Modern marketing and marketing automation allows you to get granular data on wide swaths of the population. You can not only know who your audience is, but you can pinpoint it to almost individual people. 30 years ago there were only so many ways you could slice the demographic pie. These days you can turn that pie into crumb-and-filling dust. You can almost literally have a profile of each individual. We have truly entered the days of B2Me instead of B2B or B2C.
But is that really necessary for most businesses? Sure, in a niche B2B market with a tiny target market, that sort of granularity may be necessary or even expected. A metaphor that we like to use when targeting an audience or developing personas is dating.
Choosing a date
If you’re a woman and you want to date a man, you start from very wide pools of people and then narrow it down to smaller and smaller groups. From the pool of all available single men, you might want men between the ages of 30-40, then ones without children, then ones at a certain income level, set of interests, and so on down to finer and finer levels of granularity.
There’s always a point where you stop looking for further ways to sift through potential mates and actually go on a date. If you don’t, at best, you fall into a paralysis by analysis and not date at all. You start worrying about the risks of failure if they don’t like their grilled cheese sandwiches smashed flat. At worst, you’ll start going on dates and then freak out because you didn’t account for something.
The B2B companies that need super-detailed profiles are like royalty trying to find a date. They have to keep their standards very high or the relationship just won’t work. They can afford to be super-picky. Other businesses don’t need that level of detail to be successful. You just need to know the right groups to get a good response.
Directing the message
Just like one piece of content won’t be suitable for all people, it’s also not good to create 15 different content pieces for your audience personas. Do you really need to be dating that many people at once? Can you really get to know that many different types of people on close level? Instead, focus on the demographic divisions that truly matter to your company. Who do you want to be your customers?
Then, when you make your content, direct your message to that person rather than trying to sell yourself. You see this problem a lot on dating websites. People build these huge profiles about themselves, but it’s all about them. What happens is that anyone who wanders along and gets attracted can leave a message, but do most of the hits you get really catch your interest? Probably not.
What if you flipped the script and wrote your profile to not advertise yourself, but be something your preferred partner would want to read?