Let’s face it, designing an advert or getting some posts out on Facebook feels far more exciting than sitting down and doing some planning and thinking first.
But without this, you will only be sure if a campaign is going to succeed or fail after the event.
Read Time: 6 minutes
The strategy side can be fun, but is also hugely insightful. It not only bolsters your marketing activities, but the information you uncover can also be really valuable in business planning too.
I want to inspire you to take control of the planning process, and back your creative up with the research that proves your going in the right direction!
These are just 3 simple tasks you can get started with right now.
1. Know your audience.
It’s not everyone.
You need to understand who your ideal customers really are. Yes, feasibly you could have a product or service than anyone could buy, but that’s really unhelpful.
You can’t market in this way because all you will get is bland, diluted messaging that targets no one.
You want an example, don’t you? I can feel it… It’s like the hum of static electricity in the air just before a thunderstorm.
Ok then. Take toothpaste.
Perfect example –
Toothpaste, I hope we can agree, is a product that anyone could buy.
Now. Imagine if you took to market a toothpaste that promotes itself to everyone.
Instantly you have a bland, diluted message. All it would take is some other toothpaste company to come along and pick one demographic to market to, and instantly a huge chunk of your customer base is gone.
It’s just like “men’s” shampoo. There is no real difference between a standard bottle of Head & Shoulders and the ‘for men’ variety. It’s just good marketing.
You need to start refining who your target or ideal audience is. So you can refine and target your messaging to these people, in a way that captures their attention. Then you have a chance of success.
These will most likely be your most common customer type and you need to get really specific.
The more specific you can be, the more targeted your campaigns will be and the more chance you have of success.
2. Build customer personas
Customer personas are a great way to build that next level of detail.
If you’re not building them, you should!
It’s a task many find uncomfortable, but when you start to build your target audience into personalities, these characters can sit by your side in every decision you make.
Building a customer persona starts with a long list of questions, which turn into the individual attributes of your persona.
These can include things like their age, what kind of car they drive, where they might shop, what they do in their spare time, their job role and their income bracket.
All of this stuff starts to seek out the kind of morals, values and ethics of those customers, as well as where and how you might be able to reach them.
Take for example the supermarket question.
If someone shops at Aldi, the chances are they’re really price driven. They want to go and get a cheap product at a really competitive price.
Whereas if someone shops at Waitrose, they value the perceived quality of product. And they’re two really different things.
This is a super simple process. You find big lists of questions online that will help you start to build a customer persona.
You may want to build multiple personas. It’s OK to have several customer types because, well, who doesn’t?
Just make sure they are applicable, and not just an excuse to target everyone!
3. Pains and Gains
Your messaging needs to be right. This is a big subject but a great starting point is to map out your target audiences’ pains and gains.
Tapping into emotions is a powerful way to capture attention and engage your audience.
Typically, when we buy something it’s either out of necessity, it’s something that provides a significant convenience in our lives, or it solves a problem. And those are our pains.
Your product or service is going to solve these pains.
The other side of the coin is the gains and that’s where you start to tell them how you’re going to solve that problem, ideally in a benefit laden way.
Hark! Is that the hum of another example in the air?
Right. Let’s look at it this way then.
This is Malcolm. Say Hi Malcolm.
Now Malcolm has a problem.
He’s hungry. He doesn’t have much time as he’s off to a gig. A gig that he’s spent a lot on so he doesn’t particularly want to spend a lot on food.
So, his pains: hungry, time, cost.
Meanwhile (back in the 50s) a couple of brothers invented a burger chain. A burger chain that focused on providing cheap, no-fuss and quick food. It was practically fast food!
Now, what’s the benefits for Malcolm?
Well, he doesn’t have to wait for his food. There’s no hassle having to find a seat or anything – he can literally take the food away. Allowing him to eat it on his way.
The biggest benefit though is that is saves Malcolm time. Time that he doesn’t have to think about preparing a meal. Time involved in creating a meal.
He’s hungry. He doesn’t have much time as he’s off to meet friends. But he’s also on a diet, and doesn’t want to jeopardise his progress.
So, his pains: hungry, time, nutrition.
Well, we all know there’s a very popular sandwich chain, where you can get quick food and make it as healthy as you need to.
Now, what are the benefits for Malcolm?
Well, he doesn’t have to wait for his food, he can take it away saving him even more time. He can also pack his sandwich full of healthy ingredients.
There are many ways this sandwich chain communicate speed, but their main differentiator is the nutritional aspect. So, their strapline… “Eat Fresh”.
We don’t need to set the pain or the problem out on the table. It would be a convoluted message to say “Do you want healthier fast food?”, but also a waste of time – of your targeting the right people, they already know the pain!
And your amazing benefit laden messaging will speak directly to them.
Truly understanding your audience is key for any marketing activity. It allows you to talk to them in their language. It allows you to talk to them in a way they can understand, with messages that they can appreciated.
And when you talk to them in their way, they’re more likely to listen. And when they listen, then they buy.
Struggling to build an audience? Then reach out to our team who would be more than happy to run a customer persona workshop with you.