For years I’ve noticed that, when it comes to marketing, everyone has something to say. Many business owners and managers think that they can handle their own marketing tasks and see the same level of success as if they had partnered with a professional marketing company. In many cases, however, that strategy falls incredibly short, leaving the business owner wondering why his/her marketing strategies aren’t working. The trouble is, people have a lot of opinions, but they have never actually done any of the work to help them achieve those results. The marketing profession is no different than any other. It takes years of study, research, and experience, and even then, there’s more to learn.
What is Marketing Really About?
Marketing is a combination of art, psychology, math, systems engineering, communication, and empathy. It’s a rich and complicated field that requires utilizing both creative and logical techniques–and the strategy that works for one business may not work at all for another. You wouldn’t tell a painter how to use color relationships in the landscape. You wouldn’t tell an MIT mathematician how to do a differential equation, nor would you try to explain to an electrical engineer which chip to spec on the circuit board, and just because you appreciate a good meal doesn’t qualify you to critique a chef on how to develop their plate. In spite of that, however, all too many business owners, entrepreneurs, and managers want to proffer advice on marketing.
“Well, I heard that social media is all the rage these days. I’ll just put together a social media account and start posting!”
Sure, social media is one great piece of the puzzle, and I encourage my clients to make regular use of it. If you’re using social media alone, however, you’re missing out on a vast range of opportunities to really reach your target audience. In order to create an effective marketing campaign, you need to know:
Who is your target audience?
When you consider the ideal customer who comes through your doors, what does that person look like? A marketing campaign designed for a married mother of young children might look very different from a campaign targeted toward senior empty nesters, and a campaign targeted toward college students might look completely different from either one. You need to understand and outline three key audience attributes.
- Audience Demographics (Who Your Customer Is)
- Audience Psychographic (Why That Audience Buys From You)
- Audience Geographic (Where Is Your Audience)
What types of material do the members of your target audience best respond to?
Today’s consumers are inundated by advertisements. They may, in fact, be exposed to between 4,000 and 10,000 per day, from social media ads and display ads to television ads, magazine ads, and radio ads. Most consumers are adept at tuning out ads that aren’t relevant to them. Knowing how to get your target audience to respond involves both math and creativity. You want to do something different: something that will help you stand out within your space. At the same time, you want to be sure that your target audience understands what you’re trying to convey through that ad.
Where can you find the members of your target audience?
You can create stunning ads, websites and other marketing materials, but if you aren’t putting them in the right location, your target audience will never see them–and that means that you’ve wasted both your time and your marketing investment. Imagine, for example, that you created a fantastic blog post for customers looking for tax advice. You spent days crafting solid advice about how to manage their taxes and decrease the amount they have to pay each year, all the while offering solid information about why they would benefit from contacting your financial services practice before they file. Unfortunately, the keywords you highlighted were “financial services” and “accountant.” People looking for information about doing their taxes might never find it, especially since your search ranking is, overall, relatively low.
Likewise, suppose that you have chosen to focus heavily on social media ads. You put together a great advertisement about your sporting goods business, but only put in relatively vague geographic targeting before throwing it up on Facebook. The majority of the people who saw that advertisement did not fit your target audience, which means that you ultimately saw relatively little success from your campaign.
By identifying where you can actually find your target audience, on the other hand, you can often see a much higher degree of success from your campaign. For example, suppose you had targeted that Facebook ad to individuals who had shown an interest in running or visited running-related pages in the past. Suddenly, you might see a much greater increase in your running shoe sales–not to mention the other gear that runners use on a regular basis.
What Does a Marketing Professional Bring to the Table?
As a marketing professional, I have found that I can offer a number of benefits to many people who are trying to get their marketing efforts off the ground. This includes:
More Detailed Market Research
Through my long-term efforts, I have attained a much better view of the overall marketing needs of a variety of businesses. I have a solid understanding of what platforms each generation uses most often, how to do effective keyword research for a specific industry, and what consumers most often want to see. I have advised many business owners about how to tailor their ads to those specific members of their target audience.
Better Marketing Materials
In addition to its more mathematical elements, marketing is an art form. It’s not just about putting together a random combination. Effective marketing utilizes creative materials expressly designed to help appeal to your target audience. An emotional connection with an ad can significantly increase a consumer’s response. I have the skills to help craft those marketing materials and ensure that you have high-quality ads that are more likely to stand out from the crowd, rather than getting lost in the sea of other ads.
In addition to market research and better materials, I help provide my clients with more insight into what their metrics mean and how their campaign is performing. I evaluate those ads at each stage, from their immediate launch to long-term performance, and aid my clients in tweaking them to better reach the needs of their target audience.
Marketing is a much more complex, multi-layered industry than many people think–and trying to DIY your marketing, no matter how well you think you understand it, can prevent you from seeing the return you’re hoping for on your investment. Contact me today for a better look at what marketing really means and how that better understanding can impact your business.