Consider the Trunk Club, Joanna Van Vleck’s interesting startup described in “Startup Success Story: The Trunk Club” in Up and Running at How important is it that she understands who isn’t her customer? She told me this herself:

  • I realized that although I thought my target was women, women are normally closer to style. In general. So they aren’t as likely to pay money for style consulting.
  • Men have less ego invested. Some, in fact, pride themselves on not knowing style. In general.
  • The metrosexual man is not my customer. He loves his own style and spends his own time and effort finding it.
  • The man whose partner in a relationship likes to shop for his clothes is not my customer. She wants to do it. She doesn’t want me to.
  • The younger men on a budget aren’t my customer. They can’t afford me.

Notice how the “isn’t my customer” routine helps define and position your marketing better.

A fast-food restaurant knows that the relatively well-to-do baby boomer empty nesters aren’t their customers. On average. The sushi restaurant knows that the construction worker driving a pickup truck who eats at the Texas barbecue drive-through isn’t its customer.

Consider Jolt cola. Twice the sugar and twice the caffeine. How important is understanding who isn’t the customer.

Your blog, if you’re doing a blog as a business, needs a focus. People don’t care about your inner angst, but there are specialty niche areas all over the place. Old Volkswagen maintenance. Arranging dry flowers. The narrower you cut it the better. Sure there are some general blogs that work, but they started years before you did. Nowadays you need to focus.

Tim BerryTim Berry

Tim Berry is the founder and chairman of Palo Alto Software and Follow him on Twitter @Timberry.