By Ann Bouchard, President, Bouchard Communications Group/Matrix Manager
There is no question that marketing, advertising and public relations are all disciplines that help businesses grow. Yet so much has changed in the past decade, that communications professionals (who now have more options and strategic directions to choose from than ever before), are feeling overwhelmed and under informed.
Gone are the days when businesses created one message and broadcasted it to the widest audience possible, in hopes of achieving a 1-3% response rate. Today, everything boils down to reaching the right audience, with the right message, at the right time and through the right medium.
The average consumer is exposed to over 3,000 advertising messages per day, and less than 3% of those messages resonate. And when social media impressions are factored in, the exposure rate is exponentially higher. This results in consumers tuning out to most promotional messages.
So how does a marketer know the best strategies to employ? Or even the first place to start? The answer is simple – get to know your audience. By knowing and understanding who your target audience is, you’ll be able to easily select the marketing mediums, messages and visuals that will resonate with your prospects.
One of the best places to start is by taking an in-depth look at your existing customers. They can be profiled based on the information maintained in your database, as well as appended data which can be purchased through third party data providers. A few examples of the types of data used to profile current and prospective customers are as follows:
Demographics: Age, income, number of children, profession
Geographic: Location of home, Location of work
Psychographics: Attitudes, behaviors, lifestyle, interests, activities
Buying Patterns: Types of purchases, frequency of purchases, amount spent, profitability
Generational: Based on experience, generation, attitudes and beliefs of an era
As an example, a recent client was looking to increase the sales of life insurance in this difficult economy where very few are looking to make this type of purchase. The first task was to look at the client’s most recent customers who had purchased life insurance. Why had they made the purchase? What did those customers look like? How many other people who looked like those customers could we target?
What we found is that many of the recent life insurance purchases were made by adults 35 and older, who had recently experienced a significant life event. Significant life events are occurrences such as the purchase of a new home, a marriage, the birth of a child or even a divorce. By profiling the people who had recently made purchases, we were able to develop a target of those who were most likely to purchase life insurance in the near future. With that target audience defined, we were able to easily develop a communication plan that would reach our prospects through mediums that they were most likely to use and respond to, with messages that were relevant and timely.
Once you’ve had an opportunity to analyze your current customers and/or profile your target audience, you’ll be ready to begin working on the development of your overall campaign strategy and communications plan.