Is everybody happy? Does it really matter?

I’ve forgotten lots of stuff from my youth.  But one lesson that stuck with me came from my guitar instructor.  Although a nice guy for sure, I hadn’t thought of him as much of a sage back then.  But what he shared makes sense in so many ways now.  The message was this; No matter how great or terrible you are, no matter how hard you work or how little you work, no matter how normal or odd you may be, there will always be folks who like what you’re doing and always be folks who don’t.

I think as a kid that was a pretty frustrating thing actually.  The notion that I couldn’t make everyone love me – or more specifically at the time, my original music – felt pretty unacceptable.  And I suppose on some level, I’m still motivated to present the best ME I can to folks.  But the older I get, the easier it becomes to understand and accept that no one is for absolutely everyone.  Regardless of how hard we may try, we’re not a fit for everyone.

The same is absolutely true for business.

So let me present a question here.  Is ANY customer a GOOD customer?  Anyone who has experience running a business can tell you that some customers literally consume more resources than they’ll give back.  And there are customers who make other customers’ experience a negative one.  The truth is, while we may want to make all our prospective customers happy, we just can’t.  And in some cases, taking on or striving to keep some customers, just becomes detrimental.  Fit is extremely important.  And if you’re doing your work right, some customers will just be a better fit than others.

I’m raising this point because I see a common mistake made frequently in small business clients.  They’ll often frame their promotional efforts in a way that attempts to target everyone effectively.  So they’ll load their collateral materials up with messages, send a plethora of seemingly random social media content and images to try representing everything that might possible connect with any takers.  Unfortunately, in the process, they tend to reach very few in an effective, lasting way.

The moral?  Don’t sacrifice your target markets in an attempt to satisfy or please everyone.  While it’s generally a good idea to try not to offend, diluting your target market messages to satisfy the general, likely less loyal and lower revenue-generating masses will usually only lesson your impact.