Dr. Lisa Lang has focused her career on applying the Theory of Constraints to marketing. She occasionally gives a seminar on the topic of the five biggest mistakes that people make in marketing. You can find a video of the seminar here and here.
Lang explains that “marketing is connecting with your target market and showing them you have the product or service that solves their problem or delivers better outcomes, explaining it to them where they can be found and helping them to buy it.”
The biggest marketing mistakes that people make are:
- We don’t select a specific, target market
- We fail to understand that we are selling solutions to problems, not products with features
- We do little or nothing to generate leads
- We use push marketing to audiences that are not ready to receive our message
- We do little to measure the right things, or worse we measure nothing at all
Of the five, the biggest and the most difficult for us to overcome is the first, not selecting a target market. No one wants to pick a market. We are afraid we’ll miss out on some business elsewhere.
Dr. Lang explains that your target market is “the people you want to sell to along in combination with the products or services you sell.” Your target market is composed of people with specific needs and the specific stuff they can use to solve a problem. Knowing what your market really wants and who they really are is critical to a successful business.
Many sellers are reluctant to narrow their focus to a group of people with very specific needs. They simply don’t want to limit themselves.
To see why it’s so important to focus on a very specific market, Dr. Lang suggests we look at it from the customer’s point of view.
Let’s say you are a health expert. Many people have health issues, and you could probably help a lot of them. But people usually have a specific health issue they want to solve, and they want to find someone who specializes in their issue.
So if you presented yourself as a weight loss expert, well, more people would be interested. If you narrowed your focus further and communicated your ability to help people reduce the size of their belly, even more would resonate with your message. And if you narrowed your focus even further to belly loss for 45-year-old men, you would get the attention of many of these men.
By narrowing your focus, you accomplish three important goals:
- Even though you are focusing on a smaller market, you will see a response from a higher number of people who resonate with your specific message for a specific problem.
- You will likely experience very little competition in this narrow market and will be able to own a significant share of the market.
- The more you serve and understand the needs of this narrow market, the more powerful you will become as the source of solutions for this specific set of problems. When you hand out literature or when people go to your website, you will have described their problem so well, better than they could have.
Once you have decided to focus more carefully on a specific target market, how do you go about accomplishing this goal? If you aren’t sure how to move forward, Dr. Lang offers some questions to ask that will help you make this business decision:
- Where do you make the most revenue for the least amount of your capacity?
- What do your customers complement you on? (What do they know you for?)
- What part of your business do you have the most expertise in?
- What’s the group of people who are most likely to benefit from what you have to offer (and are willing to pay for it)?
- Which target market will be receptive to a truly compelling offer?
Remember, if you narrow your focus to a specific market, you will see a larger number of people respond to your offer, you will experience less competition in your specialty, you will become the recognized authority on the specific problem that your customers want to solve.