Recently, a friend of mine posted a picture from a cramped Spirit Air flight, complaining about the tiny seat, the delays, the upcharges…basically everything. “Never again,” was her exact quote.
The discomfort wasn’t worth the lower price, according to my friend. I flew Spirit Air – exactly once – and had the same reaction. Never again. Rather than be annoyed, I admire Spirit Air for knowing exactly who they are as a business. They are a low price, no frills carrier. When you fly Spirit Air, you know you’ll get the cheapest price – and that’s about it. They make few promises to be more than the low-price leader. In fact, Spirit Air is probably just fine with my friend’s Facebook post, because she isn’t their target customer. What’s my point?
My point is that you can learn something from Spirit Air. No matter if you’re selling airline seats, apparel, or pet grooming – you have to have a clear voice to let customers know EXACTLY who your business is serving – AND who it’s NOT. Otherwise, your message gets lost. Here’s why Spirit Air matters for YOUR business. As Arthur Sulzburger, my old boss at The New York Times, used to say, “You don’t have a strategy until you’re saying no.”
Like Spirit Air, the Times has a clear vision for who they sell to. It isn’t everyone. It isn’t even everyone in New York City. Having that clear vision means the Times doesn’t earn every newspaper dollar, but the folks who buy are generally loyal customers. In fact, New York Times readers define themselves, in part, by their newspaper choice. Being a reader of the Times means something about them as people, not just as newspaper readers. The same is likely true for Spirit Air. The folks who would rather save their money for the destination rather than the journey know Spirit Air will deliver the savings.
When I talk to retailers and other clients, they often care so deeply about the products and services they provide, they want to offer their expertise to EVERY person who walks through their doors. The simple truth is that you can’t serve everyone well. If you don’t have a clear vision for who you DON’T serve, you do your business a huge disservice. The sooner you realize you can’t serve everyone, the faster you can earn the rabid loyalty of those you do.
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