Some customers aren't worth having: true or false?

True! Just look at the media furore caused by Abercrombie & Fitch, who recently paid off a particularly unpleasant reality TV celebrity in an attempt to stop him wearing their clothes and potentially ruining their brand’s reputation.

The other side of the customer acquisition coin is repelling the customers you don’t want. Granted, we rarely do it actively. You wouldn’t send out a marketing campaign to people you didn’t want in an effort to put them off. But marketers and copywriters do put unsuitable people off passively – and very effectively – by consciously appealing to their preferred target markets.

Putting punters off

Mark Ritson asks a pertinent question in Marketing Week’s 25th August issue: “When was the last time you worked hard to strop the wrong consumers from buying your brand?” My answer? I do it every day. I’ve  written my website to appeal to a specific target market and exclude an equally specific bunch of people.

I don’t want freelance copywriting customers who love corporate speak, so I use plain English. I don’t want clients who ‘phone me all the time either because they interrupt my copywriting flow. So while I include a phone number on my sites and am happy to chat with new clients once for the sake of putting a voice to a name, I focus my communications efforts hard on email communications thereafter to drive people down my preferred track. And I don’t want cheapskates. I want clients who appreciate the value of quality copy. So I put my hourly rate on my home page to put bargain hunters off

If you don’t want certain types of people to buy from you it’s perfectly OK to dissuade them. All’s fair in love and war. It’s part of what intelligent marketing is all about.