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Targeted MarketingThe advantages of targeted marketing seem self-evident, yet many companies still use advertising strategies that would only be current in an episode of Mad Men. Too often in marketing strategy we use a bazooka to do the job of a hypodermic needle.

When you focus on the general market, you end up reaching a lot of people who are uninterested. This “spray and pray” method worked when you didn’t have to prove an ROI. In today’s marketing world, that isn’t relevant. Or smart.

A few weeks ago a national manufacturer decided to send me a sample of their product hoping to gain my business. It was a brightly displayed package and since it was a dimensional piece, it stood out in my mailbox.

There was one BIG problem: It was for pantyhose.

I’m sure there may be a market for people named Adam who wear their product. I just don’t happen to be one of them. They had wasted their money and effort. This mailing was not an example of targeted marketing.

One example of targeting a broad audience is an advertising legend. In the story, the media director of a large agency was presenting to her prospect, a manufacturer of a car steering wheel lock. She claimed she could cut his outdoor advertising in half and still maintain their current results. How? They would only run ads for the auto anti-theft device that commuters would see driving into the high-crime downtown area, not out. She won her agency the account.

That’s targeted marketing.

When you adopt a targeted strategy, your focus is greater, your results are better, and your prospects feel appreciated. And it all starts with defining your targeted customer.

Here are 6 easy steps:

  • Step One: Start with your current customers: Take a good look at the customers you already have. How old are they? Where do they live? Check out who’s following you on your social channels. These customers are so much more than an opportunity for repeat sales; they’re a wealth of targeted marketing information. Study them. Look for consistencies and you’ll find your focus.
  • Step Two: Leverage the competition: Do a little recon in your category. Find out what your competition is doing right and who they are reaching. After that, you have a strategic decision to make. You can either go after that same audience or steer clear of them and look for a niche of your own. Either way, you’re focusing in on a specific group.
  • Step Three: Study your offering: Take a close look at your product or service. List the features and the benefits. Then use that as a springboard to the type of person who would benefit most from what you have to offer. What you have could be good for everyone, but it is more than likely best for a specific target.
  • Step Four: Use demographics: You can get very focused with every feature you give your audience. What’s their age, their income level, gender and marital status? Are they well educated? What’s their ethnic background and location? The more specifics you choose, the better off you’ll be.
  • Step Five: Get in their heads: Now that you’ve focused on their demographics dig into their psychographics. How do they feel? What are their priorities in life? Imagine their opinions, interests and lifestyles. This way of thinking may seem like something that would help only your creative department, but it goes much deeper than that. Many companies have looked at psychographic and used them to influence their media strategy and on some occasions, their product development.
  • Step Six: Once you have your target audience, target them. Craft messages specific to their wants and needs. Develop media placements that hit their cities, zip codes, and even neighborhoods.

Your targeted marketing and marketing strategy will reap wonderful results. You’ll be more efficient and more effective. And you won’t waste time and money sending “Adam” pantyhose. And isn’t that what great marketing is all about?