Don’t abstract your target market

Sent by Jonathan Stark on May 8th, 2018

When folks first start working on their LFPS (i.e., “Laser-Focused Positioning Statement”) they tend to want to hedge their bets by keeping it pretty abstract.

One of the problems with this abstraction is that it becomes “me focused” instead of “you focused” - In other words, it’s you talking about your target market in terms that make sense to you, but in a way that your clients would never ever describe themselves.

This means that people in your target market might not recognize that they are in your target market because the words you use to describe them are not the words that they use to describe themselves.

An example of this came up today in my group coaching Slack room. I thought it might help you to see the transcript (shared with permission, names changed, and my apologies for the informal grammar and capitalization):


Alice

Hey @jonathanstark, been thinking and re-watching your answer from the group coaching and I am looking to add more meat to my positioning statement. If you got a moment, could you tell me if I am going in the right direction with this? Just rough sketchin’ this.

Original - Help salesforce powered businesses be more efficient

New - Help B2B product-based businesses become more data-driven to grow their bottom line

Jonathan

@alice It’s getting better but it still strikes me as very “me focused” instead of being “you focused”. what is the job title of your ideal buyer?

Alice

based on current clients, they are CEOs

Jonathan

gimme the first name of one of them

Alice

Bob

Jonathan

great. If met Bob at a bbq and asked him what he did, what would he say?

Alice

Manufactures Food Service Equipment for Fast Food Chains

Jonathan

okay, so here’s a “you focused” version of your positioning statement:

“I’m a Salesforce consultant who helps CEOs of food service equipment manufacturers grow their bottom line.”

Alice

I see I see, it’s been challenging for me, a lot of what I do for clients is collect data / analytics then build software solutions to automate their processes

Not even sure if Salesforce is the way to go, it’s something i’m toying with

Jonathan

nod nod

alternate:

“I’m a process automation consultant who helps CEOs of food service equipment manufacturers grow their bottom line.”

or

“I’m a software consultant who helps CEOs of food service equipment manufacturers automate their processes.”

or even shorter:

“I help CEOs of food service equipment manufacturers automate their processes.”

Alice

I see, this helps a ton! It is very specific on who I am talking to and what I am doing for them. I am questionable on food service manufacturers, i understand that it’s very specific on the industry and reaching out to these buyers might not be ideal for me. the CEOs are not very tech-savvy, and reaching out to them through online strategies aren’t as effective as networking at trade shows and being recommended

Jonathan

understood

here’s a suggestion:

focus your website on your horizontal and the general benefits of automation, but then drive a specific type of traffic to the site with other marketing activity like networking at trade shows

so, your website would still be fairly general, but your direct outreach could be highly customized

Alice

Yes, i like this a lot! Could even create landing pages specific to the Food Service industry

Jonathan

absolutely, although that starts to get a little tricky

Alice

oh?

Jonathan

depends on how traffic would land on those pages, but if they’re hidden, it’s fine

Alice

was thinking about a vanity url on business card specific to the industry to landing page which is hidden

Jonathan

that would be good. as long as they can’t easily browse around and see that you target five other verticals. if they can see that your “targeting” is actually fake, it pops the illusion

Alice

I see. As long as the website is generic so if they go to that domain, it should be fine, right?

Jonathan

yes, that’s a fine start. ideally, you’ll end up going deep into a vertical and the targeting becomes real, but as a transition stage it’s a good step

Alice

thanks! this was very very helpful

Jonathan

:thumbsup:

Alice

I can experiment with multiple industries and see what sticks the best

Jonathan

nod nod. note that that will require a lot of legwork but if that sounds good to you, then great - e.g., creating multiple landing pages, showing up at multiple networking events, hanging out in multiple online watering holes, etc... and in the meantime, things like blogging and social media will need to stay industry agnostic

Alice

yeah, I think I just need to do it, been stuck on positioning for a long time and it has never been clear

Jonathan

Roger that. That’s why I suggest people just pick one they love

Alice

Gotcha

Jonathan

They never take my advice but that hasn’t stopped me yet :slightlysmilingface:

Alice

haha, can’t thank ya enough, appreciate it!

Jonathan

YW!


Would you like to gain access to my group coaching Slack and our live video Q&A sessions every other week? We’d love to have you. You can get all the details here: https://jonathanstark.com/group

Yours,

—J


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