Are you asleep at the wheel of your business?

It never ceases to amaze me how little effort most business owners put into researching their target market. It’s because most business owners are simply

bone lazy

Take this example of outstanding, Olympic-quality incompetence. Today I received the following email, apparently from a company purporting to be ‘experts’ in mailing lists…

Had a chance to visit your website and understand you are a marketing and advertising service provider. Many similar companies like yours have already started boosting their marketing and client retention activities for coming year.
Please brief us on your target audience (Industry:?, Job Titles:? and Geography: ?), I will get back to you with counts and quote for your review. If you already have an existing database, which is old and with many missing information, please forward me 20 – 50 samples for a no cost test append.
Our ready to use lists – Marketing professionals, High Net Worth individuals, Pharmacists, Publishers, Retailers, IT decision makers, Key decision makers, CMO’s, CEO’s, CTO’s, Technology users, HR executives……
Appreciate your time and I definitely look forward to hear from you.
Warm Regards,
Marketing Coordinator”

This approach to getting new business is so lazy, so incompetent, so completely thoughtless it beggars belief. Here’s just a partial list of errors:

1) “Please brief us on your target audience….” Good grief. Our website, which Caroline claims to have visited, literally screams ‘salon owners’ from every page. A seventh-grader could work that out in less than 20 seconds.

2) Merely clicking on ‘About us’ would have instantly identified me as the CEO of the company. Yet Caroline doesn’t even bother to address the email to me. Instead, a weak impersonal ‘Hi’ is deemed as sufficient. It’s not sufficient, it’s insulting.

3) Nowhere does the email identify the name of her company, where she’s located, or provide any other identifying information other than her return email address. Is she perhaps writing from the moon? And it certainly doesn’t direct me to a website where I can investigate further.

4) Apart from evidence of laziness in almost every line, it demonstrates a level of illiteracy that would embarrass most ten year olds.

Sadly, such incompetence, lack of preparation and pure ignorance is the norm in business, rather than the exception. A few months ago we advertised a job position at Worldwide Salon Marketing. Of the six we short-listed for an interview, only ONE could provide even the most rudimentary facts about the company, what we do, who we market to etc etc.

And yet ALL the information is readily available at a key-stroke, via our web presence.

Take this as a lesson: when you are targeting new customers for your salon or spa, ask yourself – and get answers – to relevant questions such as:

a) what kind of people do I want as customers?

b) what can I find out about these people?

c) what do they read, what associations or groups might they belong to, do they have children, what sports do they play, where do they go on holidays, what other products do they buy, what other services do they typically use….

The more you know about your target market, the better you can fine-tune offers and services that perfectly match that target market. Fit, toned members of the local squash club are unlikely to respond to a weight-loss offer, no matter how outrageously it’s presented. But an offer headlined

“Instant Glamor Hair That Makes even Squash Players Look Like Movie Stars”

might have a better than even chance of attracting the eye of those squash players, don’t you think?

Google’s famous ‘Don’t Be Evil’ mantra might well be adapted for use in almost any business seeking new customers:

“Don’t be Lazy!”

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