The internet is full of amazing quotations, but the one that always gets me is, "You can't please everyone; you're not a Nutella Jar." I have always found the saying fascinating since Nutella controls over 54% of the global market for chocolate spreads. But while Nutella has mastered the art of pleasing "everyone," copying that approach is the biggest mistake any business could ever make. History teaches us that if you market to everyone, you are headed straight for disaster.

"Everyone" Is Not A Target Market

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Each business enters the market with a product, service, or mission it aims to deliver to target customers. But when the business fails to single out a specific customer segment, it limits its chances of success.

Defining your target audience honestly is the first step towards creating a product or service that is appealing. When you adopt the "serving everyone" philosophy, you'll lose customers every day since groups of customers have different tastes.

A teenager and a retiree have different attitudes and perceptions of the same product, and to turn them into loyal customers, you need a unique appeal. If you are selling T-shirts, younger audiences respond to trends while older consumers prefer functionality. If you choose to serve everyone, you will lose your appeal to all your customers.

Serving Everyone Hurts Your Marketing Budget

Some business owners think that if you market your product enough, people will eventually buy. This ideology is elusive since marketing is one of the most expensive business endeavors today. Targeting everyone costs you more in advertising since you'll be promoting a product that no one needs.

The "Rule of Seven" says that customers need to hear your message at least seven times before purchasing. The market punishes anyone who breaks this commandment. If you are selling organic dog food, you can attract more customers by placing posters in pet stores, advertising in clubs, or even dog shows. But if you choose to market to everyone, you'll be throwing money on radio spots and TV adverts that won't yield returns. Having specific customer segments helps you narrow down your focus when marketing.

Brands Grow From Loyal Customers, Not Crowds

Happy customers will always recommend your product or service to friends and family, which is how your brand grows. Successful businesses take advantage of communities created by customers who enjoy and love their niche products.

In a world of customer reviews and social network communities, businesses must consider the larger online communities associated with their brands. A great example is Starbucks which welcomes customer feedback on its "My Starbucks Idea" platform. On the site, coffee enthusiasts unite to share ideas, vote, and provide feedback that the business can react to. Such communities market the business for free while helping to keep the brand name alive.

If you serve everyone, your customers will have little in common. With the lack of identity, your brand becomes vague. Focus on specific customers and you can reap the benefits of a business with a unique personality. Everyone loves to be identified with a focused brand.

Serving Everyone Makes You Incompetent

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Customers choose businesses that answer their needs and deliver better than others in the industry. If you focus on everyone, you make it impossible to achieve "expert status." The best businesses distinguish themselves from everyone else by offering a product that no one can match.

Just think about it, you usually purchase one brand when you go shopping. If you want to order chicken, you immediately think of the tasty Chick-fil-A or KFC wings, and if you want Pizza, Domino's or Pizza Hut. People buy from brands they know, like, or trust, and if your business is known for a specific product or service, customers will always come back.

Serving everyone limits you from building a reputation as the best since customers won't be confident that you know "your stuff." When it comes to spending hard-earned cash, no one settles for second-best.

Serve Everyone And Perish!

While serving everyone sounds philanthropic enough, avoid this mistake. It increases your risk of failure. With markets becoming more competitive every day, customers have no time to question what you do and how well you can deliver. Accept that you can't satisfy everyone and avoid being labeled a "Jack of all trades."

Distinguish yourself from the herd by selecting a customer base that appeals the most to you. Gradually, focus helps you understand your customers' needs, wants, and desires well enough to deliver.