What Can Archery Teach You About Marketing?


“Targeting Gone Wild
Reach 70 million people at MySpace”

I saw an ad with that headline on ProBlogger, and whoever paid for it has indeed gone wild (and crazy too). That’s not targeting, that’s closing your eyes, praying, and hoping to hit something.

70 million? 70 million what? Does it really pay to market to that many random people?

A better approach would be to create a profile of an ideal customer, and market specifically to businesses that fit that profile. As in archery, the closer you get to the center of the target, the better your score (and your revenue). In archery, the target is pretty clear. There are rings, worth different numbers of points.

You get more points if your arrow hits the center, and fewer points if you hit one of the outer rings; no points at all for hitting the white background (or the haystacks). So, how do you improve your marketing aim?

Develop a biography of your ideal customer

If it’s a business, think about what size company you want to support. Fortune 500 companies work differently (move more slowly and have more paperwork) than smaller firms. However, they also have larger budgets. Think about the kinds of services you want to offer and whether they are more suited to a large or small firm. A small business may not need a sophisticated bookkeeping program, but a large business will.

Where are your customers located?

Worldwide companies will have different needs than local businesses. Public companies have different reporting requirements than private firms. Can you support large companies with branches in many cities or countries? A web designer can easily support an international clientele, but a caterer can’t.

Focus on a specific industry or industries

What areas are you most expert in? For example, establishing yourself as the go-to company providing marketing for electrical distributors or the social media guru for pet stores will help you grow your niche (and improve your revenue).

Who do you want to reach?

Are you looking for the CIO or an HR manager? The CIO will have different problems (and need different solutions) than the HR manager. For instance, while both may be customers for software services, the CIO may be much more concerned about data backup systems, while the HR manager needs software to track employee sick days and vacation time.

What’s their budget?

Don’t aim your $5,000 solution (no matter how wonderful it is) at someone who is only authorized to spend $500. Look for the decision maker. Allow time for a decision. Businesses to business marketing is a bit different that consumer marketing. Generally, the time lines are longer, more specs are required, and more people may be involved in the process.

The better your aim; the better your results.

Photo: matt gibson/