The Dixie Chicks – a Hard Lesson in Target Marketing

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I fully expect this post to draw the ire of those who passionately defend that what the Dixie Chicks did was a treasonous act. Let me just state that I intend to use this example to illustrate a point, and that point has nothing to do with politics. How’s that for a disclaimer?

Over the last three years the Dixie Chicks have narrowed their target market and all signs point to a more positive business and working environment for the band.

The band built a large following by pumping out chart style country hits and showing up a state fairs working their good looks for all it was worth. Then they dropped the bomb. A comment by their lead singer made at precisely the wrong time in precisely the wrong place, sent a portion of their fan base running for cover. It became fashionable to bash the band on the same country music stations that played their hits.

Signs of a change were in the air well before that infamous concert overseas. Prior to the incident in the UK, the band had signed with a new record label and was starting to change the way they performed and recorded music – a change that was more about their talent than album sales.

Okay, enough with the background, here’s the real marketing lesson that I’m getting at.

The Dixie Chicks narrowed their target market and are now making the music they’ve wanted to make all along. Too many businesses get caught up in the chase of going after the money, the big account, without stopping to focus only on clients that value what you bring to the table, that push you to do your best work, that view your work with them as a business partnership.

I wouldn’t recommend the path that the Dixie Chicks took in order to find their ideal target market or remake their brand, but in listening to recent interviews and judging from the sales of their latest album, I believe they may have arrived where they needed to go with an ideal client (fan).

I’m not suggesting that you throw your client base, the ones that got you to this point, overboard, but I am suggesting that you develop a picture of your ideal client and go about attracting them and only them to your business. That may involve taking a good hard look at your current clients and asking yourself some pretty tough questions about where you are headed.

Life is too short to feel trapped, to dread going to work, to have clients that suck the life right out of you. There are so many incredible people and businesses out there waiting to find and experience your unique talent. Find them, push them, help them, be true to yourself and don’t look back.


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