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Target acquired: How to define and use your ideal target market

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Ironically enough, when it comes to promoting themselves, many businesses jump straight into marketing and forget to really think about the most important part of marketing: their target market.

This problem isn’t just limited to new entrepreneurs or start-ups, either. I’ve talked to plenty of well-established companies who can only describe their target market in broad generalities.

This is a real problem because knowing exactly who you’re targeting with your marketing is the key to successfully reaching, connecting with and convincing them to buy what you’re selling. So, while it’s tempting to jump right into building your marketing campaigns and putting together creative, it always pays to stop and think about your target market first.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at how to identify your target market and use what you know about that market to create target marketing campaigns that sell.

Who am I targeting?

Whether you’re a new business or a decades-old company putting together a new ad campaign, you should always be asking yourself “who am I targeting?” Even if you sell products with broad appeal, this question is still important. Specifics sell and the more specifics you know about the market you are targeting, the more effective your marketing will be.

For example, if you sell lotion, you might think that your target market is too big to define. I mean, almost everyone gets dry hands at some point, right?

While that might be true, there are a lot of different reasons why people buy lotion. Some people live in a dry climate. Some have a skin condition like rosacea. Some people want a lotion that smells good, while others want a scent-less lotion because scented lotions irritate their skin.

Would it make sense to use the same marketing for all of these different groups?

Even if your scent-less lotion happens to be great for people who live in a dry climate or have rosacea, it’s hard to effectively market to all of these markets simultaneously. After all, if someone searches for “rosacea lotion” on Google, they aren’t looking for lotion because they live in a dry climate. They want a lotion that will treat their specific skin condition.

Even within a more targeted market segment like “rosacea sufferers”, there is often room to refine your target market further. For example, you’d want to use very different marketing tactics to market your lotion to moms with young children suffering from rosacea than you would if you were trying to sell to middle-aged men with the condition.

Can you see why understanding your target market is so important? The more clearly and precisely you can answer the question “who am I targeting?”, the more focused and effective your marketing will be. Obviously, you have to balance market size with market specificity, but understanding who you are targeting and what motivates them is the key to create compelling marketing campaigns.

With all that in mind, here are a few easy questions you can ask yourself to help you define your target market(s):

How do my current customers use my product or service?

As I mentioned above, even people who use your product or service for the same thing may use it for different reasons or in different ways. For example, if you offer invoicing software, you may have some customers who use it for every client and transaction, while others only use it for certain clients or situations.

Odds are, invoicing software addicts are probably your most valuable customers and you will want to both target them more aggressively and with different messaging than you would more casual users. Your software will be an integral part of their business, so certain selling points about your software will appeal more to them than they would to your standard users.

Segmenting your current customer base by how they use your product or service can give you a lot of insight into your target market(s). Odds are, if your current customers love your business for a particular reason, potential customers who are motivated by the same things will be likely to respond to marketing that focuses on that same issue.

What am I trying to sell?

This might seem like an obvious part of any marketing campaign, but when it comes to defining your target market, knowing what you are trying to sell is important, especially if you’re changing what you are selling. Many businesses try to use old marketing tactics to sell a new product and then wonder why their results are bad.

Whether you’re trying to market something new or simply get more sales for a particular product or service, it’s important to think about who your new target market is. Different products and services appeal to different audiences, so even small tweaks to what you’re selling can have big effects on how well your marketing works.

For example, if you sell cookies and decide to add organic, egg-free cookies as a new product, you need to market them differently than your standard cookie line.

Let’s be honest, most people who buy organic, egg-free cookies aren’t buying them because they are the best tasting cookies. They care about the ingredients more than the flavor, so your marketing should focus on how healthy and environmentally friendly your cookies are.

At the same time, if most of your customer base loves the flavor of your standard cookies, they aren’t likely to start buying your organic cookies because they are environmentally friendly. They want the delicious cookies they know and love, so you should focus on marketing the flavor of your core cookie offering to your less ingredient-conscious target market.

Ultimately, what you are trying to sell has a huge impact on how you sell it and who you sell it to. As a result, “what am I trying to sell?” should be one of the first things you ask yourself during the marketing process.

What is the competition doing?

While I’m a big advocate for standing out from the competition, you can also learn a lot from the competition—both about what to do and what not to do.

For example, take a look at the ad below:

You can clearly see that this business is targeting high-intensity people who probably lead high-intensity, busy lifestyles. To appeal to this market, their ad copy is high energy and focused on the flexibility of their offering.

If you happen to be a competitor of theirs, there’s a lot you can learn from this. On the one hand, if you want to target the same market, you can look for keywords or phrases they are using to try and catch the attention of their target audience.

Alternatively, if you want to differentiate yourself and try to target an alternative market, you could try focusing on price, a different exercise option or offering lower-key classes that might appeal to less intense potential customers.

Whether it’s a gym down the street or an international conglomeration, your competition can teach you a lot about who your target market is (or should be) and how to approach them in your marketing.

Is my target market niche … or non-existent?

One final thing to keep in mind as you identify your target market is the size of that market. As we discussed earlier, the narrower your target market is, the easier it is to create specific, highly targeted messaging for them. However, if you can only target 10 people with that messaging, it may not be a market worth targeting.

Given the massive reach of online advertising platforms like Facebook and Google, this isn’t a common problem, but it is something to keep in mind as you define your target market(s). If you find yourself struggling to effectively target the market you’ve selected, you may need to take a step back and expand your audience a bit.

As a general rule of thumb, I like to assume that 3 percent of the people you can target with a given marketing channel are ready to buy today and 3 percent can probably be convinced to buy. If that 3 to 6 percent of your identified target market isn’t enough potential business to be worth your time and money, your market is probably too niche to be useful.

Conclusion

While it can be easy to assume you know who your target market is and what they want, taking the time to really think about what you’re selling, who you’re selling it to and how to best sell it can significantly improve your marketing results. It might not be the most glamorous or exciting part of marketing, but it’s a key part of every good marketing campaign.

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US Creative Work of the Week: Lee Jeans combats manspreading and kimono trapping

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Lee Jeans puts the mobility of its denim on full display in its 'Don’t just move. Move your Lee.' Campaign, created by Austin-based agency of record, GSD&M.

The campaign includes three TV spots that speak to modern consumers, with hip, young subjects in everyday, topical (and sometimes impractical) situations.

In one, a woman on the subway combats a guy who is clearly encroaching onto her seat by ‘manspreading.’ She one-ups him by hoisting her jean-clad leg over his so he gets the point. Another finds a woman who has her kimono caught in a taxi door chasing the cab down the street to get her garment free. A third finds a dog walker leaping and flipping acrobatically to untangle many leashes.

The campaign is meant to remind customers that Lee is the perfect jean for everyday movements for all demographics – equate with the new messaging that Lee Jeans are not only stylish, but freedom-inducing products that helps consumers move forward, accomplish, and progress.

For its confident swagger and pointed sales objective, The Drum’s readers voted the campaign the US Creative Work of the Week.

See the campaign by clicking on the Creative Works box below.

To vote for next week’s US Creative Work of the Week, visit our latest US Creative Works here. To keep up to date with all the advertising, design and creative projects from around the globe, visit our Creative Works homepage.

: 'Lee Jeans – Don’t just move. Move your Lee.'

Agency:
Client:
Date: September 2018

Popular denim brand Lee Jeans has launched a new campaign, 'Don’t just move. Move your Lee.' Created by Austin-based AOR, GSD&M, the campaign includes three TV spots that speak to the modern consumer, with hip, young subjects in everyday, topical (and sometimes impractical) situations, in which acrobatic feats are made possible thanks to the movement and comfort of their Lee jeans. From tackling 'manspreading' as a female subway rider, to dashing after a kimono trapped in a taxi door, Lee Jeans were made to move with purpose, while also providing effortless style and confidence to help you be you.
The campaign is meant to remind customers that Lee is the perfect jean for everyday movements for all demographics – equate with the new messaging that Lee Jeans are not only stylish, but freedom-inducing products that helps consumers move forward, accomplish, and progress.
The campaign will run nationally on broadcast through October, and will be accompanied with paid and organic social content on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Pinterest.

Credits:

Client: Lee Jeans
Agency: GSD&M
Creative Directors: Maria D’Amato, Jeffrey Butterworth
Writer: Addie Williams
Art Director: Hannah Dobbs
Producer: Alison Wagner
Account: Shawn Mackoff, Lauren Paver, Jane Conyngham
Social Media: Bailey Brown, Jessica Lee
Media: Evan Walker
Project Management: Christie Shepard

Tags: United States

Video of Spread | Lee Jeans Commercial

Video of Strut | Lee Jeans Commercial

Video of Stroll | Lee Jeans Commercial

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5 ways to leverage real third-party purchase intent

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A combination of genius and incredible access to capital has enabled Amazon to become a retail operation truly inconceivable just a decade or so ago.

Untethered from the constraints of physical location, Amazon has made it possible for many of us to rarely visit a retail operation for more than a tank of gas or a cup of coffee. And by consolidating a larger and larger percentage of our shopping and consumption behaviors, there’s less and less that Amazon doesn’t know about us or that they couldn’t easily figure out if they wanted to.

While we can certainly argue about whether the end game is to everyone’s benefit as a society, B2C marketers know that, in the near term, it behooves them to accept reality and try to play along in Amazon’s game.

As I think about lining up catalog operations, department stores, big-box retailers, suburban malls and Amazon along an evolutionary timeline, it’s the similarities that jump out at me more than the differences. It’s the strength of each concept taken singly and together that B2B sellers should all try to take advantage of.

1. Go where the buyers go

In B2B, you don’t need to dive into the many years of academic research to decide where to place your storefront, you know you’ve got to be on the web.

But being open for inbound business alone simply isn’t enough. Retailers use data about pedestrian and car traffic patterns to site their next store. B2C brands know they have to be on Amazon.

Every B2B seller owes it to themselves to find out where buyer traffic already congregates. You need to know where your total available market (TAM) goes when it’s in a buyer’s journey, and you need to be there, too.

Surf on Google’s gravity. While it’s not yet Amazon for B2B, for us, Google exerts much the same sort of “internet gravity” on our buyers. When a buyer begins their journey, they go to Google and ramp up search behaviors, which is why you can and should use SEO and paid search to be prominent on Google.

At the same time, however, you should also study who is consistently ranking high in and around relevant topics and see if there’s a way for you to do the same. Look for high-ranking third-party properties that will let you add your content and offerings. Then build your campaigns to link and bend their audience back to you.

Make sure to advertise to buyers instead of surfers. Although there’s plenty of browsing that happens on Amazon, and advertisers there may well be able to stimulate impulse buys, B2B buying behaviors are very different, as are the outlets that support them.

In B2B, we all spend plenty of time on the web reading about things that matter to us without ever demonstrating what could be recognized as real purchase intent. It would be easy to spend your entire advertising budget targeting demographics or on sites that have no contextual relevance to what someone in a buyer’s journey is actually looking for. Make sure the outlets you narrow your investigation to can show how their content supports the buying research efforts of the people you need to add to your funnel.

2. Bring the buyers to you

I think we can all agree we still aren’t where we need to be with advertising retargeting. When I’m shopping on Amazon, I’m definitely not in the market for my next piece of martech stackware.

Context continues to be a stumbling block for many B2B advertisers. But thinking about exactly what you’re trying to accomplish goes a long way toward landing on better a strategy. To drive maximum ROI, you need to raise consideration for your solution among the companies that are in a deal cycle.

On Amazon, you’d want to promote your offering whenever someone was shopping for products like yours. Real third-party purchase intent can put you in exactly the context you need to bring buyers to your store. By advertising in and around editorial content designed to support purchase decisions, it becomes natural for your desired audience to pay attention to your message and click through to your website.

3. Know what real buyers want

Once you’ve narrowed your advertising focus down to the optimum number of outlets, you need to access a significant volume of real buyers in your specific market category. Then you’ll need to make sure to get everything necessary to convert those people into prospects. This can be harder than it sounds.

Even though a lot of advertising suppliers can now help target specific companies somewhat accurately, outside of activity within your own program, very few of them can tell you very much about what’s working with your audience and what isn’t.

This is exactly the kind of information Amazon withheld from sellers until recently. Here’s another area where the best third-party purchase intent provider can help out. They should be able to show not only your own effectiveness but also what else is attracting your target audience’s attention, be it editorial or promotional material.

To improve your own performance, you’ll want to study this closely and modify your material as necessary to address what buyers are actually looking for.

4. See what real buying groups do

Even though we understand how buying groups actually behave, too many organizations are still relying on a kind of jury-rigged approach to pursuing demand inside of accounts.

First, they find accounts they think might be active. If they get any clicks on ads or inbound web traffic, they then assign sales development reps (SDRs) to call down a list of all the potential folks at the account with titles similar to those who held the most authority in their previous sales.

The problem is that they can’t be sure the account is viable, and they have no way of knowing where in the account the behavior is actually coming from. This approach leads to far too much tele-spend and far too little contribution to the pipeline.

Real third-party intent is much more than an old-school lead gen mechanism. Instead, a quality provider should be able to show exactly who is exhibiting purchase behaviors right down to their role and function, their name, and even their contact and consent information.

5. Engage buyers for yourself

Once you’ve located an active buying team with the right information in hand, real purchase intent data puts you in a much better position to drive efficiency by knowing which accounts and buying centers to target.

Likewise, because you can see both who’s interested and what they’re interested in, you’re able to be much more effective with your own outreach. Whether you choose to deploy targeted marketing to nurture these buying groups or address them more aggressively with people-based tactics, you are no longer guessing who exactly to go after and how to open the conversation.

Real purchase intent gives you Amazon-like insight into exactly who is looking for exactly what. What’s more, because this is now data we’re talking about instead of advertising, these buyers are available to you directly, to engage via your own systems and processes.

Not quite Amazon yet, but something you certainly should take advantage of

While each of us is free to evaluate at what point Amazon’s incredible convenience has gone a step too far, the impact of real purchase intent data on those companies that are taking advantage of it is really no longer up for debate.

As we head toward 2019, if you’re looking for a way to accelerate positive change in your demand generation performance and you haven’t investigated the purchase intent resources available in your market, there’s no better time to start than right now.

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Captivate joins forces with Executive Channel Network in international drive

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Digital video office network Captivate has formed a strategic partnership with Executive Channel Network (ECN) to grow its audience reach to an estimated 14 million people using elevator and lobby displays across the US, Canada, Germany, Paris and London.

The agreement will see the pair work with brands to expand their inventory for advertisers to engage international business professionals in the workplace, which will include over 12,000 digital elevator and lobby displays within around 2,000 workplaces.

Captivate currently hosts a network over 11,000 elevator displays across 1,600 office buildings in North America while the ECN will provide the rest across European locations.

“In today’s digital age, the world gets smaller every day,” said Lorenzo Papa, executive vice president of Advertising Sales at Captivate. “The media landscape continues to evolve at a rapid pace and we recognize the increasing need for brands to have a consistent message across multiple borders, so having the ability to run campaigns throughout North America and now the UK and Europe is crucial for the next phase of our growth. ECN’s reach and influence aligns perfectly with the Captivate audience and we are thrilled to have found the right partner to help provide turnkey solutions for our advertisers at a global scale.”

Charles Parry-Okeden, global CEO at ECN, added: “As the workday gets longer, professionals are improving their work-life balance by completing personal and professional tasks at the office and across multiple devices. This alliance provides advertisers with the ability to deliver brand messaging while at-work consumers are actively researching and purchasing both business and personal products/services.”

The Drum’s Out of Home Awards are open for entry with more details available on the official website.

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