Is Everyone Your Target Market?

TargetAre you one of those cheerful people that when asked, “Who is your customer?” you answer, “Everyone!,”perhaps even with a big smile?


So a small boy in China, Donald Trump and the Pope are all people you include in your target market of viable and potential customers?

Okay, that was a bit silly.  But what about the neighbor that is filing bankruptcy, the poor college student that mows your yard for gas money, and that sweet retiree that has no plans (or need) to ever buy your product or service?

When I ask someone who their customer is (well, actually I ask who is their “ideal customer”) it is so I can better understand the market they are focused on and the clients that are best for that market.  I might know or run across someone that could be a good referral.  But I need to understand who it is we are looking for here.

To me, the answer of “everyone” means “I have no idea but would be glad to help anyone that will pay me or finds me by accident.”

These are not the people I want to refer business too.  They apparently don’t have a specific plan for their own business and it is unlikely they have a decent plan to help their clients either.

Now all of this does not mean you should ignore the people I mentioned above.  You can build a relationship as appropriate and one day they may become part of your target market.  Or they may be able to speak highly of you to someone you don’t know that is in your target market.  So you want to be a person of value and integrity to all.  Just remember that while there is a difference between someone in your target market and someone that knows someone in your target market, all can be important in their own way.

And I am not suggesting that you not do business with anyone outside your target market.  I am only suggesting that you focus your marketing efforts in the area of likely greatest return.

To me, the phrase “TARGET MARKET” means a clear, defined list.  Knowing who your target market is (and is NOT) helps you avoid wasting your time and money.  It also helps you avoid wasting the time of other people too!

Now… if we could just get the Pope on our list of references…


Glenn S. Phillips is the author of Nerd-to-English: Your Everyday Guide to Translating Your Business, Your Messages, and Yourself. His website,, will lead you to more information about effective communication training, risk assessments and genuinely helpful tips. You can email Glenn directly

© 2012 All Rights Reserved.  Glenn S. Phillips and Forte’ Incorporated. (205) 985-1111


About the Author

Glenn S. Phillips works with leaders who want to leverage technology and understand risks within. An author and blogger, Glenn is often quoted in national media, plays a really ugly tuba (it even has a bullet hole) and is a fan of dark chocolate and great puns.