I stuffed up one of my first stories as a young television journalist because I didn’t know my target market. At the time I thought it was a good story, but after it went to air, my news director called me into his office to discuss where I’d gone wrong. Full of ambition and even “cocky” I had plans of being the next news anchor within a few months.

I remember my excitement at buying new jackets to wear on air along with getting a hairstyle to look the part. When I came back down to earth from having my head in the stars and landing a coveted television job, it was with a thump.

My story was about lamb prices going up and was along the angle that this was positive for farmers. My mistake was I ASSUMED and got it wrong that all of our target market would like that lamb prices were going up. However, while I could’ve made mention that the rising price was a win for farmers, the majority of our audience – the mums and dads in middle-class Australia and butchers onselling lamb wouldn’t be as pleased. (I was clearly not a parent with teens to feed at this time.)

The news director told me my story angle should’ve been that Sunday’s roast lamb dinner just got a whole lot more expensive, maybe even unaffordable. As a consequence to understand my audience, I was sent around with an experienced journalist for a few weeks. I went on stories with him, to the pub, coffee shops, local shopping centers, council and community meetings, to watch how he would connect with our target audience.

I was reminded of the lamb story this week while listening to the latest podcast episode by leading coach for women in business Sonya Stattmann. Her episode was on can you bypass the hardship of setting up a business and still have it sustainable. Sonya was talking about how women must validate their offer and get to know their target market before starting fancy marketing campaigns.

Sonya constantly reminds women you may have a service or offer you think your target market wants but until really talking and connecting with them it’s all just assumption. Both Sonya and I have seen many women preoccupied with fancy marketing campaigns, websites, logos and social media followings but failing to get clients. Simply put, they’re focused on vanity metrics and not truly connecting with their target client.

I have pivoted my career this year with the help of Sonya and am now helping women leaders clarify their story and get exposure for impact. However, if you looked at my website you wouldn’t know this is my new focus. Why? Because I’m still validating my offer and while I desperately want to go and make it all pretty and update my story – it’s simply premature.

I still need to connect more and talk with my target market one on one, work with them to get the message right. Business isn’t about you but the people you serve. Do yourself a favour and take time to listen to Sonya’s podcast so you don’t end up writing a lamb story. If you want help with crafting your story or getting to know your audience, then reach out.