It goes without saying that you’ll never see customers driven to your brand without some kind of marketing plan. It’s the very first thing you learn about marketing. But how do you know your campaign is reaching the right people? Does your image really appeal to your ideal customers? Do they truly understand your products and services? Can you really be sure your advertising dollars are well spent?
Ideal Customers: Who Are They?
It’s easy to think you know what your customers want—after all, you deal with them on a daily basis. But it can be a mistake to assume that just because something’s working well enough, it’s the most effective way of doing things. It’s important to really know your customers and understand their behavior objectively.
In marketing, that’s done by collecting information. One of the most valuable things you can do is interview current customers. You need to understand what the buying process has looked like to the people who already have bought from you. Ask yourself these questions, then figure out how you’re going to get the answers: How did they hear about you the first time? What was going on in their life that triggered the need for your products or services? Why did they choose you over a competitor? Their answers can give you valuable insight into what convinces someone to choose you.
There are many ways to get this sort of information depending on your needs and budget. It can be a casual survey, relaxed focus group, or a larger and more expansive research project. Your marketing professional can help you decide what kind of campaign is most appropriate for your needs, but even just asking a few of your customers personally is better than making assumptions.
The Ones that Got Away
It’s not enough to only look at people who already interact with your organization. To get a more rounded view of your potential market, you also need to gather information from two other groups: (1) people who might buy from you but haven’t yet, and (2) people who decided not to buy from you.
For those who chose not to buy from you, you’ll want to understand why. Was there something about your competitor’s pitch that was particularly enticing, or did your own marketing make them feel uncomfortable? Identifying these people and getting into their minds can be a challenge, but a marketing professional can help you orchestrate this activity in a way that gives you the most actionable information.
For prospects who haven’t made a decision yet, you should find out what factors they’re considering and what you could offer that might sway their decision. Sometimes getting a prospective customer to make the choice quickly can help. It will ensure they don’t spend too much time reviewing their options and then ultimately decide to go somewhere else. Understanding and eliminating the source of their hesitation can be just as important as attracting them in the first place.
Once you have this invaluable information, you can make a plan. Address this project in a methodical fashion, so you can be confident of the results. At yorCMO, we do this all the time. Our in-depth marketing audit includes buyer interviews that help us cut to the root of what made them choose a client’s product. In effect, the audit demystifies their buying process for us. From there, we put together a marketing plan that uses collected information to find the right way of marketing and most efficient path to success.
Marketing Strategy vs. Marketing Tactics
Your marketing tactics are, of course, important. Your social media plan and advertising budget are a huge part of getting your name in front of customers. But what’s even more important than tactics is your marketing strategy. You’ll need to look beyond simply collecting views. What’s the message your audience wants to hear? What’s the problem in their life that you can solve, and how can you convince them you’re the one to do it?
Properly applying your research can dramatically improve the number of potential customers who follow through and buy from you. Your strategy needs to be directly related to what you’ve learned about your ideal client. It’s not worth putting money into tactics if it’s not.
A strategic, well-researched approach allows your money to be spent on the right things—the things that will lead to a measurable increase in sales and give you the biggest bang for your buck. Research into ideal customers allows your marketing to cut through the noise, grab their attention and market directly and specifically to their most powerful needs and wants in a way that just guessing can’t match.
Knowing your customer’s deepest fears and needs—not just thinking you know—is the key to your company’s success. There’s no better way to ensure your marketing budget has an impressive return on investment. If you’d like to learn more about how a strategic marketing plan would work for your business, CONTACT US TODAY! We’d be happy to help you figure it out.
About the Author:
Joseph is CMO and co-founder of yorCMO. In his role as CMO, he focuses his efforts on finding new CMOs to add to the yorCMO team, and developing their client marketing efforts. Prior to founding yorCMO in 2017, he began pioneering video for new media in 2007, writing the book, New Media Habits, and launching the first company to focus exclusively on new media video production in Omaha, NE.