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Target Audience: A Single Question to Help You Find, Market, and Sell to Your Ideal Customer

Last week I went to see the new Steve Jobs movie.

No spoilers or anything, but the premise of the movie is….you guessed it – Steve Jobs.

The point of the flick: paint a portrait of the guy that created the iPod and the round, partially-translucent, magenta colored desktop computer.

It seems the writer-director combo decided the best way to do this would be to time travel the viewer to three (maybe four, I lost count) separate moments right before Jobs was about to go on stage to share his latest brain-melting gadget.

Without fail, each pre-stage moment is full of last minute technical issues, conversations with the mother of his child whom he denied for years was his own, and employee/coworker-Jobs conflict (the same employees and coworkers each time…before every major launch…launches that are years apart from one another…).

While the story structure was admirable, I couldn’t help but feel like sometimes I was watching a Birdman-esque comedy, not a memoir-drama (I mean, there had to be a better time to discuss paternity tests, or challenge the CEO’s leadership style than right before he goes on stage every year, right?).

Anyway, this got me thinking about the concept of “target audience” – the people for whom you make your product, art, or writing.

Two questions came to mind:

  • “who is this movie for?”

and second (the more important question):

  • “who did Jobs build his products for” (in real life)

The answer to the first question is die-hard Apple fans, as far as I can surmise. But really, that answer is only relevant because it gives us some insight into the second question…

The people for whom Steve Jobs built the iMac, the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad – his target audience – are the people who:

1. want to be seen with the product in their hands (they want the status symbol)

2. who can afford to buy the product (they have wealth)

3. who do buy the product (they take action)

The third point here is key.

You see, it doesn’t matter if Jobs only accomplished 1 and 2 above. That’s all well and good, but that just puts it in the same category as every other high-end consumer product that doesn’t sell and fails (like Apple’s own Newton).

Where Jobs excelled was getting people to do number 3: buy his product.

He was a master salesman for the upper-class (and their kids).

  • This was the audience for whom he created.
  • These were the people who bought his products (and passionately spread the word about every new product).
  • This was the target audience that ultimately dictated every product he launched.

As a result, Apple is now the most profitable company in the world.

And if you watch the movie (or better yet, read the biography), that’s not an accident. It was by design.

Steve knew who he wanted to be known by: the people who would put money in his hands for the work he did.

And just as crucially: he never catered to anyone else.

(there’s a reason the company is the most profitable…and it has everything to do with why most of the world operates on hardware and operating systems not produced by Apple)

The Most Important Question:

Who do you want to be known by?

This is not a rhetorical question. And if the answer is everyone, you’re off to a bad start.

Defining, finding, and getting in front of a specific group of people who are willing to pay for your products and services is the only way to get traction in business; it’s the only way to develop systems and processes that can scale; it’s the only way to build profitability.

Who do you want to be known by?

This is the question that will help you define your target audience; this is the question that will help you find your first 1,000 true fans in a specific, well-paying niche; this is the question that will help you become the best in the world at what you do.

Who do you want to be known by?

This is the most important question – everything else is secondary.

Your Target Audience

So now it’s your turn:

Who do you want to be known by? 

Define your target audience / ideal customer profile in the comments below…and be specific!

Props to Gregg Rollet, founder of Ambitious.com, for sharing this insightful question in a recent interview on In The Trenches. Who does Rollett want to be known by? “I only want to be known by the people who are cutting my check.”

Love it. Listen to the full interview where we dive in way more depth on this subject here here

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