Some customers just aren’t that into you—and that’s fine

You’ve been working to build your business. Part of that has been building your brand. But no matter what you do, it seems like you can’t find a branding style that will appeal to all of your potential customers. You start out with a more traditional and sophisticated style, but that makes you seem fussy to edgier demographics. When you pivot to try on a fun and youthful style, your older clients become less interested. 

Now your branding is a hodge-podge. It offends no one, but it also appeals strongly to no one. Your brand, after all this compromise? Blasé.

What’s a business owner to do?

There is a way forward: Let go of 20% of your potential clients   

I know. That just sounds wrong. But hear us out. 

You know that old adage, you can’t please all the people all of the time? According the the 20-60-20 rule, it’s true. It’s simply not possible to get everyone under your umbrella. 

This rule was developed in management theory in order to talk about employee compliance, but according to a 2015 research paper by a team of mathematicians from the University of Warsaw, can also be used to analyze political electorates, pop star fan bases, group dynamics, and financial market patterns. We at Markit Rockit propose using the 20-60-20 rule to better understand your potential consumer base.

Here’s how the 20-60-20 rule works in marketing: Of a given group, 20% of people will react enthusiastically to your message;  20% will react negatively (with little that can sway them); and 60% will be undecided, or “workable.” 

The thing is, while you might want everyone on board, 20% of your potential customer base will likely be uninterested, no matter what you do. Try to please this “cold” 20%, and you risk losing out on the other 80% of customers. Trying to appeal to everyone will result in a lackluster campaign. 

Target your branding strategy to maximize results

So, who do you focus on first?

Once you have identified who you are not targeting, you can better focus on the 20% of potential customers who will fall immediately in love with your brand, as well as the biggest segment, the 60% that can be convinced.

At Markit Rockit, we talk to lots of clients who have become frustrated trying to work out a secret formula that will attract all potential customers to their business, whether by tweaking their product or their brand. But we advise you to pick an approach—one that you, yourself, love; one that gets you abundant business—and really lean in. (In fact, we try to practice this ourselves. Learn more about how Markit Rockit founder Jenny Stern identified her niche in our blog post Find a Niche to Improve Your ROI.)

For instance, say you are trying to market a line of back-to-the-earth body products. Your branding will emphasize their simplicity, their organic ingredients, your environmental commitments, and embracing natural beauty. But your brand cannot, and should not, include information about, say, cutting-edge nanotechnology designed for anti-aging. That’s just not what your company is about. Let go of the high-tech lotion set, and lean in to your earthy-brand identity.

This picking and choosing works because you don’t need every lotion user on board to run a successful business. You don’t want to make your strategy so narrow that you have no room for growth, of course. But the more targeted you can be at first, the stronger your appeal to the specific segment you are targeting.

Create avatars to figure out your brand’s own 20-60-20 formula

Creating avatars (also called personas) is a powerful marketing tool used by branding professionals, UX researchers, website content strategists, and others in our field. Avatars are imaginary figures based on the characteristics you have identified as your most likely customers. Using avatars can help you imagine what your customers’ goals and drives are, as well as what might hold them back from using your services and products. Avatars can be used to understand individuals from across your loyal 20% and workable 60% of customers.

We advise creating at least three target avatars at the beginning of a branding design process, and returning to them as needed to help focus and guide your marketing campaign. These avatars should be completed with a description of their occupations, likes and dislikes, family identity, age, and any other characteristics relevant to your company’s products or services. 

Using integrated marketing solutions, we are here to help you develop a brand that pops! Set up an appointment with Markit Rockit today.

This blog was written by the talented blogger, ghost writer, and copyeditor Sophie Strosberg at Sirius Prose Editing & Consulting.

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