Call Us: (866) 949-6868

Are you Targeting an Imaginary Customer?

audience-finderImprove your Sales by Knowing your Audience 

Whether you are selling a product, a service, a book, or simply trying to get your voice heard, the next time you make your message, keep your target audience in mind.

Many people sell to the wrong audience.  A common mistake among entrepreneurs, authors, and thought leaders is that they imagine themselves as their ideal customer.  They create copy that appeals to their personal demographic; They reach out to the wrong groups on social media; They speak to media outlets as if they are already on the same page.

While you may be the inspiration for the book / product / service, it is important to remember…you are not your ideal audience. 

You may be very close…your goal may even be to help people who are like you or are in a situation similar to something you experienced. Keep in mind…you want someone who will actually buy your product, not an imaginary customer that you assume will be interested.


Finding the best demographic is often accomplished through trial and error.

It is not uncommon for a target audience to completely change part way through a business’s life cycle.

Here are two famous examples of brands encountering success among a completely unexpected market segment:

1. Timberland

timbs-2Timberland’s famous yellow boots were originally made for rural New England construction workers but instead, the hip hop community fell in love with them. They got huge amounts of publicity after they appeared in Vibe Magazine and rappers like Tupac and Biggie began wearing them.
This new urban audience was drastically different from the audience Timberland originally targeted.
When asked about this shift, Timberland’s then CEO, Jeffrey Swartz responded negatively, trying to distance himself and the company from this new audience.  He is quoted in the New York Times as saying “If you want to buy us and you are not our target customer, we don’t have a point of distribution that speaks to your lifestyle.”
Today Timberland’s outlook is a bit different.  They have now embraced the hip hop crowd as their target audience and they are profiting because of it.
Information (source)

2. Pabst Blue Ribbon

pbr-2Pabst Blue Ribbon is a 170 year old beer company founded by German immigrants in Milwaukee.  At first, the beer was hugely popular with the general public.  It won awards (literally first place blue ribbons) at beer competitions and was branded as an “All American” beer for the people.

Sales declined through the 1980s but in the 2010s PBR unexpectedly gained popularity with a new crowd.

While the beer was originally intended for mainstream consumers, PBR became the beer of choice for millennial hipsters in Portland, Oregon. This counterculture audience was a far cry from the red neck Pabst drinkers Johnny Russel sang about in the 1970s but PBR quickly adapted to this new audience.  They began supporting the interests of their new consumer base with grassroots marketing campaigns and through sponsoring live music events.

Information (source)


Moral of the Story:

Your audience should be the people who BUY your product not the people who you WANT to buy your product.  Consumers are the ultimate decision makers.  It is very important to do research to find the right audience because many brands find popularity in places they didn’t know existed!

Need help finding your target audience?