Your Customers aren’t Targets

I heard a great radio ad about radio advertising, which included the following:

Your customers aren’t targets, they’re your friends and neighbors. They want to be talked with, not shot at.

Too often businesses think of customers only as markets, audiences, and targets. The truth is that our customers are individual, real people, real like you and me. They have feelings, families, experiences, challenges, things to do, and lives to live. This got me thinking about SEO and online marketing/advertising in general.


Does our content speak to the individual or does it speak to the demographically ideal subset of our audience? Are we trying to use one piece of content to sell to every single member of our audience in one swoop?

Your content for your site should reflect that you understand who your audience is, even when you have different audiences. Making your content so generic and watered down makes your business so ordinary and not exciting.

I was on ebay the other day, looking for a new car. I looked at the bidding history, and ebay had a small notice that I really enjoyed. See if you can tell which part I liked:

…eBay has decided to change how bid history information is displayed so bad guys cannot target bidders with fake offers using this information…

Now think for a second of another way that ebay COULD have said “bad guys”, if they were not trying to really speak to you as a real person:

…eBay has decided to change how bid history information is displayed so scammers cannot target bidders with fake offers using this information…

There would be no real problem in using “scammers” instead of bad guys. And sure it is just one word. But for me it makes ebay seem so much more real instead of corporate, and it speaks to me personally (especially because I have kids and “bad guys” is an every day term in my house). I like that in a company, and that’s the kind of company that gets my business. Detach yourself from me and my world and I will do business somewhere else.

On a side note…I love radio advertising, and in terms of offline marketing I think it is the best medium for the buck. I’ve learned a ton from the The Wizard of Ads, I highly recommend his (Roy H. Williams) best selling books for anyone in marketing.


  • Brett Astor says:


    Thank you for this post. I hate to admit it but I’ve been one of those people guilty of thinking of prospective customers as “targets”. I’m caused to wonder in which other ways my thinking has been hujacked by the half-human business school marketing-speak.

    I found your site because of your comment about radio advertising. I have also read Roy’s books and have worked with him on two separate projects. His creativity and persuasiveness is largely unrivaled and I’ve endeavored to apply it to the direct response space.

  • Brett, glad to hear of a fellow radio advertiser. It is an amazing medium, and I am amazed more don’t use it. How neat to work with him, that would be amazing!

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