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A Jack Of All Trades Is Often The Master of None

By Dan Kennedy
Posted Thursday, January 27, 2005

You’ve heard variations of that saying your entire life.

Consider: a marketer to all markets . . . is often a master of none.

Personally, I take this risk: as a marketing consultant, I move from one market to the next frequently, and I am often involved in "mass-marketing" - such as with infomercials selling weight loss or cosmetics.

But I definitely prefer niche markets. I specialize, by preference, in only three or four target markets. I target my own businesses.

And I would suggest to you that the key to risk reduction; to safety in marketing; to the shortest, most probable path to a win - - - "you can never be specific enough."

I have taught this as "Message-To-Market Match" for over ten years. It is absolutely, inarguably proven valid. And, as an almost inviolate rule, the tighter, the more precise, the more perfect the match is, the better the results.

A Horse Is A Horse, Of Course, Of Course - But . . .

Consider the person who has a new nutritional formula for horses. It improves the overall health, vitality and stamina of the horse. It can be sold to owners of show horses, thoroughbred racehorses, standard-bred (harness) racehorses, quarter horses, rodeo horses, and so on.

But let’s recognize, for example, that people involved with thoroughbreds dislike, distrust and disavow kinship with those involved with standard-breds. It would be a big error to use the same message for both. Try crossing over one testimonial and you’d lose a whole market.

Now, let’s take just the thoroughbred market. Trainers who specialize in bringing along youngsters will respond differently than the "journeymen" trainers who work mostly with already broken, older horses.

Trainers who frequent the West Coast tracks do not like the East Coast guys and vice versa. And, in each case, the more perfectly I matched my message, my talk, my testimonials, etc. to the specific sub-sub-sub-section of the market, the better the results I would get.

This sort of thing exists everywhere.

I used to market a lot to chiropractors. In fact, I built the largest integrated seminar and publishing company exclusively serving chiropractors and dentists in North America, in only three years.

There are about 35,000 chiropractors; we did some business with over 10,000 of them --- that’s 30% market penetration. But did you know . . . there are "straight" chiropractors, holistic chiropractors, chiropractors who specialize in work injuries, chiropractors who only use the Activator method. . . that there are individual constituencies within chiropractic tied to different practice management gurus. . . a small number who practice cooperatively with medical doctors, but most are at war with medical doctors . . . ?

Well, if you don’t know all that, you can’t message-to-market match.

And you may go off so half-cocked you get clobbered. This is why you or your expert-partner must really know your target market inside out and upside down. And you should still do a ton of homework. It still amazes me how many people are eager to spend money but too damned lazy to spend a week at the library.

I routinely beat most graphically jazzed up, colorful, slick brochures with a long-form sales letter. Give me typewriter and I’ll give you a sales letter that’ll outperform one that was typeset at much greater cost. Simple is better.

So the bottom-line is: Keep it simple and market to as highly-targeted a market as you possible can. You-and your pocketbook- will be glad you did.

About the Author
Dan Kennedy is a marketing consultant and copywriter who helps entrepreneurs cut waste out of advertising, end cold prospecting, sell at prices higher than competitors and dramatically increase profits.The author of "No B.S. Business Success" and other books, as a speaker he has frequently appeared on programs with former U.S. Presidents, General Colin Powell, Larry King, Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy and Jim Rohn. For info on his monthly "No B.S. Marketing Letter" go to


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