Brand | Marketing | Research

Are you chasing the wrong clients?

Somethings just won't go

Bad marketing ‘advice’ from online ‘gurus’, ‘ninjas’ and ‘mavens’ might see you chasing clients that are a terrible fit for your business. A better bet is to invest in research.

We’ve all done it! At the first signs of a simple illness, we’ve gone to ‘Doctor Google for a diagnosis. 

And what happens? A simple search for a sore throat can quickly descend into an unintentional marathon of medical misinformation, with a detour through bizarre ear wax removal videos and tear-jerking dog reunions. 

This labyrinth of information and misinformation usually leads to nothing worse than a panic attack followed by a moment of clarity and a doctor’s appointment. But making the same mistake with marketing advice can lead to you chasing clients without a need, desire or budget for your services – a great big waste of time, resources and money. 

How can this happen?

The Misleading Waters of Online Marketing Wisdom

Consider the example of LinkedIn, an ocean of professional networking teeming with an abundance of dubious advice that’s often as misguided as it is plentiful. 

Marketing, a crucial aspect of business strategy, is no exception to this influx of questionable guidance – generic advice cooked up by people more interested in metrics that flatter instead of relative information and facts that matter.

One popular trend in online marketing advice’s murky waters is the ‘Ideal Customer Profile’ (ICP) – often nothing more than a loose collection of longed-for qualities and traits that is as useless as it is wrong. 

Proponents of this idea suggest a simplistic approach: think of your ideal clients and jot down their most appealing attributes. All you need to do next is align your service offer or product with these imagined needs, conveniently bypassing any rigorous market analysis or understanding that research and segmentation would provide.

There’s no need for attitudinal or behavioural analysis, firmographics or demographics. Making up a profile means you avoid the problematic, messy stuff that gets in the way of the sale.

Imagine away. What you’ll end up with is a homogenised and perfect customer. One that loves you too and never does anything to surprise you. Because clients like that are what we all want, right? Indeed, there are bundles of potential clients just waiting to buy your service or product. 

Maybe they exist in ‘Narnia’, but they’re nearly non-existent in the real world, and you’ll spend lots of time, energy and money trying to attract an audience that’s not suited to the service you’re selling.

A more effective and pragmatic approach would be to begin with an empty space, free of assumptions or wishful thinking. Then, fill it with customer research from which you can create meaningful segments that outline needs, attitudes, spending power and relative segment sizes. From this, you’ll be able to make clear decisions on who to target, how to reach them and what to say.

Or, you can carry on trying to fit a giraffe into a phone box. Who knows?

We do. Get in touch.

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