Targeting: Your Audience
Your product or service is most likely going to be purchased or used by a definable audience with characteristics that make them more likely to purchase or use your products or services. Identifying exactly what these characteristics are, seeking new leads that match these characteristics and performing some basic research will help you determine how to engage these users and persuade them to become customers. You can even “reverse engineer” user characteristics from a list of existing customers.
For example, if your company specializes in mid-range priced, conventional hearing aids that attach behind the ear, then the most basic components target audience would likely fit the following description: individual that is hard of hearing, would like to improve hearing, and can afford your product. You must then discover more demographics; age, gender and lifestyle habits, etc. Once you have determined the specific criterion that qualifies your target audience, you can then move forward.
Technology: The Channels
Technology has had an indisputable impact on marketing. According to Statista, in 2012, there will be 106.7 million smartphone users in the U.S. Most people will turn to their online search engine to research a business before contacting them. Facebook is one of the most popular websites in the world. And, you probably still get some kind of mail every day of the week. Marketers use each of the following channels based upon their target audience: Email; Direct Mail; Mobile; Online; Print; and Social Media.
Cross-media marketing combines any or all of the multiple different channels, directing the end-user to a different channel to continue communications. When using cross-media marketing, you will learn there are many ways to utilize new marketing technologies to track and measure your marketing efforts. An example would be a postcard that contains a trackable Personalized URL (PURL) that directs the customer to a website. This has made the postcard ‘interactive’, trackable, and utilizes cross-media.
“A 35% improvement in ROI takes place when you combine print with online formats.”
Trackable methods that engage the audience could include a QR code, that is linked to a PURL website. When a user receives a direct mail postcard (print) with a QR code, they scan it with their smartphone (mobile) and are directed to a mobile website, customized for them. This user engagement is a result of innovative technologies that both attract and track the activity of the user. By incorporating trackable technology into your marketing, you are able to effectively collect and analyze the results of your marketing efforts.
ROMI: The Measurement Tools
It is important to establish a foundation for which you measure your results and your return on marketing investment (ROMI). One of the ways to establish this baseline is to first identify the value of a customer. Using a dine-in restaurant as an example, we might ask the value of a single patron based on the amount of the average meal, the number of purchases made per year, and the average “life span” of a customer in years. If a restaurant patron spends an average of $17.95 per visit, visits 5 times per year, but only returns for two years, then that patron’s average lifetime value is $179.50. Therefore, how much money is your business willing to spend to attract this individual patron? Knowing the answer to this question can help you narrow down to whom you market, where you market them, and by reviewing the results, you can determine how much it costs in comparison to the return on your marketing investment (ROMI).
Once collected, you should review and use your data to find opportunities to improve your marketing. This can be done by further refining your target audience, attracting them to the channels they are most likely to respond to, and continuing to measure all results. This is where the marketing cycle begins again, and you are moving towards new goals.
If you’re of the impression that marketing is a complex and time-consuming business function that is something that “only creative people can do”, then chances are, you’re not marketing your business properly.
It’s true, marketing can be very complex and presents its own frustrating challenges, but there are many ways to simplify the process and still be successful in generating leads for your business. The key to producing successful marketing campaigns is to apply a well planned and executed marketing strategy to each of your campaign components.
For the purpose of this discussion, “components” will refer to the three following pieces of your marketing: Targeting, Technology and Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI). The overall goal is to combine these components, so your efforts are focused, content and processes are refined, and your results are trackable.
Marketing: The Process
The marketing process, in its most basic form, is a cycle that begins with establishing goals and objectives. Once your goals are set, you identify the target audience whom you wish to engage, and then determine which marketing channels are most appropriate to reach them.
The next step in the marketing process is to implement and execute the campaign, monitoring and modifying as needed. Once you gather the data and results from your campaign, you may decide to create new goals and objectives and begin the process again.
During this process, you will need to focus your efforts on a specific target audience, refine your content and processes in order to reach that audience, and track your results to effectively calculate your ROMI.