Have you ever wondered;

“if you’ve done marketing differently from the start,

what the outcome could have been?”

Well, that thought crossed my mind this week while I was reading a bedtime story to my daughter. I was actually amazed with how I could draw a parallel between the story and how so many of us (and I speak out of experience) are marketing our businesses.

I would like to tell you the story (in a few words), so you can understand what I mean.

shotgunThe story was about a very poor little boy, who by some tragic events was the only provider for his sick mother and 2 little sisters. To ensure there was food on the table he daily went to the nearby lake and spend hours waiting with his shotgun for a flock of geese to arrive.

Having only one shot per day and hoping that one of the pellets in the shot actually kills a bird, he had to get his timing right. Unfortunately it often happened that his one shot didn’t even kill one goose and he had to go home disappointed and sad because his family didn’t have meat to eat.

Then one day while waiting at the lake a hunter passed by, spotted the boy and asked him what he was doing. After some conversation, the hunter felt very sorry for the boy and gave him his rifle and 3 bullets as well as the instructions that when he shoots his first deer with the rifle, he must take it to butcher’s stall at the market place.

The boy was too afraid to use the rifle and carefully buried it under a huge tree. Eventually his shotgun ammunition run out, and after many weeks, struggling to provide for his family, his sick mother died.

He then remembered about the rifle, the 3 bullets and the instructions from the hunter.

Well, to make a long story short, he killed a deer with the 3rd bullet and that one kill changed the boy’s life. It not only provided food for himself and his sisters, but he could also sell the access meat to the butcher at the marketplace. Through a good strategy of repeat kills and selling the meat, he eventually became quite a wealthy man.

This is just a children’s story, but it actually made me sit up and realise the truth behind it with regard to how we sometimes do our marketing:

The shotgun approach (mass marketing) vs

the rifle approach (target marketing).

As in the story above, a lot of us sometimes use the shotgun approach in marketing and hope that one of the pellets hits a client – any client.

We are also sometimes too afraid to use the rifle approach to target a specific type of client in the fear that we might lose out on a bigger audience.

We want to be…

“All Things to All People”

We’re trying to spread our marketing message to anyone and everyone that is willing to listen; we do a truckload of general advertising to the mass market in the hope that some of it will hit a target; we want to have such a wide range of services to enable us to take each and every job that comes our way; and ultimately we become a “jack of all trades and a master of none”.

But, what often happens with this type of “shotgun-mass-marketing” approach is that

  • VAs are mostly disappointed with the results they get or
  • they tend to do a lot of work that they don’t really want to do or have experience in

Eventually they reach a point where they have to do some soul searching and need to make important decisions about their ideal clients and how to reach them.

It is at this point, that they start taking a look at the “rifle approach”.

What do you want to do?  Wait for a turning point in your business, or use a rifle from the start?

I would love to hear what you think about this.