As I was writing about this topic a few years ago on a previous blog, I received an email on an upcoming learning event in Pakistan. The day before I received at least three emails about Brookstone’s Friends and Family discount coming to an end only to have a new offer the next day that was even better! Then there's Macy’s with a new offer every week and I wrote a post recently about Levin Furniture in Akron.
The program in Pakistan, LearnFest, if it were around the corner might have been interesting, but they didn't bother to research their target audience very well. Brookstone, Macy’s and Levin Furniture are all guilty of hitting the panic button too often, along with "riptide marketing". They're stuck and they’re not paying attention to their target audience.
- Do you know your target audience? I've written so much about demographics and the importance to have promotions that excite your potential client base. If it's really a dud and you're not even excited about it - then don't launch it!
- Pay attention to where you're spending your advertising dollars. Advertising isn't just about print media, but includes you being everywhere your targeted client goes. So, that means websites, email, direct mail, events in the community and publicity. When you do pay for print advertising, pay attention to the demographics of the publication. Advertising your photography business in Guns and Ammo magazine for example, when 95% of the purchase decisions to hire a professional photographer are made by women is another waste of money. You need to pick communication vehicles relevant to your audience.
- I keep writing this and some of you just don't get it! Stop discounting. Develop programs with added value rather than a discount. Put yourself in their shoes. Do you honestly get excited about any discount today that’s 20% or less? We’re so conditioned to discount programs, we automatically assume the retail price was originally too high to begin with! However, added value like an additional album or an extra hour or two of coverage at a wedding or an event can have powerful appeal. Pick up the phone and call your lab for a start. They're constantly developing new products and programs to help you create stronger reach with your audience.
- Most important of all – Pay attention to the big picture and look at your promotional calendar for the entire year. Don't look at any one promotion as a single entity. All of your promotions together need to have continuity from one event to the next. You don’t want to be reactionary all the time, but have a planned out series of activities and programs. This will give you the time to align yourself with the appropriate partners, advertising and publicity elements you need for success.
There’s no such thing as knowing too much about your target audience. In fact, there’s a great line I’ve used for years, thanks to Ed Foreman, a motivational speaker from Texas: “If I can see the world through my client’s eyes, then I can sell my client what my client buys.”
You've got to literally see the world through your client's eyes and understand what they're looking for. Jerry Ghionis talks about the secret to creating incredible images is to photograph your subjects as if you were looking through the eyes of one of their loved ones. Well, marketing is no different - you've got to really know your client.
Illustration Credit: © Melpomene - Fotolia.com