Who Have You Annoyed Lately?

When it comes to marketing, you need to realise that you can’t please everyone. And if you’ve got a good idea of who your target market is, you may actually start to turn some people off. This isn’t a bad thing.

One of the things I like about blogging is that you get to share your opinion about things. You’re free to express yourself and talk about topics the way you see them. You don’t have an editor or boss telling you what you can or can’t say – you can say what you want.

But the flip side of this is that you’ll soon discover some people have different opinions to you. And sometimes these people read your blog. And sometimes they’ll leave comments that disagree with your point of view. Or they’ll send you an email telling you they don’t agree with something you’ve written. Or they’ll unsubscribe from your newsletter list.

I’ve learnt in business that you can’t please all the people all the time. And trying to please everyone generally results in you pleasing no-one and completely missing the mark.

Annoyed Blogger

Who have you annoyed lately?

So my theory is this – if you’re not annoying some people, your message isn’t clear enough.

Let me explain further.

Years ago I read a book called ‘The Brand Called You’ by a marketing consultant called Peter Montoya. His business did a lot of work with financial planners and I came across his material on the internet and got hold of a copy of his book.

I remember one quote from the book – good marketing attracts as well as repels.

Think about this for a minute. Good marketing will not only attract potential clients, but it will also stop some from buying from you.

Good marketing attracts as well as repels

Here are a few examples I’ve come across in recent years.

My idea of good music probably isn’t the same as yours

heavy metal music

It's not my cup of tea!

I’m a guitarist and I have a pretty broad range of musical styles that I like. But there are some that I don’t like. It doesn’t mean that I hate them – it just means that I choose not to listen to them. I’m not a big fan of hard rock or heavy metal – one look at the CD covers or videos sometimes puts me off. But that’s ok, because I’m not their target market. And their target market probably loves the CD images and videos.

Its good marketing – it’s attracting and repelling.

I don’t like Big Brother

Here in Australia we used to have a reality TV show called Big Brother. There have also been numerous versions produced in different countries around the world.

I don’t like it. I’ve never understood the attraction of watching a bunch of 20 something’s sit around isolated in a house for weeks on end.

But I’m not the target market.

The show isn’t aimed at people like me. It’s aimed squarely at Generation Y. And they loved it (at least until the last few seasons when ratings dropped!).

Again, it’s good marketing. It attracts those who it wants to attract, and repels those, like me, who it’s not aimed at.

And whilst I think the producers would have loved to have more people like me watching it, it would have meant changing the format and in doing so they possibly would have lost some of their existing audience.

Marketing in the Blog World


I beg to differ

I’ve seen a number of bloggers who’ve written posts that attract some negative comments. They’ve lost readers over things that they’ve said or done.

The experienced ones realise that it’s just par for the course and accept it. The inexperienced ones take it personally.

Now, I’m not talking about people who leave rude or abusive comments. I’ve got no time for people like that. I’m talking about people who have a different opinion to you, and aren’t afraid to voice it.

I’ve written a number of articles about how I use Twitter. Part of my Twitter strategy involves automating some aspects of my account. Some people accept this, others are dead against it. That’s fine. We don’t all have to agree on everything. You’re free to choose which bits of my advice you want to follow. But those who want to automate aspects of their Twitter usage find my advice very helpful.

Attracting and Repelling

I’m not saying you need to make annoying people a big part of your marketing plan, but I am saying that if you’re not annoying some people you’re perhaps not delivering your message as effectively as possible.

attract and repel

You can't please everyone

Step one is to determine who your target market is.
I’ll write more about this in coming weeks, but take some time to think about who your blog is aimed at, and the issues they face. Spend time working out exactly what problems of theirs you are able to solve, and craft your message around that.

Take more time to put together a profile of your ‘ideal reader’. How old are they? Are they male or female? What language do they speak? What keeps them awake at night?

Make this real to the point of giving them a name. Get a very clear picture of the type of person who will get the most value out of your services and advice.

In the financial planning world, we used to joke that our target market was ‘anyone who could fog a mirror’. That’s not very specific! Now our industry has progressed to the point where there are planners who only deal with business owners, or female managers. One planner I know deals solely with people who own large car dealerships. He won’t take on any of their staff as clients – he only wants to work with the owner.

By getting so specific, you can focus your message so powerfully that when someone in your target market hears it, they’re instantly attracted to it.

And in creating a compelling message, you’re also causing some people to self-select away from you. They might come to your blog, read a few articles and decide that it’s not for them. Good! Don’t ever get confused that more traffic to your blog is the key to success. It’s not. More targeted traffic is a step in the right direction, but traffic alone won’t guarantee success.

The more specific you can be, the more value your target market will see in your services.

Lessons from e-books

Let’s think about books for a minute. I’ve read a lot of discussions about whether e-books should be priced higher or lower than traditional ‘real’ books.

One side says that a self-published book can never be as good quality as a physical published book, therefore it shouldn’t sell for the same price.

There’s another way to look at this argument.

A Rainbow Of Books

E-books are not the same as traditional books

Book publishers will only publish books they know they can sell. So rarely will they publish a book in a specific niche, because there may not be a huge demand for it.

I’ve read books on how to use Twitter that are 150 pages long and are so general in nature that they don’t teach much that’s helpful. By aiming at every type of Twitter user they’re giving out a lot of general information, but not a lot of specifics.

By way of contrast, I’ve read e-books about using Twitter that are only 30 pages long, but provide a lot more value because they’re written specifically for bloggers like me.

So why should they cost more?


It’s all about value.

  • You’ll attract people to your message if it’s delivering something of value to them.
  • Some people won’t see value in it. They’re not your target market.
  • But for those who are your target market, your message can deliver huge value.

One of my consulting services is helping financial planners use the internet to attract and retain new clients. Can you see how specific it is?

If a financial planner comes to my site, they’re attracted to my message because it’s aimed at them.

If I wrote an e-book on how financial planners can use Twitter effectively, do you think they’d find it valuable? And how much could I sell that e-book for? Forget what it looks like or how many pages it is and focus instead on the value it provides.

The cool thing about my target market is that if a real estate agent comes to my website, whilst they’ll still get some value from my message, they’ll realise it’s not aimed at them. If I started changing my articles to also appeal to real estate agents, I’d reduce the value to my financial planning audience.

Over to you

What do you think about this idea of good marketing attracting and repelling people? Do you think it makes sense to appeal to a niche audience, or to try and appeal to everyone? Leave a comment below and let me know how you feel.

Creative Commons License photo credit: sergis blog, notsogoodphotography, Adam J. Merton the half-blood prince Dawn Endico Ed Yourdon


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Allan lives in Adelaide, South Australia with his wife and two boys. He is the founder of Blogger Business Plan and loves helping bloggers learn how to transform their blogs from hobbies into sustainable businesses.
When he's not blogging or working in his financial planning business, you'll find Allan playing guitar, reading or coaching his son's soccer team.

How to price your product or service ebook
2 Responses to Who Have You Annoyed Lately?
  1. Gary Winters
    September 8, 2011 | 6:54 am

    Heaven knows I’m no marketing expert, nor a Twitter expert. My focus is on leadership – and what effective leaders actually do (to be effective). I loved this post because, although it was directed to a different audience than mine, it reveals some often unspoken truth about leadership as well: that is, you can’t be an effective leader if you’re not willing to, as you say, annoy some people.

    Marketeers and leaders have many things in common – they both want to create change, they both want to inspire others to do what they think needs to be done, they both want to call attention to what they believe (and hope is) a compelling vision.

    Too many leaders appear to share the issue you identified when you say that “if you’re not annoying some people perhaps you’re not delivering your message as effectively as possible.”

    If you’re going to lead, you’re going to annoy some people (who don’t share your vision, for example). Like marketeers, leaders need to not only accept this fact, but embrace it.

    Thanks for the post. Perhaps it’s time for me to play with this idea in a future post of my leadership blog!

    • Allan Ward
      September 8, 2011 | 9:01 pm

      Hi Gary,
      Thanks for taking the time to read my post, comment on it and also re-Tweet it. It’s appreciated.

      You’re right, there are a number of things that marketers and leaders have in common. Some of the best leaders I know have very clear visions of where they want to be and they understand that not everyone will agree with them. I think it was Jim Collins in Good to Great (or Built To Last) who talked about getting the right people onto the bus.

      Thanks again for leaving a comment. Hopefully you can add to this message as a future article on your blog.


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