Recently a business owner friend of mine asked me to have a look at the newspaper ad he’d been running.
“It’s nice”, I said cautiously, “except… it’s not clear on exactly what you sell, the benefits you provide, why people should visit or even who it is you’re talking to”.
“Ah sure it’s just to get my name out there somehow. None of my customers probably even read that paper anyway”, he abruptly replied.
When my eyes returned from the heavens, I asked him to put the kettle on. This would take a while.
You can’t hit a target that you can’t see.
Why do so many companies send out the same marketing messages month after month not knowing exactly who they’re aiming at?
Every business has an ideal customer. Or at least an ideal customer type. If you’re not clear on who that is, you’re doing one of two things no business can afford to do. Either you’re spending more than you need to on marketing, or you’re not attracting enough customers.
Do not despair.
Understanding your customer properly may take some time and effort but you’ll be glad you took that time.
Start by creating 3 – 5 customer personas, depending on the type of product or service you sell. This will inform you on how best to speak to them and what they need to hear. As this is a DIY article I won’t go into advanced research methods, for now common sense will do.
Ask yourself, your colleagues and even existing customers to help you answer the following questions for each persona:
How old are they? Are they married, working or staying home with the kids?
Where do they live? Are they educated? Do they drive or use public transport?
What’s the household income? What’s important to them: quality, price or style? Are they on social media? What paper or magazine do they read?
What are they like? Where do they go and with whom? What are they into?
How busy are they? How can your company improve their situation?
I could go on but you get the point. With further research you can find out how many of these people actually exist, essentially learning the true size of your market. For now though we’ll concentrate on who they are. Get to it.
If you’ve answered most of the above I have great news.
By now you’ll have begun to understand which channels they’re most likely to come into contact with your message through.
And you’ll have an idea what tone, images and benefits they’ll respond to best. And, maybe more importantly, which ones they won’t.
To illustrate this point, watch the following two videos and try to reverse engineer Dove’s persona building process. Dove is selling what is basically the same product here but to two different personas.
I think it’s a fantastic example. And I love the moisturising technology and unloved armpit concepts.
They’re both fun adverts. Both selling basically the same product but in different packaging. Their personas are probably identical in many ways – salary, lifestyle and education, but the approaches needed to reach men and women are poles apart.
Using what we’ve discussed here today will make a huge difference to your marketing and advertising results. This process can be time consuming and many businesses will hire a marketer to do everything for them. Whether you’re spending time or money though, the process will ultimately pay for itself.
Thank you for reading.
image from freeimages