2 most stupid words in marketing

Warning – this is a marketing rant. I am completely fed up with the question: “Who is your target group?”

Why do I think this is the stupidest question marketers and mostly non-marketers could ask?

Because, if I showed you a ball pen, you would probably not ask this question: right?

However, if you didn’t know a ball pen and if this was the first time to see a ball pen, you would probably ask: what is it for? Or would you really still ask: what is the target group?

So in my opinion, today, when ever confronted with a companies new product, many of us ask about the target group, when actually the right and logic question would be: what is this for. Or if you really must use funky business termination: what is the benefit or what need does it serve?

Unfortunately that brings us to the second stupid word in marketing and business today: The use case!!!

This is not as bad as the target group question but if people ask you for the use case, what they really mean is exactly the same thing as above: what is it for? or why should I use it?

In my opinion, these two questions are exactly the same one:
what is it for?

It’s nerve wrecking how many people in today’s business and marketing world are obsessed with funky lingo instead of using simple and universally understandable language that not only conveys the right message but also keeps the conversation focused.

Yesterday I saw a start up entrepreneur presenting an emergency button system for smartphones to be used by elderly people to quickly call for help in emergency cases. Having explained his product with the above words, he was suddenly confronted with the question “who is the target group for your product”?
He eloquently maneuvered around the stupid question by giving an example of a not so obvious target group the product also attracts: snowboarders under 30. They obviously found that his product does serve their need to get help when having an injury on the slopes. He finished by saying that obviously his products target group is EVERYBODY!

But have you ever experienced the skeptic look of somebody whom you just told that your product is for everybody?

So please give us a all a break and simply ask us:
What is your product for?

And if you do not understand what it’s for, then you
– are simply not in the target group,
– may not understand the needs of the target group
– or you are just not the right one to invest into that company.

I am so sure about this because for each and every single product that somebody comes up with, there is always somebody who will use it (= the target group, at least the inventor himself). There is probably not one invention on earth that would not be used by at least one person.

The only legitimate question after “what is it for” is: is it’s target group big enough to make a profit by selling the product.


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