We’ve often heard as marketers it’s important for us to “know our target”. Why is that? Not only does it allow you to determine the best course of action in your strategic marketing plan, but it does something equally, if not more important – it sets you up for success.
Can you imagine if you didn’t intimately know your audience, the types of mistakes that could be made in communicating? Pepsi, anyone? A few years ago, they launched a commercial that they spent millions of dollars on, only to find out that it fell flat with their core consumer and actually enraged them. There are countless stories about brands not staying in tune with their target. (Here are just a few: https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.creativebloq.com/amp/features/4-ads-that-tried-to-be-cool-but-failed)
And it’s getting harder. Today, there are so many messages to gravitate towards and different themes to incorporate, it is even easier to get it wrong and harder to get it right. If you over-extend your brand messaging to try and play on a theme or message that is not authentic to you or your audience, all you will do is alienate them. It will be a costly mistake. Not only in the cost of the ad, but additional loss of sales. There was a commercial that was recently brought to my attention by an older demographic. It was for an iconic brand that in their words “forced” a message on them. The irony is, they ultimately support the message, but because it was done in such a seemingly disingenuous way, and for a product and brand that truly has nothing to do with what they were preaching, it fell flat and not only is garnering them some negative word of mouth (which can spread faster than positive!) but these people will not be buying that product again anytime soon (91% of unhappy customers will not buy from a company they’ve had a bad experience with!).
It’s bad for business all around, so what do you do to be sure you understand your target audience?
Enter #Psychographics and #Channels. While demographics will tell you the “what”, and are extremely important, as our society continues to shift, divide and identify with cross-pollinated themes, it is incredibly important to understand the “who”. What motivates them? Why? What is the root cause for those decisions? Where will you find this audience? Digital, social, print, radio, OTT? You will find, much like in relationships, if you dig deeper, you will better understand the other’s “truth”, and it will make you a better more insightful partner – and may even dispel some preconceived notions if you were to only rely on “what” they are.
So it is for your company, and its communications. Consider two things: first, the “how” of your messaging, because channel identification is infinitely important and can help streamline budgets, it is essential to reach your target where they are, so you don’t misfire and risk your message completely passing them by. Second, you need to be sure you are messaging with laser focus on what your audience wants to hear…and needs to hear – as much as what they DON’T want to hear! Sometimes the negative space can be more telling than the positive…
Strategic marketing is becoming more and more entwined with psychology, with a special emphasis on understanding true motivation in order to know how communications will land (or won’t). Take the time to get to know your customer beyond their “what” as you do in your own personal relationships, and you will hit the mark every time – and possibly even broaden awareness among a whole new “psychographic” you had been missing!
Stay tuned for more from TCS next month!
Sarah Heximer, Owner & Chief Visionary Officer