Tag Archives: Target audience

Communications plan or connections plan. Using connection planning to target and engage customers during the buying cycle.

When most marketers develop a communications plan, they start with their product or service, determining the target audience that represents the greatest revenue opportunity.  Smart marketers dig deeper to identify target insights, high-opportunity vertical segments or underdeveloped regions.

But if you want your marketing to go a step further and truly engage with customers, you should establish rich connections based on where they are in the purchase cycle.  This dimension is especially important if you are promoting a product with a long sales cycle, or a B2B brand.

For a prospect to consider selecting your brand, you must first establish a base level of knowledge and trust.  One quarter of the U.S. respondents to Edelman’s 11th Annual Trust Barometer indicated that they needed to hear something about a company 6+ times before they believe it.  Note that they said “hear,” not “be exposed to.”  With advertising exposure exceeding 3,000 messages per day, it is critical that marketers connect with prospects, rather than simply shout at them.

To start creating a connection plan, consider how your brand relates to prospects in each of these stages:

Unaware and Unengaged:  This is the largest, but also the most passive target group.  They have unmet needs, but have yet to begin actively looking for a solution.

Increasingly Interested:  This group has started to show interest in your category and may be attending trade shows, beginning to read relevant articles or looking for informational webinars.

Actively Searching:  Prospects who are actively searching are driven by a pressing need.  They are researching specific solutions and beginning to establish impressions of brands that best fit that need.

Confirming Credentials and Chemistry: This group is actively going through the RFP process (whether formal or not), narrowing their options and determining which brand has the right solution at the right price.

Establishing the Relationship:  Communications shouldn’t stop when the sale is made.  The value that current users place on the relationship will make or break both referrals and incremental sales.

By customizing the media and message to align with each of these stages in the purchase cycle, marketers will have the foundation for a powerful, multi-touchpoint connection plan.

–          Pamela J. Alvord, EVP Managing Director of Strategy and Operations

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Marketing’s Holy Grail

Target audience insight. It’s the “who” of effective marketing strategy. It inspires creative teams to greatness. It makes the difference between good communications and powerful engagement. In short, it’s the Holy Grail to many marketers. Yet the quest to find it can be worthy of an Indiana Jones sequel.

Identifying your target audience is easy. Many strategies simply label the target – Moms. Adults age 25-54. C-level executives. Better strategies dig a layer deeper, describing something about them — Moms who are frustrated because their kids won’t eat healthy foods. Adults age 25-54 who own a car. C-level executives who love golf.

These phrases do describe the target audience, but they still only crack the surface. Where’s the insight? Insight results from painting a complete picture of your target, viewing the world through their eyes.

As an experiment, I recently asked Marketing Discussion Board, How would you describe your job in language a 5-year-old could understand? The responses included:

“I make some of the commercials that you see on TV and in mommy’s magazines.”

“I do things that make people happy to buy stuff.”

“I meet people and request them to buy (my company’s product), the same as I request you to drink milk.”

Someone even said, “I’m guessing, ‘I think s*** up’ probably won’t cut it. So how about…I think up ways to tell people about the stuff companies make, so they can sell it.”

It was apparent that each respondent thought carefully about what would be understandable, important, and appropriate for a 5-year-old. This same skill should guide the development of compelling target audience insight. When you get it right, your marketing will interest, engage, and motivate your target.

Our new B2B campaign for Manheim, the world’s largest wholesale automotive auction, is designed to do exactly that – articulate the benefits of buying and selling vehicles at auction through the eyes of the various personalities that conduct business there.  Whether a Magician or Cowboy, Detective or Prospector, we hope Manheim’s target sees a bit of themselves in the campaign and is more receptive to Manheim’s message as a result.

So before you start your next campaign, dig deep, walk a mile in your target’s shoes and, find out what is really important to them. You’ll be glad you did.

— Pam Alvord, EVP, Chief Brand Strategist


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