With so many things demanding your business’s time and resources, it’s hard to know where to focus your marketing efforts. Every day new social media platforms are launching, new print mediums are hitting the market, and more and more competitors are vying for your customer’s attention. So how do you decide where to focus your marketing efforts?
#1 Define your audience
Before you do any marketing, you need to decide who is your target customer? “Anyone with money” is not a target customer. Instead, picture the perfect client and write down as many relevant identifiers as you can, such as demographic information (age, gender, occupation), psychological information (values, preferences), and needs (more time, better information, thicker hair). Then define what need(s) or problem(s) your product or service addresses. This information combined gives you a profile of your target customer.
#2 Go where the customer is
My dad always said, “if you want fish for dinner, you first have to go where the fish are.” In other words, invest in channels in which your customer is already engaged and actively participating. It doesn’t do you any good to waste time in marketing channels that don’t reach your audience. You can determine which channels and media outlets attract your audience in a few ways:
Google It: You’d be amazed at the amount of data and research that is available today. Just type in “buying habits of millennial females” or “market research on Seattle professionals” and a plethora of reports, articles, and studies will pop up.
Go to the Media: Each media outlet provides an audience breakdown in their media/advertising kits. Most publications and news outlets make this information available on their websites.
Refer to the Experts: Marketing and PR associations and publications regularly post current data on markets and marketing channels. Some to check out are the Advertising Federation, the American Marketing Association, the Strategic Marketing Association, and the Business Marketing Association, to name a few.
#3 Know your capabilities
Now that you know what channels cater to your audience, you need to decide what capabilities you have to invest in those channels. This includes time, money, technology, knowledge capital, and manpower. Start by investing in those channels that match your current capabilities and which meet the “highest and best use” test. Don’t stretch yourself thin or dive into new channels before you have the resources to fully commit to those channels. Its better to do really well and make a positive connection with customers in a few areas, rather than leave a weak or bad impression in a channel you’re not prepared for. Once you see traction and have built up your capabilities, then you can branch out and test new waters.
But most of all, don’t feel like you have to jump on every social media platform, marketing trend, or tactic out there. Facebook doesn’t make sense for every business just like every company doesn’t need a fifty-page brochure. Every company is unique, so when deciding where to focus your marketing efforts you need to do what’s best for your business and your customer, not some marketing professional’s portfolio.