JMT Certified

Return to sender!

No such number, no such phone.  

Recently I was due to visit a customer and hastily obtained their address from the signature of one of their recent emails, and off I went.  When I arrived at my planned destination it dawned on me that I had done exactly the same thing on a previous occasion and I was in exactly the wrong place. 

Unlike Elvis Presley in “Return to Sender” however, I had the client’s correct phone number with me and sufficient time to call to ask for the right address, and the visit went ahead successfully with a great outcome. 

“One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked. ‘Where do you want to go?’ was his response. ‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered. ‘Then,’ said the cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.”
~ Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

A few years ago I was travelling with my wife Sue to visit some friends in London for the evening and we had researched the venue sufficiently well that I know exactly where we were due to meet.  We decided to travel in the morning and spend the afternoon visiting some of the fabulous sights of our capital city and we had a detailed itinerary for our afternoon sightseeing tour. 

We arrived into Euston and then took the London Underground to a stop near where we were due to start the visit, and decided we would like some lunch before we started.  I thought I knew where I could find a suitable outlet, our favourite selection includes a healthy salad and I was pretty sure I knew where the nearest “Subway” store was. Well, it turns out I didn’t know where the nearest store was so I turned to Apple Maps to help out.  We followed the directions and before long we had arrived right back at the Underground station we had just come out of!  No doubt you’ve probably correctly guessed that Apple Maps considers all Underground stations to be called subways too. 

I was reminded of this story when discussing the marketing message in the website for a local College of Further Education, where the first question they asked prospective customers who were looking for a course of study was to select the faculty the course was from.  Now, many of these prospective customers would be hard pushed to explain what a faculty was, never mind know which faculty their course would be found in. 

It is so important to have a clear image of your target audience in all marketing materials, and the process of defining your target audience should come before any attempt is made to start defining the message to be shared with that audience. 

The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.
~ Peter Drucker

There are three crucial steps in defining your target audience to bring clarity to your message, and these are:

1. Sources. 

The first step is to prepare a list of the main sources of existing data that you have available right now.  These can include the results from any surveys or studies about your audience, blogs or magazine articles.  It can also come from an analysis of existing clients to understand why they decided to buy from you, and from studying your competition to see who they are targeting, and maybe to spot an unused niche in the market.

2. Objectives. 

Next, you need to define exactly what your intentions are once you have earned the attention of these people.  This can be framed as a statement or series of statements as “We’ll do this … because … they like/are looking for/need this.

3. About them. 

So finally we can define what we know about our audience so far, and describe everything we know about an example target audience member. Where do they live, what do they do for a living, what’s their age/gender/marital status, where do they get their news feed and who do they follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram?

Once all of this has been assembled and you have produced a good picture of your target audience, now’s the time to capture that image in some way so that you can bring this image to mind whenever you work on your marketing.  Some people find a picture of a typical client, others find an object that represents the client.  Whatever method you use, make sure that the result is prominent in your workplace so that you never lose sight of your target audience.

Authentic marketing is not the art of selling what you make but knowing what to make. It is the art of identifying and understanding customer needs and creating solutions that deliver satisfaction to the customers, profits to the producers and benefits for the stakeholders.
~ Philip Kotler

About Roger Fairhead

Roger is a leadership specialist delivering Leadership for Business Achievement through Speaking, Training and Coaching to business leaders and entrepreneurs.

“He is articulate, tracks complex issues with ease and has an incredible gift for raising pearls of wisdom out of the murky depths of people and process.” His passion is to help people to learn effective leadership skills to lead their teams to capitalize on their strengths and passions to realize their dreams.

Leadership for Business also invests into the dreams of families in the world’s underserved communities to offer them small loans that empower them to invest in their future, to provide for their families and give back to their communities.