Apprentice Marketing Mistake

bulls eyeMy wife and I really enjoy watching the Celebrity Apprentice each season, and this year is no exception.

I know for myself, I like watching the ideas and creativity they come up with. But something has caught my attention on almost every episode this season.

At first I tried to keep it to myself then I mentioned it to my wife, and then it almost became as bad as when I start shouting the words to the players on Wheel of Fortune.

What am I screaming at them? What is it they’re missing?


Let me explain in case you’ve never seen the show. Usually a friend of Mr. Trumps will bring their business in and look for some new marketing message, video, or promotion. Each of the two teams will go back to their “war” rooms and come up with an idea about the product. As they’re brainstorming an executive from the company for the product they’re creating a marketing strategy for will come and answer questions.

This is the point I start squirming and trying to restrain myself.

You see they ask the exec all kinds of questions but I’ve yet to hear them ask “who’s your target market?” Now maybe they don’t show that part, or gets edited as not important or what ever but it drives me crazy!

This is one of the most important thing you need to know before you can even think about marketing a product. You have to know all about that person who will eventually buy your product.

Why is this so important?

It’s important because you need to use the words they use, use the colors they like, create a brand that appeals to them, think like they think. By knowing this information you will spend a lot less on your marketing efforts because you’ve narrowed the playing field of who you need to sell too.

Why spend tons of money marketing general terms, and trying to appeal to everyone, when you know your product isn’t for everyone.

Yeah sure we’d like to think that the whole population of the world wants our orange, doublesided, self adhesive widget. But we have to face the facts that not everyone wants or needs one.

Maybe this will help a little, in a copy writing course I took with my friend Lorrie Morgan Ferrero of – she told us she goes as far as what the person might look like or wear, even possibly name the person, so that when she’s creating her marketing messages, letters she knows exactly who she’s talking to.

I hope you’ve taken the time to figure out who your target market is. If not, you still can. Take a time out, think about it and refocus your marketing.

As always feel free to leave a comment if you have thoughts about determining YOUR target market. Maybe share ideas you use to determine who your market is.

About Frank Deardurff

My Passion is my Faith, Family, Love for Music, Art and Photography. I myself have delivered many of my own training courses as well as webinars and teleseminars for many other coaching groups. I’ve also published a book titled “50 Biggest Website Mistakes”. Having many decades of experience in various forms of graphics and IT experience and aspects of online business, my vision is to help others overcome their fears and frustration with taking their businesses online and reach the next level of success.


  1. Cathy Goodwin on March 21, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    I’m a fan of the show also, although I think Trump was being totally unfair to the Andretti contestant; the forums have buzzed with suggestions that Trump had negotiated with Buick ahead of time to get the Andretti endorsement cheap.

    We have to remember that these celebrities aren’t business people or marketers. They have no training in marketing, let alone copywriting. They’re not usually running teams or working with others as peers in their everyday life. So they really are fish out of water here. It’s entertainment!

    As you said, they edit a lot too. Remember that basketball star – Dennis Rodman? He was shown as lazy? One of the other contestants told a talk show that Dennis worked his butt off; the editing showed him as sleeping to make a better story.

  2. Linda on March 21, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Great post Frank! I don’t get to watch it often but I enjoy seeing what business decisions are made and how Trump handles the results. Although much of it is staged, it is entertaining.

    Most of the celebrities are so full of themselves that they can’t figure out the right market. (They are good at bringing in contributors to support some cause.) But those of us running our own business or coaching others know the importance of understanding who we are targeting.

  3. Frank Deardurff III on March 21, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    I agree with you both – I think I’d like to see the show just once with out edits, I think some of the best celebs are not shown completely because they don’t bring that “drama” to the show. I do think many of these stars though do know marketing somewhat, I guess maybe they’ve had coaching or managers that’s helped get them there but the have to realize they are their brand which is a whole different blog post LOL, but a very key marketing point.

  4. Donald on March 21, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Daahhhh! Entertainment!! Frank. I enjoy the show,well, the final portion–for a different purpose:To watch the final scene and see how celebs show their human behind-the-scenes-but-not-really, just a moment in public’s eye.

    It’s always clear to me that the target prospect is exactly what the promoters put out as bait. That’s why Andrietti did and should have lost: not realizing HE is the branding iron, I disagree with Trump (as is Trump–that’s why you watch the show!!!) and the the team leader deserved to go, not because he was team leader. He failed because he became the ENTIRE ‘entity,’ He should have stacked the action to lead up to the BRANDING IRON. His ego got in the way, the felt need to prove himself, not as an entertainer–which the world knew already–but to show to Trump’s AUDIENCE what many of them did NOT know: That ANDRIETTI’s BRAND was to be married to the dang’s auto’s brand.

    Finally, Dear Frank & wife, get over it. Think of it: If you didn’t realize it, and if the sponsors were as senstive as you, you’d be outta business, no?

    On the last go round: In my view, the women won, ‘cept for one thing: we’d a lost out on the women’s cat fight among the losers.

    The merit the show gave the last two audiences: The team ‘losing’ team leaders have garnered for themselves lots of respect, not just their own self-respect they left with, but that of the public as well, in my view. I think they showed the American spirit to be far superior to Trump and his ethics, ‘except they all know: Its ENTERTAINMENT: to be in it to win it-is the game the GAME show goes by. It is refreshing to see, some people transcend the game.

    What do you all think?
    I’d like to know.
    P.S., so would Frank, ya know, it’s his blog

  5. Frank Deardurff III on March 21, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    Donald – I agree with most of that. I was mainly focusing on the point that none of the episodes that focused on a product they never checked to see whom the sponsor wanted to target yeah you could “guess” but why would you want to?

    As for the Andretti thing I see both sides, yeah Andretti “should” have owned it, but he’s a racer not a spokes person and obviously not comfortable speaking. Yeah he had the name and the knowledge. I think Adam should’ve worked him in more and maybe rehearsed with him to allow him to get comfortable with it and they both would still be there. – I think Mr. Trump was a little (ok a lot) miffed that Andretti didn’t play a bigger role.

    It IS as you say all entertainment and drama sells. I was surprised not to see a country star this time considering how well Trace Adkins and John Rich did. Toby Keith would be a big draw on the show I think.

  6. Jack Thomas on March 22, 2012 at 9:10 am

    You have to be careful what you’re copying or imitating, for instance if Steve Job’s decided to copy the rest of what people were doing back in his day where would we be without the iPad or the iPhone? So I agree that you need to know what your target market is, but ingenuity and creativity is the best recipe for success in anything that you’re marketing.

  7. Joshua on March 23, 2012 at 11:44 am


    I agree with you if you are doing something different like Steve was with those devices, but this is for existing products with in almost all cases clearly defined target markets, and these celebs aren’t doing their research completely

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