Monday, October 12, 2009

Target Audiences Change

Before we undertake any project we first conduct research and analysis. Skipping this step means that you are basing your project on instinct rather than facts. One of the elements in this step is examining the target audience. Analyzing the target audience and clearly understanding who they are and why they buy is critical in the success of your marketing strategy.

In most cases we ask our client to describe their target audience. What separates us from most companies is that we don’t assume anything. Lately we found that several companies were going after the wrong target audience. Their sales where sluggish at best and the company’s marketing efforts had poor returns.

My previous post on the presentation by Aimee Davis of Solutia, is an excellent example of going after the wrong target audience. The post talked about branding but what made a huge difference in Aimee’s strategy is that they focused on a different target audience. Prior to Ms. Davis’ work at Solutia the target audience was the final consumer of the end product rather than the direct buyer of the material who then produces the final product. Changing the focus to the direct buyer plus changes in the brand strategy resulted in the best quarter ever at Solutia.

Recently, one of our clients hired us to completely re-vamp their entire marketing strategy. This company wanted to reach the top marketing person at large (45 plus million in sales) corporations. However, upon examining the situation including the product, the offer, and the buying cycle, we found that that while they may want to attract large corporations it was not their target. The target audience - on average- no longer had a need for their product. Our client has a great product and there clearly is a need for the product, but the need is within mid-size and smaller companies.

Over ten years ago the target audience to the larger firms worked. However, this audience’s needs were being met with new technology and new players. These changes did not register with the client and sales were slipping. They thought they were keeping up with the times because they added new selling techniques, a new Website and utilized new technology but they never re-examined the need of their target audience. They were getting a few sales and continually thought they didn’t have good sales people and/or their marketing “creative” wasn’t good enough.

Changing the focus from who they wanted the client to be to the target audience that really had a need for their product made all the difference. With a change in the target audience and tweaking the message and offer made a huge difference in the success of their marketing.

Target audiences change and keeping an eye on these changes can make a significant impact on your marketing dollar return on investment.

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