The starting point of effective communication is a clear knowledge and understanding of your target audience. You need to know two things about your target audience: who they are; and what they really want. Covering these bases isn't as easy as it may seem.
I remember my days in public information, when we would create communication plans. Under the column, “Target Audience,” we would invariably write “General Public.” No wonder our campaigns went nowhere!
Who's the “general public?” That's everybody from your grandmother, to a 3-year-old child. From your barber to your stock broker. From the Mom who likes scrapbooking, to the single 40-something career woman. And everybody in between. Do you really expect to communicate effectively with all of them with the exact same message?
Of course not.
And yet, very often, when I ask clients who their target market is, I get an answer equivalent to “general public.” We usually work together until we have a clear and concrete picture of their Ideal Customer — one who has a name, age, gender, family life, residential arrangement, geographical location, professional background, relationships, income, educational background and even fashion sense.
Your Ideal Customer also has internal attitudes, beliefs and world view. She is looking for the perfect solution to a problem that probably keeps her awake at 3 in the morning. Or, if not, at the very least that problem is annoying enough for her to plunk down money at the promise of the solution.
Your Ideal Customer belongs to specific networks, both offline and online, where he connects with like-minded people, gets and gives advice, and hangs out. He uses specific language to describe his problems and express his life dreams and goals.
Unless you know all this, your efforts to resonate with your Ideal Customer will remain an expensive, hit-or-miss exercise.
The question is, do you really know your Ideal Customer?
If not, why not? And what can you do to get to know her better?
PS: If you're still unsure about who your Ideal Customer really is, and would like to stop wasting your marketing efforts, a 45-minute session on the phone with me may be all you need. Click here to see if a Magnetic New Marketing phone consultation is right for you.
Lexi Rodrigo is a communication and marketing professional for multimillion-dollar businesses, co-author of Blog Post Ideas: 21 Proven Ways to Create Compelling Content and Kiss Writer's Block Goodbye, and host of "Marketing Insights LIVE!." Connect with Lexi on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.