Karl Stark and Bill Stewart posted a great article, 4 Rules for Better Marketing, at Inc.com today that clearly and concisely lays out how to make sure your marketing budget is being spent wisely. I just think they should change the title to “The #1 Rule for Better Marketing” as all four of their rules reiterate the same basic principle: know your niche and target market and focus on them and only them.
If you want your marketing campaigns to be efficient and successful so that you can lower your cost of customer acquisition, you have to know who is most likely to buy your product or service, and you have to be specific. A target market of “males age 18 to 35” is not enough for you to target your marketing. Especially given today’s technology that provides the ability for you to hyper-target your marketing, you have to know the who, what, where, why, and when of the target customer group:
Who means all of the demographic data you can get, not just age and sex.
What is probably confusing: “obviously the What is my product or service” you’re probably thinking. However, the What really means the benefit that the target customer is getting from your product or service, not the product or service itself. Does it give them extra status? Save them time? This is basic sales training: sell the benefits not the features, because that is what the customer is really buying. In order to do this you need to know what the customer sees as the benefit of your product or service.
Where is your customer when he/she is most likely and most motivated to purchase what you’re offering? Are they in a bricks and mortar retail location? On a computer? On a mobile device? At work? At home? On the road? In a big city, the suburbs, rural areas? Where your customer is will affect how you should approach them to make the sale and how they’re able to respond. Make sure you’re not creating extra steps for your customer or trying to push them to buy through an inconvenient channel.
Why overlaps a bit with What because it’s about perceived benefits. However, whereas the What is about the actual product or service you’re providing, the Why is more of a Why you? It’s about your company. Let’s be honest, as much as entrepreneurs want to believe that their offering is unique and special, most things in today’s marketplace are commodities. Unless you own the patent on an amazing piece of technology and have a monopoly (in which case you’re almost certainly not reading my blog) you’re selling something that a gazillion other people are selling too. So Why does your target customer buy it from you instead of from one of your competitors?
Finally, When, relates to buying patterns and habits. You know the demographics of your target customer from the Who, but you also need to know When they’re purchasing to really make the most of your marketing budget. The When relates to both bigger When events such as When planning a wedding, When expecting a baby, When just graduating as well as to more routine timing such as day of week and time of day. If 90% of your sales happen on weekdays between 6pm and 9pm, why waste a bunch of money marketing to people on Saturday at noon? Unless you’ve developed a well though out strategy to actively try and change buying behavior and increase sales at slow times, it makes the most sense to target customers when they’re primed and most likely to buy.
Once you’ve figured out the who, what, where, why, and when of your target customer group, you’ll have a much easier time effectively using the four Ps of marketing: product, price, place, and promotion to maximize your marketing budget and bring in more customers with a lower acquisition cost per customer.