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How to Market to People Not Like You: "Know It or Blow It" Rules for Reaching Diverse Customers

ISBN: 978-0-470-87900-9
240 pages
March 2011
How to Market to People Not Like You: "Know It or Blow It" Rules for Reaching Diverse Customers (0470879009) cover image


Reach new and diverse customer groups and expand your market share

The standard approach to marketing is to look for as many people as possible who fit one core customer profile. How to Market to People Not Like You challenges this traditional thinking about core customer bases, giving you a new approach to expand your customer base and your business.

Arguing for focusing on customer values rather than demographics, How to Market to People Not Like You reveals how you can grow business and profits by targeting those who are different from your core audience, rather than those who share similarities.

  • Reach unfamiliar new market segments with your products
  • Learn how to engage micro-segmented customer groups
  • Author's company was named one of the top ad agencies in the US by Ad Age

Find out How to Market to People Not Like You, understand the needs and values that distinguish diverse customers, and reach their hearts, minds, and wallets.

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Table of Contents


Introduction: You Can’t Reach a Customer You Don’t Understand.


1 Get Out of Your Comfort Zone to Grow Sales.

2 Get to Know the Customer You’re Not Getting but Should Be.

3 What Do They Need? Tweak Your Product or Service Offerings.

4 Make Your Sales and Customer Service Friendly: Little Things Make a Big Difference.

5 Communicate in Their ‘‘Language’’: Develop Marketing Messages Based on Their Values.

6 Use Technology to Reach Your Prospects: Micro Targeting.

7 Deal with Naysayers: What If Your Employees or Your Core Audience Don’t Like Seeing Their Product Marketed to Other Groups?


8 Different Ages Want Different Things.

9 Women: Singles, Heads of Household, Working Moms and Stay-at-Home Moms, Home-Schooling, and More.

10 Immigrants: It’s About Acculturation, Not Assimilation.

11 Hispanics/Latinos: North America’s Fastest-Growing Ethnic Minority.

12 African-Americans: A Large and Lucrative Customer Base.

13 Asians and Asian-Americans: The Highest Household Income of Any Racial or Ethnic Group.


14 Political Views.

15 Sexuality: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered.

16 Hobbies and Special Interests.

17 Rural versus Metro.

18 Military versus Civilian.

19 Vegetarians versus Meat Eaters.



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Author Information

KELLY MCDONALD is the president of McDonald Marketing, which Advertising Age named one of the top ad agencies in the United States across all disciplinesin 2009. She worked in top positions for global ad agencies before starting her own marketing company in 2002. Her agency's clients include Toyota, Sherwin-Williams, Miller Coors, Harley-Davidson, and State Farm Insurance.
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Press Release

March 16, 2011
2010 Census Results Reveal Changing Demographics in US

If you want to sell Harley-Davidson motorcycles, you target white men, age 40-55, with a household income of $150,000+ who live in suburban homes and hold executive positions.  This is the standard approach to marketing, looking for as many people as possible who fit the profile of the core customer for a given product or service. 

However, as the 2010 US census results continue to unfold - studies show a consistent trend with population and diversity. According to Marketing professional, Kelly McDonald - now more than ever is the time for businesses of all sizes to shift their marketing strategies toward the evolving US demographic and target the hearts and minds of new consumers. 

USA Today continues to report the 2010 US Census results, the following demographic shifts include:

  • Texas growth driven by Hispanics – 4.2 million residents, 20.6% Hispanic
  • Iowa population shifts from rural to urban
  • Opportunities draw Hispanics to Indiana
  • Racial diversity inches higher in Vermont
  • Redistricting is likely ahead for Arkansas as population shifts
  • Maryland diversity grows; white population shrinks  
  • Oregon growth rate slows; its Hispanic population booms
  • St. Louis population ebbs; diversity grows

Kelly McDonald reveals diversity marketing strategies and how to approach different demographics in her new book, HOW TO MARKET TO PEOPLE NOT LIKE YOU: “Know It or Blow It” Rules for Reaching Diverse Customers (March 2011; Wiley; ISBN: 9780470879009; Hardcover; $24.95). McDonald introduces diversity marketing by targeting those who are different from a core audience, rather than those who share similarities. It may seem counterintuitive to focus on targets' differences rather than similarities, however McDonald stresses the importance of reaching potential customers' hearts, minds, and wallets.  Values tell us more about each other than anything else, and values drive spending.  Marketers need to understand values if they expect customers to spend money on their product or service.

Every marketer needs to understand the key value differences among customer groups:  gender, race, age, lifestage, language preference, religion, political views, sexuality, and hobbies or special interests. HOW TO MARKET TO PEOPLE NOT LIKE YOU explains how customers feel differently from others to truly reaching them on an emotional, rational and cultural level.  Who you are is not defined by the color of your skin or the shape of your eyes or what generation you are labeled; it's about values. 

McDonald focuses on the importance of identifying the unlikely customer, how to tap into that new customer segment with confidence and how to avoid mistakes and pitfalls when marketing to new customer groups. Other less conventional examples of differences include the following:

  • Rural vs metro
  • Military vs. civilian
  • Stay-at-home Moms vs working Moms
  • Home schooled children vs children who go to public schools
  • Foreign-born vs U.S. born
  • Political views and religious beliefs
  • Vegans vs meat-eaters

Recognizing these differences and tailoring a product, message or marketing effort to reflect consumers' uniqueness by validating the importance of a consumer group is a must. Diversity encompasses much more than just racial or ethnic diversity. McDonald states, “Yes, those are important, but the premise of this book is that any way that you can be different from me is “diversity”. If you have children and I don’t, we’re going to be very different.  We’ll have different priorities, a different focus in our lives and certainly, we’ll spend money on different things.

Businesses will need to know how to engage with new demographics. HOW TO MARKET TO PEOPLE NOT LIKE YOU teaches 7 steps for selling to new and unfamiliar customers and focuses on the following points:

  1. Getting out of the “comfort zone” to grow sales
  2. Getting to know the customer you’re not getting, but should be
  3. What will the customers need?
  4. Make Sales and Customer Service Friendly
  5. Communicate in THEIR language
  6. Use technology to reach their prospects
  7. Know how to deal with Naysayers

This is illustrated to readers using hundreds of examples from companies large and small that have successfully grown sales and profits by tapping into new markets.  Examples of successful (and unsuccessful) ads and marketing tactics are also provided and include companies such as Toyota, Apple, AT&T, Harley-Davidson, BMW and others.

Using real-world examples from successful business owners, “How to Market to People Not Like You” demonstrates how to create a deep, emotional connection between your products and new consumers. McDonald advises professionals to forget the “spray and pray” promotion technique.

The time is now, to narrowcast, get to know, and then deliver a welcoming message to a specific group. McDonald advises readers  to research new customer segments and learn what they need. Be prepared to modify product offerings to communicate value to the customer. After reading McDonald’s book – professionals will see their customer and say, “I see you, I value you, and I want you. I’m putting out this welcome mat just for you.” HOW TO MARKET TO PEOPLE NOT LIKE YOU takes readers from tentative newcomer to trusted name in any community.

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How to Market to People Not Like You: "Know It or Blow It" Rules for Reaching Diverse Customers (US $24.95)

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