How do I Choose the Right Target Market?

The Right Target Audience

Marketing dog food to a family which doesn’t own dogs would be silly of course. You know your target market is important in creating an effective marketing campaign. When business owners are asked who their audience target is, many businesses may say “everyone” or “anyone interested in our services”. These targets are too general and let’s face it, you won’t be able to please everyone. Targeting a specific audience means you focus your marketing dollars on an audience who is more likely to be your customer. A good starting point is looking at your current customer base and finding similarities, characteristics, and interests between them.

Audience choices are made based on your goal, If you are looking to build brand awareness, a wider audience is best along with a media platform which can reach a wide, yet relevant audience. If the goal is to launch a new product, engaging your current client base is probably your best bet. If the goal is to get new customers to make purchases, it is important to focus on the ideal customer. However, when choosing your target market, keep in mind your audience demographics; age, gender, income, education, marital status etc. Also, consider personality characteristics, including; behavior, lifestyle, values, and attitudes.

For example, a construction company could choose to market to homeowners between the ages of 34 and 54 with incomes of $90,000 – plus in Omaha, Nebraska. To define the market even further, the company could choose to target specifically those interested in kitchen remodeling and bath remodeling, and possibly even those in older homes. This market can be broken down further but, by doing so, the market could become too narrow and exclude potential customers.

 

What is your Goal?

You may be asking yourself, “Where can I find all of this information?”  Try searching online for research others may have done on your target market. Explore magazine articles, blogs or forums. These are all excellent mediums to discover the opinions of your audience. You may even consider looking at your competitors’ target market looks like, maybe based on their marketing creative, to narrow down what you are looking for in your ideal client or how you can differentiate your target market. Not finding the information you are looking for? Conduct your own survey, ask current customers for feedback.

Once you have defined your target audience, it is easier to figure out which media choices (link to Buying Media blog) will fit best to reach your market and how they will remember your brand. Nonetheless, having a defined target market will be a greater investment for your time, energy and money.

Evaluating Media Choices

Media Choices

Do you ever feel overwhelmed with all the media choices available at your fingertips? How do I know which channel will be the most “effective”, will I reach the right target audience? If so, is it enough to offset the costs of the marketing campaign. The answer is maybe. There is no right or wrong answer in marketing, it is about research, trial, error and… more research.

Media Choices - Beaverton Oregon

 

Media Options

Because different media are effective for different purposes, it is important to research which media form will truly target your audience market. In recent years we have seen a shift from newspaper, magazine, radio, and billboard advertising to digital ads. Now, this is not a reason to think digital advertising is the way to go. As a small business owner, it may be more beneficial to advertise in your local newspaper, magazine, or radio. For an advertising campaign to be effective, it needs to reach the right target audience, your audience could be a daily city commuter who passes by a billboard multiple times a day or someone who enjoys reading the newspaper instead of surfing the internet.  Media sources should be selected based on your audience’s preferences to maximize your marketing investment.

Nevertheless, with media buying, there will be a “waste factor.” The key is to minimize the waste factor, meaning the percentage of the marketing which is not your intended market. For example, a newspaper ad can have 20,000 impressions but not everyone reading the newspaper may be a potential customer (Maybe you have a pool company and certainly there will be some people who don’t own a pool who reads the newspaper.) If the target reach is 50%, then the real value of advertising in the newspaper is 10,000 impressions. Understanding real value is as important as knowing the full reach a specific media may tout.

 

Budget

While choosing a media outlet, keep your budget in mind. If you have a substantial advertising budget, allocating your budget across different media platforms can be beneficial. If you are a smaller business, be mindful of your budget and compare prices. Looking to advertise in a newspaper? Call and research multiple newspapers, and don’t be afraid to negotiate fair prices to display your media! This is certainly an area where we may be able to help with.

 

Media Evaluation

Whichever media outlet you select, create a plan that will measure the success of the campaign. Disappointed in the results? That’s ok! Keep researching and improving the campaign, if it isn’t yielding the results you want, try another form of media. Measuring data will tell you what can be improved and what you should continue to market. Let us know, what media form is most effective for your business?

What is a Social Influencer?

Social Influencer

Have you ever thought about reaching out to a local celebrity or well-known figure to market your small business? Radio DJs and local sports legends are popular figures for such advertising and have traditionally been used for radio spots or TV commercials. David Robinson, the former basketball player for the San Antonio Spurs, for example, does TV commercials for several local companies in the San Antonio area these days.

Over the past few years, however, influencers on popular social media platforms have been an important marketing tool to reach young audiences around a huge variety of products and services. Endorsements by celebrities are nothing new, but more recently, sponsorships paid for by advertisers have branched out to include popular Instagram accounts, bloggers, and You-Tube stars. News anchors, local food stars, and retired athletes are some popular sources for local businesses to reach out to for influencer marketing.

 

 

How Can an Influencer Benefit My Small Business?

Depending on your business type, reaching out to a local influencer could be beneficial. For instance, if you sell garden supplies in the greater Portland-metro area, being featured on An Oregon Cottage could be a great way to put your brand in front of your ideal consumer. Your products would be exposed to a relevant customer base, coming from a personality that is a trusted resource in the Oregon gardening community.

What is an Endorsement?

Conversely, influencer endorsements affect a very particular audience and are sometimes seen as more trustworthy in the eyes of their followers. Influencers are a part of a niche community and are looked to often as experts that have open dialogues with their followers. Social influencers are usually approachable (they are generally more responsive to comments and messages than celebrities who are sponsored for a campaign) and are considered more authentic compared to celebrity-driven marketing campaigns. Here’s an example of the top social influencer on Instagram for 2018, so far (according to CBS News): Huda Kattan.

Using social influencers responsibly could be a creative way to reach new customers, both on a national and local scale. What are your thoughts on this new, socially-oriented trend?

How Much Money Should I Spend on My Advertising?

Is There a Magic Formula?

We’ve now entered the world of Marketing Budgeting, 2.0 as so many things have changed in the past few years. The internet and social media have changed the landscaping of media, but the basics remain the same. Having a budget for your marketing makes sticking to the marketing plan a bit easier.

If you Google “How Much Money Do I Spend On My Advertising,” maybe this blog will come up number one, but there are many articles on this topic. This also depends on what type of business you have. The marketing of a restaurant is very different than the marketing of a manufacturing plant. If you have outside sales people responsible for generating sales, your marketing budget may be a little less. The goal of any marketing plan is to maintain and/or grow the business.

Ways a business grows –

  • New Customers
  • Existing customers spend more money on visit
  • Existing customers come in more often
  • Existing customers tell their friends who become customers (referral)
  • Add product or service line to help with all the above

Do a Google search for this topic and you will find businesses will budget between 3-10% of their sales on marketing. A pretty big variance. That’s the challenge – what is the right advertising budget for your business. We work with many local businesses and we look to gain agreement on what the marketing budget is to start out with. If your growth is more aggressive, it may be towards the higher end of the spectrum. If your growth is steady growth, we look for middle ground here, using 5-6% as our target budget in the planning process. Marketing is to help you grow your business so the investment into marketing is an important one. This is very different than the planning of your media buying or the evaluating of your media choices. If you feel the advertising is not working, then think about what needs to be changed up to make it work better. It wouldn’t make sense to stop advertising just because you haven’t found the “magic” formula…..yet.

As your company grows, your marketing budget dollars will grow, even though the marketing percentage will remain the same. The number may seem high, but so are your total sales. As one of our clients was looking hard at their P & L to see how they were doing, they asked everyone to really watch their numbers – except marketing – this went untouched – as they had learned the lessons of keeping consistent with the marketing budget means consistency with future sales and growth.

One last message here – if you are too busy and getting too many calls/customers where you can’t take on any business for the next month – shift the marketing dollars. Either change up your marketing mix to improve your brand or use the dollars later in the year. Marketing can be for many things, including customer appreciation activities and/or customer gifts or promotional items. Keep steady on the marketing budget, plan the work and work the plan, and you will start to feel better about the investment you are making for the long-term success of your company.

When to Rebrand

Feeling Refreshed?

After initially starting a business, the most daunting tasks include creating the logo, slogan, and other branding details. Since your logo is on virtually everything you produce or market, it’s no wonder why business owners will give thousands of dollars to an outside creative agency so they’ll build the perfect logo. As time goes on, even the perfect design and color scheme can become outdated. Whether you are no longer ‘San Diego Blinds’ and now you’re selling to the whole West Coast, or you’re wanting to reinvent yourself in the marketplace to stand out from competitors, updating your logo is oftentimes necessary for your business to continue to grow and stay relevant.

2018-01 When to Rebrand

Change is hard- but it’s good. Consider the merger or acquisition of a new company. It may cost a lot of money, and there’s a lot of paperwork involved and many moving parts. But if you’ve played your cards right, it’s a stepping stone to exponential growth for your business. And speaking of mergers, if you’re merging or acquiring a company, you’ll probably need to update your logo, too. Leo Tolstoy describes change like this: ‘Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.’ While we doubt he was referring to a re-brand, sometimes the marketing strategy we need to implement isn’t about focusing on countering the competitors, but rather it’s an internal change or shift which needs to occur.

Some signs your logo needs an update?

1. You’ve changed your company’s offerings. It no longer makes sense to have a kayak as your logo if you’re now focusing primarily on hunting gear. Right? It may be time for a completely new logo.

2. You’ve merged or acquired a new company. Like we mentioned before if you’re expanding from a local brand to a regional brand, or you now have a much wider range of offerings, keeping the Chicago Skyline in your logo may limit your customers base to only the Chicagoland area. Consider a shift in your logo that does not limit yourself geographically or otherwise.

3. The colors don’t make sense. Trends in colors, styles, and fonts are constantly changing. More importantly than that, colors can help convey the right message. Maybe if you’re ‘All-American Plumbing’ it would make more sense to have a red, white, and blue logo instead of a green and orange one. Do your colors make sense for your brand?

4. You don’t stand out. If you’re using a bland font, your logo looks like every other logo in your line of business, or your logo is too busy/confusing, there’s nothing keeping a customer from going with whichever brand has the lowest prices or is closest to their home. First impressions are important- what is the impression you’re giving?

It’s impossible to control every outside factor which may affect your business. Industry trends, the economy, the weather, and many more factors can change in the blink of an eye. So whether the business is stagnant, declining or slowly growing, consider focusing on improving internal systems and things you can control. Have you thought much about how your logo – the customer’s first impression – could be affecting business?

 

Social Networking

Are You Socially Acceptable?

Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Snapchat, YouTube, etc. etc. etc. It seems as if every day there is a new social media platform taking the world by storm. As an advertiser, it can be intimidating to try and stay up to date with how to best reach your target audience on these social networks, since we understand the importance of having a digital presence. But each social network serves a different demographic – which networks are right for your line of business? Let’s compare and contrast a few.

2017-12 Social Networks
Facebook. With over 1 billion daily active users, it seems like a no-brainer you’d want your business to reach even a fraction of these users. However, it’s important to understand who uses Facebook. SproutSocial says 88% of people aged 18-29 are on the social network and they are on for an average of 35 minutes per day. But it’s actually those who are 29+ who provide the most engagement. Also, people are using Facebook more and more to seek food, travel, and entertainment recommendations.
So, which businesses do best on Facebook? Primarily B2C businesses. More specifically, retailers with specific products and sales which can produce measurable ROI. Businesses that are B2B or are service based, such as a plumber or insurance agency may not see the same results as a retail business. However, this is not to say other businesses should not be on Facebook. Having a page which is regularly updated with content builds credibility for your brand and helps stay engaged with the local community (for example, posting events happening around the area). Overall, Facebook’s capability to reach so many qualifies it as a resource worth looking into.

 

Instagram. Another huge social media network, with over 800 million monthly active users, that’s focused on photo and video. But is it worth the time, energy or money to have an account for your brand? It may be.
A staggering 59% of all Instagram users are under the age of 30. This means if your line of business is geared towards anyone over the age of 30, which includes a wide range of fields, Instagram may not be worth spending the time on at this day and age. However, if you are able to create a photo or video campaign that is engaging, Instagram may be a great decision for branding and directional marketing. Additionally, Instagram allows users to click and purchase items in the app, which is beneficial for retail companies who are selling items, rather than services. If you’re a B2C company, Instagram can help too. A design firm could use Instagram as their digital portfolio.

 

LinkedIn. Plain and simple, LinkedIn is for B2B marketers. Whether companies are posting updates about acquisitions, finances, or are hiring, users are active on LinkedIn to make moves professionally, and not to make consumerist decisions. LinkedIn is also used to stay connected to current and previous colleagues, industry resources, and business contacts. About 61% of LinkedIn users are between 30 and 64, and they are established in their careers, are married, homeowners, have college degrees, and have the most amount of buying power. Professional in nature, decision makers are seeking the next best thing – personally and professionally – and are the target demographic for your life insurance policies or litigation services.
Before you make any marketing decisions regarding social media, you want to identify your target market and advertising strategy and consider which social media network most closely aligns with that market. Social media is not the end-all-be-all, but if you don’t utilize it, what else are you doing to be seen by your target market?

How Video has Changed Digital Advertising

What’s the next big thing?

Ever since the age of smartphones began, photo and video have taken the digital advertising space by storm. Within the past 5 years, we have seen Instagram, Vine, and Snapchat rise in popularity, and with the exception of Vine, the visual platforms are thriving. But how important is video marketing to your business? Well, let’s look at the stats.

  • According to Social Media Today, Facebook produces an average of 8 billion video views a day.
  • Every day, 55% of people watch videos online. (Source: Digital Information World)
  • Popular marketing tool Hubspot says 64% of internet users are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video.

Video Marketing

The statistics go on and on.

Do you know how to best utilize video? Video Brewery says that 20% of viewers will click away within 10 seconds of the video starting. Just like an attention getter in an essay or novel, the beginning of your video needs to convince the consumer to keep watching. Videos need to connect with the audience it is being targeted to. With today’s technology, the cost of creating a video has decreased dramatically and it doesn’t take much to get started.

Now that Instagram and Facebook have launched ‘live’ features, you can captivate your customer base by simply having a smartphone with a camera. Recent iPhone video quality is high enough, where by the quick press of ‘record’ you can provide current and potential customers a tour of your location, a how-to video on how to use one of your products, insider tips and tricks, or a live question and answer session. Any of these ideas can be done in-house without any sort of professional equipment. And, it keeps your social media followers engaged and interested in what’s new around your business.

As you look down the road to what the future holds for your business’ marketing strategy, video advertising certainly should be on the list of things to consider. For now, at the very least, it should start the conversation about how you and your business will be a part of this next generation of advertising.