December 24, 2019

Generic BS

Sent by Jonathan Stark on December 26th, 2019

Over the holidays, I had a cocktail party conversation with someone who runs his own financial planning business. He was lamenting the ineffectiveness of a bunch of money he had spent with a marketing consultant on a LinkedIn campaign.

I was somewhat surprised by this because LinkedIn is a hotbed of activity for many industries at the moment, so I was curious to learn more.

I said, “Huh, that’s interesting… who are you trying to reach on LinkedIn?”

He replied, “Anyone except financial planners.”

Mystery solved.

“Anyone except financial planners” is thousands (maybe tens of thousands?) of vertical markets. He might as well have said, “We’re targeting everyone”.

He went on to say that he was frustrated by the content that the consultant was having him create because it amounted to “generic BS” (his words, not mine).

This gave me the leverage I needed to help. Our conversation from there went something like this:

Me: “Why would you share generic BS with potential clients? Is that the first impression you want to make?”

Him: “No, I hate it. But we don’t know what else to do because we don’t know who we’re writing for.”

Me: “So… why not pick someone to write for and share something that would be genuinely useful with them?”

Him: “Yeah, but who?”

Me: “I know you can help anyone but, who are your ideal clients? The ones who you are great at helping?”

Him: “Now that you mention it, we have had lots of success helping mechanical engineers…”


At that point, the conversation abruptly halted. He got a faraway look on his face and more-or-less disappeared into a haze of private brainstorming.

I don’t know if targeting this particular vertical on LinkedIn will work for him, but I’m positive that it’ll be better than targeting everyone (i.e., no one).

If nothing else, there will be one less person sharing generic BS online.