Advertising can be the highest cost tool in your marketing mix, so advertising in an effective AND cost efficient way is essential. I see so many TV and print ads for very specific products and services in shows and publications aimed at large audiences. (OK, I get that a Superbowl ad does get you seats to the game. Very expensive seats…)
Before creating a marketing plan, ensure you have your target market defined as precisely as possible. How? You and your marketing team need to answer the following three questions:
- Who are they? For b-to-b businesses, this will entail listing all types of companies you believe need your product or service. Then narrow that list by delineating size of business and geographic location. For b-to-c, paint an image of your target consumer using all appropriate descriptors such as age range, profession, family status, gender, income level, education and geography. For all businesses, make your definitions as narrow as possible, you can always broaden them later.
- What need do you fill for them? Check your value statement (or create one, if you haven’t). Why do they need you? What are their challenges and how can you help them? You’re up against a lot of competition and noise, so it’s imperative that you clearly define not only what you sell, but why your product or service is better/different than what’s out there. It is possible that the need is not one they currently recognize, and many of your marketing dollars will need to be spent on educating the market as to what the need is.
- Where and how do they get their information? What print and online resources do they read? To which professional and social organizations do they belong? What conventions, training, meetings, festivals and clubs do they attend? What are the sources of information they trust?
Clearly, this is not a quick exercise, but worth the time and effort. Once accomplished, a smart strategic marketing plan may be created to effectively target your market in a cost-efficient way. Should you wish help with defining, then creating a plan to reach and convert your target market, we would be happy to assist – this is what we do best!