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Identifying Your Magnetic Target Audience
DECISION-MAKING FILTERS TO HELP CHARACTERIZE A GOOD TARGET

Kennan Burch is the founder of Brand Catalyst Partners. He is a sought after speaker, brand catalyst and coach. His vision is “inspiring brands to live their highest promise.”
Kennan Burch is the founder of Brand Catalyst Partners. He is a sought after speaker, brand catalyst and coach. His vision is “inspiring brands to live their highest promise.”

Do you want to sell more? Do you want to have raving fans singing your praises? Could there be a secret to how this might happen? Let’s talk about identifying your Magnetic Target Audience. That’s right. They are raving fans of yours who magnetically attract others to your brand. Who is the president of your fan club? Wouldn’t it be nice to arm them with the right story, so they can tell their friends?

One of the most challenging and counterintuitive concepts is how to effectively align your team on your target audience. Historically, defining your target audience meant how to “buy” the right media to reach your target, such as “adults, 25-54” or “males, 18-49.” Or, many companies that do not buy media have simply never really thought much about it. Have you ever debated and clearly articulated your target audience to yourself or your team?

Before I go any further, let me say that your target audience is a private statement that is not intended for the outside world to see. Sometimes, the target articulation might actually seem offensive, or exclusionary. And, I say… exactly. Get really smart about this exercise. Define who loves you the most, even if it seems exclusionary.

While these statements are generally kept a secret, I do have a few secrets I am willing to share.

“Have you ever debated and clearly articulated your target audience to yourself or your team?”
“Have you ever debated and clearly articulated your target audience to yourself or your team?”

WE’RE NOT FOR EVERYONE

First, let me provide a few good decision-making filters to help identify a good target. We want to:

• Separate good prospects from unlikely ones

• Define who loves us the most

• Determine what needs,motivations and concerns they have in common

• Be brief and imaginative

• Bring the target to life

Also, don’t get in the trap of trying to sell to everyone. You will never create a contagious brand if you try to shoot at a broad target.

Does this give you a good mental picture of the raving fans of Hummer? Would you ever see this publicly? Of course not. However, if you were the CEO of Hummer, would it help you make decisions? Absolutely!

Now, here’s a question. Did women buy Hummers too? Well, yes! However, not because Hummer targeted women. These “affluent men seeking unique experiences as a means of self expression,” were the target. They became the “magnetic target audience” that brought others to the brand.

FOR BUSINESS TO BUSINESS ENTERPRISES

Let me address the difference when defining a target for a retail consumer product versus developing the target for a business to business (B to B) product or service. After going through this exercise, many times with B to B companies I discovered a distinct difference. For this exercise to be valuable, B to B companies require more specifics when defining their magnetic target audience.

Why? B to B companies usually rely on a salesforce to sell their products. The more specific we can be for our sales team, the more successful they will be. This exercise can almost become a filter for them to rank their prospects.

Let me propose a scenario. Pretend that you are spending your entire marketing budget on one marketing event, and you only have limited seats for potential clients to attend. Every seat must contain someone who could really be a strong client or customer. Then, make a list of criteria that describes them.

For example, one client of mine manufactures and sells ductile iron pipe. The primary buyer of this pipe is municipalities that are putting in infrastructure underground that is going to last a long time. Think New York City or Boston.

Now, this target is incredibly long, and may seem like it is too much. However, it’s very instructive for the sales team to rank prospects and descriptive for the marketing team to develop materials. And, it works!

So, how would you describe your magnetic target audience?♦

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