Market and Community Specific Brands

You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.

Many people would assert that marketing is not much more than a sophisticated tool used to trick customers into buying a product or service they otherwise would not need. Good marketing should be a process of bringing the perceived value of a  great brand in line with the value of its  great products. However, the quote above makes an excellent point: brands must target customers, but they need not and should not court  all customers. Brands can be laser focused on specific targets by interest, identity, or geography.

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A hardworking entrepreneur who had built a successful line of snowboarding clothing and accessories was frustrated by the lack of respect that his parents showed for his accomplishments. When he attended an industry tradeshow or showed up on the slopes, he was a rock star, but none of that prestige translated when he visited home. He was considering expanding his advertising into television or print media that his parents would appreciate. He thought that perhaps it might also bring him some unexpected customers.


Don’t fret if your mom has no idea that your brand is huge as long as the consumers who are most likely to buy your products respect it. We live in an age where information technology allows advertising and messaging to be targeted with almost pinpoint accuracy. The best marketing is so focused and direct that your noncustomer mom will never, ever see it. In fact, if she does come across it, that may be a signal that you’re wasting your time and money.

Do not waste your precious brand-building efforts or your advertising budget on people who will never help pay for that effort or produce profits. Marketing simply for prestige, recognition, and ego are signs of a brand about to fail.

Your marketing goal is to drive sales and build awareness within a target audience. Your audience may be defined by geography. For example, imagine you own a hotel laundry service company that targets inns along the Tijuana-Rosarito-Ensenada corridor of Baja California. Alternatively, your audience may be the whole world but limited by specific consumer interests, as with the previous snowboard products example. An audience might also be limited by demographics, as is the case with an auto brand aimed at first-time car buyers in the developing world. Finally, your audience could be some specific mix of all these factors, geography, interests, and demographics, such as for a clothing store in Tokyo that sells only to high-end men’s business suit buyers.

Focusing narrowly offers several marketing advantages. The first is that good targeting ensures that the  conversion ratePercentage of potential buyers exposed to your message who complete an action, i.e., learning about the product or making a purchase., or the percentage of potential buyers exposed to your message compared with those who complete an action like learning about your product or making a purchase, is relatively high.


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