Marketing Requires You To Know What Sort of Person You’re Marketing Toward

Are you a cat or a dog person? Which do you prefer, and how did we get to the point where people apparently fall into one of those two camps? And well I may not have a ready answer on why those two pets became the staple, it has a good parallel to marketing.

And that is for you to know your customer base. Your demographic. Sure, people do not actually fall into only two boxes, no matter how many analogies we throw around. Humans are much broader than that. There are two types of people: the ones who fall into a binary box, and the ones that don’t.

But, back to our furry friends. And full disclosure, to make clear my bias on the matter (as everyone has a bias), I am a cat person. I like dogs well enough, but given the choice: I’d like the calmer animal. And, thus, is the segue to marketing to the right demographic. Age, religion, sexuality, what have you: they all have a preference, and it may be something so simple—but it is something you need to know.

The universal product, the universally beloved animal, does not exist. But marketing to a general group with common traits is possible—within reason. Modern day youth will often like both retro-looking devices and high-tech gizmos with a high level of usability. And, by the same token, if you are a cat person then you are more likely to like things calm. As opposed to if you like dogs, and thus maybe enjoy more energetic activities.

Sure, you can claim that’s simplistic, but for our purposes, it is worth examining seriously. Let’s say you are selling a strap used to keep a water bottle on the shoulder, so that running while still staying hydrated is easier. I’m aware that product already exists, but take this journey with me: would you first try to make people more likely to run so you could sell this product easier, or, would you find the group already in need of the product?

If you are a huge company, the former might be a possible option. The fact nearly everyone watches television is a testament to people adapting to a product. But, for the usual business, trying to change a personality, a mindset, is much harder than just selling to someone who already has a certain mindset.

Would you try to force an excited dog onto a person who prefers the aloofness of a feline? No, probably not. To sell a product, you need to find people with a disposition, not make a disposition. At least at first.

Marketing Can Do A Lot, But It Can’t Make A Cat Person Love All Dogs

Cater to your audience. Make something they want. Branching out is all well and good, and necessary sometimes as you grow, but only works if you have already regular customers. Potential buyers are not as good as earned already buyers. And, when you focus on who you already have first, those same people will appreciate the “loyalty” you’ve shown to them.

The world is full of products—and someone will get those others what they need. Unless you want to be a general store, you can’t focus on everything. So, instead, focus on the lovers of what you are making.

Don’t force a sale of cat food on a dog owner. It’s bad for the owner, it’s bad for their pet, and ultimately, it takes away time you could put toward a customer who needs you much more.

In fact, I take back what I said earlier: while we may not all fall into a binary when it comes to pets, there are those who sell well in the long-term, and those who don’t. And, when it comes to that, it doesn’t matter whether you like cats or dogs. It matters if you are good to your customers.

If you liked this article, you can read more of Brandon Scott’s work on The Hive, or at his website:

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