“You can’t please all the people all the time.”
Familiar? Of course it is. As a marketer I’d tweak it a bit to “You can’t appeal to all the people all the time”.
This folks, is why I want to talk about tossing traditional ideas about marketing out the window so we can explore something better!
The general idea behind traditional marketing, what I lovingly refer to as “Marketing to the Masses”, is that you throw a sales pitch out to as many people as possible, hoping that some small percent will find it relevant, and respond. Right?
Radio really comes to mind here.
There is so much noise that even the reps will tell you..you need to buy more ads more often just to get through. If their listeners hear from you often enough, eventually they’ll remember what you said.
It’s madness out there, but that’s not the only option!
What if, rather than sending a general message out to a diverse group of people, we send a specific message out to a highly targeted group of people. What if we tailored our marketing to reach and speak directly to our ideal customers?
Let that sink in for a minute…
What if we tailored our marketing to reach and speak directly to our ideal customers?
Sound too limiting? Risky? It’s not, and many other very successful big brands do it all the time – you probably just don’t realize, because chances are, you find this kind of marketing more helpful than annoying.
Beer companies know all about laser targeting. Yes, they can market to the general public, but, beer companies know they have an ideal, target audience – most likely to purchase their brand.
Heck, in many cases a brand (and I’m not just talking about beer) is created to fill a gap (need) in the market, and not the other way around. But that’s a whole other topic.
Back to beer.
In general though…if you notice how Bud Light positions themselves, the style of their advertising, their voice, their marketing campaigns, you can see they have a very clear idea who their target audience is.
Bud Light’s marketing and advertising won’t appeal to everyone, but they’d be foolish to devote the bulk of their strategy to the general, beer drinking public.
Laser targeting allows companies like Bud Light to speak to their market, give them what they want and need, and sell more stuff by standing out from the crowd!
In a few minutes we’ll talk about how you can apply this concept to your business or brand. First some benefits…
Benefits of Laser Targeting
- Higher Conversion Rates: Your message speaks directly to the consumer’s needs, desires or pain points = higher conversion rates.
- More helpful for the consumer: your focus is on showing them products/services relevant to their needs and lifestyle.
- You’ll spend less time with prospects that aren’t a good fit.
- You’ll steal business from the competition.
- The focus is on your unique value = less likely to become a commodity and compete on price alone.
- Your ideal customers will recognize you as the go-to source when they need what you sell.
- Receive more qualified leads.
- Shorter sales cycle.
How Laser Targeting Works
Let’s walk through the same process I take my clients through to clearly identify their ideal customers. This is an exercise you’ll want to do together with your management and/or marketing team.
Get out a pen and paper, go through all these questions and jot down what you come up with. These lists aren’t exhaustive, I add and take away as needed on a case by case basis…and you can too!
First, Know Your Brand
I’ll assume you already have a defined brand.
- What words would most closely describe your brand? (ex. reliable, edgy, smart, youthful, fun, family-orientated, innovative, traditional, comfortable, luxury, eco-friendly, healthy)
- If you’re part of a larger brand or franchise (such as a restaurant chain or auto dealership) it’s important to understand the approach National is taking to marketing. Jot this down (ex. focus on families, women, retirees, casual, formal). What type of campaigns are they running in your market?
Second, Know Your Ideal Customer
Your ideal customer is a profile of the person who will be most attracted to your brand. You’ll probably have more than one profile when you’re done, and that’s OK!
Just remember to be as specific as possible – your ideal customer is not “any living, breathing human being”. You have a unique brand – own it!
Knowing your value enables you to better serve your market!
Answer these questions as they apply to your ideal customer…
- What is his or her age range?
- Married, single, divorced?
- Does he or she have children?
- What type of job do they have?
- What are their hobbies and interests?
- How and where does this person spend their time?
- What do their favorite brands represent?
- What is their annual income?
- How does he or she consume media?
- What is this person afraid of?
- What do they need?
- What do they dream of having…being…doing?
I know some businesses that have profiles as specific as an exact company, job title (ex. Dentists), life stage (ex. engaged) or interest (ex. hockey player). The more specialized your product the more important this exercise is.
When you’re done, you should have a very clear picture of your ideal customers – this group will be most interested in the value you offer, and you’re going to target them with your marketing strategy.
This is Powerful!
Laser targeting cuts through all the other noisy interruptions,
and positions your brand as the trusted advisor, friend, ass-saver.
Examples of Laser Targeting
Let’s run through some examples of laser targeted marketing. Some will work for you, others not so much, you’ll even add some of your own.
The basic strategy here is to think about this person in relation to where and how they spend their time, what media they consume, problems they have that you can solve, desires that your products/services fulfill, and so on.
Ask questions like these…
- What events would this person attend that we should sponsor?
- What specialized media do they consume that we should advertise in, or contribute content to?
- What websites do they visit on a regular basis?
- What could we offer of value to this person, at no charge, to introduce ourselves or create a relationship? (ex. a blog, a contest, an event, a free workshop, a webinar, a sample)
- Does this person likely have friends who are already familiar with our brand? How could we tap into our existing customer base for referrals?
- Is there a special event we should attend or get involved with that tends to attract a lot of … dentists, hockey players, engaged women?
- Where and how do they spend their free time? Are there opportunities to get exposure in these places?
- Could we form a mutually beneficial relationship with a non competing company they already do business with? (ex. a golf course offers a complimentary round of golf to anyone who stays two nights at a nearby resort)
Key Aspect of Laser Targeting: Your Unique Message
Not only are you laser targeting a certain demographic…you’re laser targeting your message and how you deliver it – so the message speaks to the person.
This is where knowing your brand comes in. For example, if you sell a line of packaged food, and your brand is “healthy”, you probably identified an ideal customer who is health conscious. So…your marketing message will involve conveying why your product is a smart, healthy choice. Make sense?
To Recap – How to Laser Target Your Marketing:
- Know Your Brand
- Know Your Ideal Customer
- Determine Your Strategy & Share Your Message
There is so much more I could say on this topic, and I will, in future blog posts. Feel free to share in the comments below if there is something specific you’d like me to address in a future post. Would love to hear how you applied laser targeting to your marketing strategy!
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