When I work with clients, I get a LOT of “pushback” when it comes to identifying their target market. The reactions I’ve had to the premise of identifying a target audience range from mild annoyance to completely horrified. In a couple of cases, you’d have thought I was asking my client which foot to remove with a hack saw.
For some reason, most business owners think that by targeting “someone” they’re excluding someone else. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Instead – by targeting your marketing communications to “someone” – you avoid talking to “no one”.
The other day, my 16 year old son passed through the family room as I was watching live television. There was a commercial airing at the time and he said, “Oh – they changed their advertising. They used to use an animated character in their commercials.”
A few days later, I was watching television with him and that company is STILL using a cutesy animated character in the commercials – but they only air those commercials on channels targeted towards younger viewers.
At that moment, I realized that part of the reason my clients fight so hard on this issue is they don’t see what goes on “behind the scenes” in marketing and advertising at this big successful companies.
Recently, I’ve been watching shows on Food Network and some big advertisers have really taken this “tightly targeting” issue to heart. Smart advertisers are running television ads created ESPECIALLY for Food Network. These ads are like mini cooking shows.
The most recent one I saw showed how to take last night’s leftover chicken and – with a few items available at Walmart – you can make chicken pot pie tonight with the leftovers. Even though I had recorded the program and was fast forwarding through commercials – that commercial got me to stop and watch.
In my book –Beyond the Niche: Essential Tools You Need to Create Marketing Messages that Deliver Results I talk about how important it is to create marketing and advertising messages with your target audience in mind. Last night I must have fast forwarded through dozens of generic commercials – only to have a commercial from WALMART of all places reach out and “grab” my attention.
I quit shopping at Walmart years ago due to “quality” issues. Low prices means nothing when the bag of carrots you just purchased and brought home are slimy. At that point in time, I realized I would pay three times what I saved in gas costs to return the rotten food.
Sorry Walmart – it was a great ad. It got me to stop and watch. Unfortunately, it reminded me of why I don’t shop at Walmart anymore. No matter how great the ad, I’ll stick with shopping for groceries at Publix.
Which of course brings up the point of how advertising can’t save a poorly run business. More often than not, an effective advertising campaign will only serve to drive a poorly run business out of business faster.