In marketing, one size does not fit all. One size fits none. Many brands try to be all things to all people. General Mills CMO Mark Addicks once commented that too many brands were targeted to “women, ages 25-49, with a pulse”.
It can be tempting to appeal to everyone. I’ve been in brand discussions where target markets were identified by writing all possible prospects on the board, as if we were cold-calling consumers rather than trying to connect with them. Yet, that broad targeting approach can lead to a split personality that appeals to no one.
A target market is not the same as anyone who could conceivably buy a product. It’s not a catch-all classification. A target market is deliberately exclusive. That’s what gives it teeth. It is what compels consumers to identify with your brand. It is what gives you insight to speak to them so clearly.
Athletic brand lululemon understands their target market. Only with a vivid picture could they write a manifesto so relevant that their consumers would covet bags printed with it. Women wear these bags as badges because lululemon speaks to them so clearly.
My favorite brands pass the lululemon test. They know their target so well that consumers would wear their brand manifesto as a badge.
(Marketoonist Monday: I’m giving away a signed print of this week’s cartoon. Just share an insightful comment to this week’s post. I’ll pick one comment at 5:00 PST on Monday. Thanks!)