’ll have a hard time finding lots of them in one room at a time. And that will make your marketing very difficult.


Spaghetti-on-the-wall targeting or falling into a niche are very common among small businesses because they simply don’t know what they don’t know. Targeting is a scientific and strategic decision for a business. Guessing at it can be disastrous and allow a business to go broke.

Following Trends

When a contractor friend was advised to target the growing elderly market who wanted to stay in their homes by renovating it, it was a bad targeting mistake because that group couldn’t afford his rates. Your targeting should be based on a lot more than current trends or fads. The process we use for targeting looks at everything from revenue potential to access to decision makers. Trends come and go, strategy never lies.

Allowing SEO to do the Picking

When an organizing company who was a client decided to do their marketing based on an SEO consultant’s help, they picked targeting every neighbourhood with Closet organizing. When we did the strategic work and the research, we found that targeting high net worth neighbourhoods in the city with Garage organizing was more competitively defensible as well as profitable. Don’t let SEO pick your targets.

How Do You Pick?

The first step is to score a list of industries or interest groups for revenue potential, access to decision makers and fit for you personally in terms of skillset, experience and background. Then talk to 5 people of the winning top 3 scoring target groups to validate your assumptions. Ask them what is the biggest problem you can solve and if they would pay for your fees.

Once you do the due diligence to research the market and find the proper group of target individuals who need you the most, then you can confidently build a successful marketing plan around them.

Want to reposition your messaging to grow your leads? Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, watch my Podcast on YouTube or connect with me on LinkedIn –and let’s talk.

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