Is your Marketing Campaign in the Cone of Uncertainty?

Living in South Florida we are often carefully watching the projected path of oncoming tropical storms or hurricanes. Technology continues to improve, and forecasted paths are becoming more and more accurate, which got me to thinking…if your marketing campaign was a hurricane, do you know where it’s headed, or is it all one huge cone of uncertainty?

Based on the hundreds if not thousands of conversations we’ve had over the years, (more often than not), marketing representatives do not know what path their campaign is on. They may know certain aspects but overall, you get an uneasy feeling as if the impending storm was whirling out of control.

This brings us back to square one: the target market. The process of digging deep within your customer records and developing a profile of your heavy user, as well as where they come from, and what product or service is in highest demand, are all crucial pieces of identifying this target.

Social Media, and Google analytics can also serve as great tools to help you pinpoint the target market, with all of the rich information you can access. Facebook insights break your fan base down by demographic (male/female broken down by age groups) as well as their geographic location. Our FB page shows that in the past month 57.6% of our fans are made up of males and 20.1% are 18-24 yrs. old. So while we would like to attract an older, decision making base, we have to understand that our current image appeals to a younger demo.

No matter what product or service you sell, there will be a certain segment of the market that makes up the majority of your customer base, and there may very well be a close second, third, etc. The path of your marketing hurricane should be directed at your heavy user, which will have a spillover effect on your secondary market.

If you have an advertising agency, that has not taken the time to clearly identify this target demo with you, and they are presenting marketing and advertising campaigns, why don’t you ask them what are they basing their strategy on? I’ve seen it over and over where an agency and a client get hooked on the most ‘creative’ idea regardless of how it’s going to resonate with their target market. Those campaigns are doomed to fail, and in hurricane terms – turn into a fish storm – that just whirls out to sea and nobody takes any notice of it.

If you feel your marketing campaign is languishing in a huge cone of uncertainty contact us for a Free Media Audit, so we can help you identify these issues and get you back on the right path.

All advertising (just like politics) is local!

I realize that at the very upper tier of multi-billion dollar industries, there is ‘formulaic’ type of advertising that can be applied with a very broad stroke, and effectively communicate that company’s message. It is the epitome of what we in the advertising world call ‘branding’.

I saw a title of book once called ‘branding only works on cattle’. That message was so strong; I actually didn’t even have to read the book to ‘get it’.

One of our most recent accounts has over 20 optical stores in 11 different states. Since its launch about 6 years ago, the company has applied a marketing strategy that uses the same message / commercial or advertising campaign in each market.

The hi-gloss commercials with cool visual effects are well done, the offers are great and the message is clear, however sales are soft, and some markets are losing share rapidly. Why does this approach work in some markets and not in others, when the media mix and support is practically the same?

Well, as it turns out – all advertising just like politics is local. America is a vast nation with many different personalities. There are stark contrasts even within the same communities, let alone across borders and regions. That same slick commercial that works in upper-income pockets of Sacramento has very little appeal to hard working blue collar towns in Ohio.

It doesn’t make any one market better or easier to reach, it proves a point that until you reach a critical mass, based on a saturation of stores with identical products and services, you will need to appeal to the psyche of each market that you are in.

As an agency we always start with the ‘target market’ as in who are you primarily trying to reach. Too often the answer is ‘everybody’ or ‘anybody willing to buy’, but that’s a futile approach. In every business, finding the target market, the ‘heavy user’, the ‘decision maker’ is like tapping into a source of loyal customers and leads that your business can plan around.

Once you have determined that target market, you need to drill down to their tendencies in each particular market. While Soccer Moms from Sacramento share similar traits to Soccer Moms in Ohio, you may still need to appeal to other factors such as price, style, value, selection, convenience, customer service, and so on. Additional considerations include location, competitive offers, reward programs, social awareness and community involvement. This takes a great deal of effort, but the results can create customers for life. I am reminded of the saying ‘people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you’. You may get them in with a great offer, or low price, but keeping them requires a connection.

All of these factors create a profile that allows a brand to plug into and develop a campaign based on connecting on a personal level with its target market. Strategies to quickly ramp up include endorsements by trusted, local personalities, fund raisers, community events, job-fairs, even sales that offer more than just a good price, but add value to the community by accepting donations for a cause, or by partnering with other merchants will take your company from a place to shop or buy from to a place that is part of the fabric of that community.

Locally, Publix a very successful supermarket chain has been using the tag line ‘knowing what you need is important, but knowing who we serve is even more important’, or something to that effect. The commercial shows a local ‘dad’ who’s turn it is to cook dinner again, and other everyday members of the community who count on Publix, and Publix recognizes them by name…Love it!

It may seem a little shallow at first, but if you stay committed and deliver on your word, you will exponentially increase the return of your marketing and advertising efforts, as long as you keep in mind that all advertising is local.