Tag Archives: Marketing messages

Do You Understand Your Target Market?

957450_33460069One of the first questions I ask any client that I begin work with is, “who do you think is your target market?” There are many times where this question has never been asked and therefore I’m met with a blank stare. If the answer comes back as “everyone,” then I know we have some work to do. You may have the most amazing product ever invented in humankind but I’m sorry, it’s not for everyone.

It’s always best to start with a definition, no matter how simple we may think a concept is. A target market is a group of customers towards which a business has decided to aim its marketing efforts and ultimately its products and or services.

A target market can be defined by a set of characteristics that the entire group has in common. These characteristics give insight into how we might expect the target market to behave under different circumstances or in reaction to different marketing messages.

I recommend starting with your very best customer, because that’s who we want to find more of. Think in terms of what customer you absolutely love working with? How would you define them? Who are they? Are they male or female? How educated are they? What age are they? How did they learn of your product or service? Do they live in a certain area? How was the buying process? If applicable, have they been a repeat buyer? The more specific you can be here, the better.

Given that you want to clone this kind of customer and find many more just like them, let’s explore more about what was behind their purchase. Ask the question: Why did you buy from my company? I actually like to ask this question in person, through a survey.

On a very fundamental level, people make a decision to purchase something in an effort to increase pleasure or reduce pain. However, the answers you receive to the question above, why did they buy from you, will fall into one of two categories. Either the rational behind their decision was due to the attributes (or features) of your product or service, or your product or service was in sync with their emotional motivation for buying.

Examples of Product Attributes:

  • Price – Your price was competitive or in line with perceived value
  • Quality – Your product or service meets minimum quality requirements
  • Features – Your product has the features that I require
  • Service – You have the capabilities to provide service after the sale
  • Past History – There is a track record of positive experiences from others
  • Popularity/Sexiness – Your product has that “thing”

Examples of Emotional Motivators

  • Trust – I have faith that your product or service will perform as marketed
  • Communication – The sales person answered my questions and explained things to my satisfaction
  • Relationships – Over a period of time I feel I know the human side of your company. I like working with you
  • Fear – I don’t want to make a mistake that will cost me money or my job
  • Confidence – This decision feels right
  • Impatience – I don’t really want to wait any longer or shop more
  • Need – I am strongly compelled to move forward with this purchase
  • Desire for acceptance – I want to be like the people that own this product

As you collect the answers to your survey, you can use these product attributes and emotional motivators to define the kind of marketing message that you communicate. If these resonated with your current best customers, then they will likely resonate with potential best customers.

Happy hunting and I would love to hear your comments.


DIY YouTube Videos May Not Be The Right Choice

You’re the kind of person that prefers to talk to people face to face. You have more success when people can actually see you in person.  Your storytelling improves so much more when your listener can look in your eyes. Video is the perfect fit for you to tell your stories and YouTube makes that so much easier.  Of course, being the “roll up your sleeves” kind of person you decide, heck, I can do my own videos and post them myself.

Well, here’s a list of reasons why you may want to reconsider doing your own YouTube videos. Certainly there is an argument to having something out there that looks way too polished and therefore not honest, but it’s worth at least considering the alternative of having someone help you with your videos.

  1. Your “brand” is what people perceive you to be. When an individual is looking at you to provide them a product or service, TRUST can be a huge factor in that decision process. A professionally produced video shows you to be a professional at what you do. People want to know they are dealing with a company that won’t cut corners on the products or services they provide. A DIY video adds an unnecessary risk that a potential customer may get the wrong idea.
  2. People absorb information in different ways. I like to augment what is being said and shown on video with written text. These graphics can help cement your message and help some people with their recall. Some folks will respond to the written text coupled with hearing you say it. Do you know enough about editing video to be able to seamlessly incorporate text and graphics into your videos?
  3. Editing video can take time. Will you have the time to learn and execute something you do not do on a regular basis?
  4. Having someone to “direct” you can bring out the best in you and how you tell your story. During the DIY recording, you may not notice certain things that you do or expressions on your face that can send potentially negative messages. Maybe it’s the way you roll your eyes, or the way you look up to remember what you wanted to say. It’s been said that when people look up, they may not be telling the truth. These subtle nuances can get magnified under the camera’s eye.
  5. Do you have an impartial ear that can tell you whether your message is pertinent, interesting, understandable and worth coming back to see more?
  6. Were you aware that anything longer than about 2.5 minutes, unless it is really attention getting, will not be viewed? The idea is to get people to come back. If they perceive that “oh, the last video I watched was so long,” then not only will they not come back, but they won’t share your video with their acquaintances.

Some people will tell you that it doesn’t matter, that the quality of the video can be bad and you can still get you’re point across. I guess it would depend on what product or service you sell. If it’s a commodity, then that’s probably true. If on the other hand, you need to make sure you come across as someone that knows what they’re doing, maybe DIY is not a good choice.

What do you think?


Can’t a Toothbrush Just Be a Toothbrush?

In their constant effort to out-innovate their competition, toothbrush manufacturers have just gone too far. The bristles of the brush are not just bristles, but “rubber massaging arms” designed to stimulate the gums. The arrangement of the bristles is to maximize the ability of your brushing to get into every nook and cranny of your mouth. Your life is improved because we took the time to arrange these bristles in just such a way. Who’s job is it to come up with this stuff?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am a big believer in oral hygiene and take it very seriously.

Granted, from a marketing perspective, it is always good to be improving your product, but this has gone too far. Now the handle is “ergonomically” designed to fit your hand better. Now I don’t know about you, but even though I brush three times a day, I don’t spend more than a couple of minutes in this process. Why in the world does the handle need to fit my hand better, when its total daily use is 6 to 8 minutes? Do they really think that a more comfortable handle will make me brush more times, or longer each time? And all these fancy designs mean that now your toothbrush doesn’t fit into the hole of your toothbrush holder. They’ve actually made it less comfortable and more of a hassle.

Now many of you may say, David, is this really a battle worth fighting? Aren’t there more important marketing issues you should be addressing with your blog?

My point is this: Once all of the toothbrush manufacturers jump on the “ergonomic handle” bandwagon, then what choice will I have? I can’t not buy a toothbrush. Somewhere, there needs to be a consumer’s voice that says, quit improving something that doesn’t need improving.

Or, maybe I’m just in that kind of mood.

What are your thoughts?


Live by the Data or Die by the Data


I know that there are hardly enough hours in the day to take care of your customers and run the business, let alone, study and correlate all the customer-centric information which is now available at your fingertips. But, it’s never been more important than now. As Mr. Dave Frankland, an analyst with Forrester espoused, 2010 and beyond is the “age of the customer.” Customers are in more control than ever, and they are wielding that power by responding to companies that understand them and their needs.


Natalie Zmuda, with Ad Age talks about the obsession with “understanding, delighting, connecting with, and serving customers,” as the only real differentiator that many companies have. I would add to that, the intelligence to predict behavior as well.


Never in history have business owners had such a vast amount of information available to them about their customers’ behavior, which can be a strong predictor of a “potential” customer’s behavior.


Facebook can tell you how many people in your area have expressed interest in what you do based upon specific terms? Google has reams of information available on what people are searching for. There are software companies that have created social media dashboards that provide the ability to see what conversations are taking place about you, whether you “follow” them or not. And just as important, there are your own sales statistics that you keep.


It is not only important to track sales, but also to be able to know the source of the sales lead. Those lead sources should be broken down sufficiently to understand what action the interested party initially took to become a lead. What products were purchased from what lead sources? As an example, if you only track that a sale of product A came from the Internet, what you don’t know is what action was taken. Did the lead fill out a “contact me” form or did they pick up the phone and call you? Did they ask a question through Facebook or were they referred by one of their LinkedIn contacts? Did they click on a QR code that you had on a print advertisement or did they come to you from your YouTube video?


Being able to tie sales back to a very specific lead source allows you to calculate which kind of lead results in the highest likelihood of a sale. Where should you spend precious sales resources to get the highest return? Where should marketing dollars go to stimulate these high value leads? What kind of message is successful in generating quality leads? Would extending that message to other sources for leads generate the same kind of quality lead there? Would it be better to focus on those products that generate the highest margins?


So, your business can prosper by paying attention to the data that’s available or not, it’s up to you. And, if you need some help with this, let us know.


All my best in your “data mining”




Give ‘Em a Mixed Media Message!

Who knows how it began. Did man first begin to communicate over distances by beating a hollow tree trunk or by lighting a torch and standing on the highest ground? Was this just a means of alerting friends to potential danger or were there variable messages governed by the rhythm of the beats or the way a torch was held? Smoke signals by Native Americans or Signal Flags by soldiers were a means of sending variable messages and instructions during war, at least prior to the telegraph and Morse code. And sailors relied heavily upon signal flags and light houses to warn of possible danger.

Regardless how it began, we humans thrive on communication, don’t we? We have created so many ways with which to exchange information and ideas across space and time – radio, TV, CB’s, telephones, email, texting, instant messaging, direct mail, snail mail, webinars, video streaming, YouTube, just to name a few. Whether it’s passive or active forms of communication, it can be pretty mind boggling and the thing is, each of us prefer certain kinds of communication over others. Certain media gets our attention and others don’t.

I have never been big on texting or IM but I use email extensively. Maybe it’s my fat thumbs on my mobile or maybe I just haven’t learned the lingo. I know that probably ages me quite a bit, however I think there’s an important point here. Unless you sell your product or service to a very narrowly defined, niche demographic, you probably need to consider the possibility that it’s going to take a number of different kinds of media to reach everyone in your target market with your marketing message. We all have different preferences for how we would like to be communicated to.

This is why I can really appreciate the concept of asking the question, “How would you like to hear from us?” For customers who have purchased from you or from those who have expressed an interest in your products or services, to ask them how they would prefer to be communicated to, shows that you respect their opinion and their time.

Granted, some of the forms of media cost more. Anyone can tell you that direct mail is not cheap, however if your customer or prospect really wants you hear from you in this way, make sure you comply with that wish.

There are many companies who provide printing and email services who have jumped on the multi-media bandwagon and can provide a cost effective solution to giving your customers their preferences. A sign-up website portal can be an excellent way to be able to respond to individual wishes. The real benefit is that your customers and prospects will appreciate just being asked.

So, in your marketing planning, make sure you are building in the capability to put your marketing message out there in a number of different media. It’s a little harder to manage but well worth the effort.

If there is a concern whether you have the time or abilities in-house to handle this, let us know, we’d be happy to help.


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