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Never Advertise Until You Know Your Target Customer

August 17, 2009

By Small Biz Bee, 2009

Precision Trumps Plentiful Marketing

Too often businesses use the shotgun approach to marketing, and in this economy that’s wasted money. Sure if you blast off a bunch of advertising you’re bound to hit something, but how much ammo did you waste in the process?

Right now we probably don’t have the marketing budgets to try stuff out, see what works, and throw money around hoping to hit a buyer.

Wouldn’t it be better to know your target customer so well you can then advertise specifically to them – the people most likely to buy your stuff? I think so. You’ll get more sales with less money and an overall higher ROI for your efforts if you are precise in your marketing efforts, not just plentiful.


Imagine your perfect customer. Think about every single element of the perfect person to buy what you sell. Then answer the following

  • § Where do they live?
  • § What do they do for a living?
  • § How much do they earn?
  • § Do they have children?
  • § Did they go to college?
  • § Have a particular educational background?
  • § What do they do for fun?
  • § Who are their friends?
  • § Who are their influencers?
  • § What matters to them?
  • § What do they value?
  • § What do they want?
  • § What do they need?

Once you have a crystal clear picture of who your perfect customer is, you can go to the places they are most likely to see your advertising.

Pay Attention (For What Not To Do)

In the next week pay attention to what kinds of advertising you are seeing, and where. You’ll be surprised how often you’ll see the shotgun approach being used, even by the “big guys”. This won’t be you.

The random ad for eyebrow waxing on gardening website, the flier on your door to refinance when you live in an apartment, or the commercial midway through your favorite episode of “Golden Girls” for Budweiser are all examples of using a shotgun approach to advertising. Sure they may accidentally hit on someone interested in an ice cold Bud who also watches “Golden Girls”, but it’s also an inefficient way to go about things.

Be cognizant of this when you are rolling out advertising. If you can’t explain exactly what demographic and target market you hope to reach with your ads, put your wallet back in your pants.

Not Just Who, But How

Also think about how your customer likes to be marketed to – don’t send brochures to “on line” people, radio ads are lost if your target customer subscribes to XM Radio, and if your target customer values outdoor activities how much sense does a commercial make?

Get the “how” right and you’ll be saving yourself some money, and getting directly in front of those most likely to buy what you’re selling. Tailor your message to what you know about them, what they value, and what the benefit of your product is to them. Most of all be consistent, both in message and in frequency.

Put the Time In

Do this exercise and you’ll be giving yourself, and your limited marketing dollars, a chance to really work. Without a lot of money you need to be selective, don’t use a shotgun approach hoping something will resonate with your target audience, and put time into knowing them before you spend a dime.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 17, 2009 4:40 pm

    Good writing. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed my Google News Reader..

    Matt Hanson

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