Know your audience!

Not long ago I was sitting with a potential client who after some discussion made this statement, 'Radio is just not working for us right now'.  I had heard his ad on different stations in town and was certainly familiar with his product and even though the relationship with this client was somewhat new I felt bold enough to say, 'I'm not surprised'.  He started to respond then stopped mid word and just looked at me as if to say, what?

After a few moments of silence I went on to explain my statement.

He was advertising a product and service whose largest and most interested audience was female. His commercial spoke to women, voiced by a woman and used language that created a comfort level with women but he was advertising on a group of radio stations that catered to MEN!  

No wonder radio wasn't 'working' for him right now, he was looking for customers in possibly the wrong place and certainly the wrong way in that place.   A good sales person may take the buy and then should work with the advertiser to change the message or method to speak to that particular audience.

He told me that he went with stations he liked and knew they were popular.  That is one of the biggest mistakes advertisers make; not knowing your audience.

So how does an advertiser begin to know it's customer or audience?

First, look for and work with a good salesperson who has the heart of a teacher and can help you in this process.  While you are looking here are a few other question to ask yourself to get you started.

What are you selling?  What is your product?  Who buys it?   Is it a child, teenager, adult. You don't want to market a product to a child that is most suitable for an adult.

What is the gender of your audience? Is it male or female? You can't very well sell female products to males.

How would you talk to the opposite gender about your product?

How much does your product cost?  Are you trying to market luxury items to them?   If so then your potential customer needs to be at a certain income level.  You need to determine what your customers can and cannot afford.

Is this something that they're willing to save money for or that they have to purchase at this specific time?

Which, if any, special features are most appealing?

Is this product or service an impulse buy or is this something someone is saving for? 

The more you know and understand your product and who buys it or uses it the better you know about potential future customers.  

Stop it! Stop it now!

I see this frequently and hear it just as often, 'For all your [blank] needs'. 

Stop it!  Stop it now!


You mean beside the fact that it's a cliche'?  How about the fact that it's the go to phrase when a business can't think of anything else to say.  It practically screams, bad marketing!

Take this heating and cooling place in the photo.  The service they offer is pretty good, they actually treat the air you breathe in addition to keeping you cool in the summer and warm in the winter but that phrase is the most creative they can be?  How about saying instead, 'So and So Heating and Air, because nothing is more important than the air you breathe'.

I can't totally blame the business, they are not marketing experts and they they don't try to be.  They are just trying to get their business moving in the right direction and they then depend on us in the business to help point them in the right direction.  That's who I really blame!

It is our responsibility to come along side these clients of ours and give them straight advise and wise counsel and hopefully help guard them from making marketing mis-steps.

When I sit with a client after the sale and we're talking commercial copy, it's possible they will say, 'I sell insurance so make sure you have them put in the commercial come to XYZ Insurance for all their insurance needs'.  That's when it's time to do our job.  We should not allow a do nothing phrase like that to pass for acceptable marketing.  It does nothing to set our client apart from the rest of the market and I would argue that allowing that gives our reputation as an industry a black-eye.

So when this happens that I like to drill a little deeper with the client and ask why should someone come to you for insurance?  This often begins a conversation that ends up with a unique difference that is certainly worthy of putting in their commercial and maybe even incorporating into their overall marketing plan.  

For instance I know of a wrecker service that has the tag line, 'we meet by accident'.  Love it!

Get creative and let's do marketing better for them, for you, for all of us.