What If I Alienate People With Stronger Marketing?
You’ve heard the maxim: “try to please all, and you will please none.” In the coffee industry, however, we’re having a hard time learning this lesson.
If you’ve been around me for a while, you know I’m an advocate for stronger, more opinionated, and less passive marketing in the coffee industry.
For too long we’ve relied on meaningless coffee cliches to drive our marketing, and to no surprise, it hasn’t worked for most of us. Customers have no idea what separates one coffee shop or roaster from the next.
But in these discussions with coffee companies, there’s a question that almost always pops up like clockwork.
“But what if I alienate people?”
It’s more than a question. It’s a fear.
- What happens if I scare people away?
- I want more customers, not less!
Especially in times like these, the idea of pushing people away from buying your coffee sounds completely absurd. But you’re already pushing people away none the less, every day – even if you really don’t want to.
So you might as well do it in a way that brings more of the right people to you.
Here’s what I mean.
Every Business Decision Is A Trade-Off
You can’t escape alienating potential customers.
Every time you make a decisions in your business, you create opportunity for some people, and you limit it for others.
- Choosing to roast coffee means you might disappoint people who really liked your previous coffee supplier
- Choosing to sell lunch means you need to wait a while before you try to add breakfast
- Hiring one person means you don’t get the built-in customers from the friends of all the people you don’t hire
- Putting up abstract art from a local painter is going to make the impressionist fans squirm a little
Think about social media. Why do you market on Instagram and probably not Twitter? Because your people are there. They spend money with you, so that’s the platform that’s worth your time and energy.
Those Instagram followers are probably more in-tune with your brand than Twitter followers. They probably engage more, spend more money with you. So you focus on them, knowing there might be people on Twitter you could attract, but that it’s not the best investment of your time.
Why wouldn’t you do the same thing with your brand messaging? ?
This fable of The Miller, His Son, & the Ass puts it perfectly in the adage…
If you try to please all, you please none.
You have permission to not try to please all. It was never even a possibility.
Strong Branding Draws The Right People
Focus in on the people who REALLY get you, who feel a strong sense of connection to your values and mission.
They’ll attach even more. They’re far more likely to tell their friends about you. When they’re trying to decide who to buy coffee from, you’ll be the obvious choice.
Give the other folks some love too – casual fans are still important – but creating those true fans by speaking directly to their passions and desires is the best way to build a fierce community of loyal customers.
Hey 👋 I'm Garrett Oden
Freelance Coffee Marketer
I'm a coffee industry native who works with coffee brands around the world to create and execute captivating marketing strategies.
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