Last week, I looked at the importance of developing a simple, consistent and differentiated message but that’s really only half of the equation when it comes to having your message heard. You also need to target the right audience so that your message is relevant and resonates for them.
You would think that everyone knows that the more targeted your message, the better the response, and the more successful your marketing campaign. But you would be surprised how often a shotgun approach is taken to communicating a very general message to anyone and everyone.
Identifying this target audience is not a trivial task but I would recommend you start by looking at the audiences you have been successful with, looking for verticals where your product provides the most value, and talking to your sales force to find out the profile of their ideal prospect. The more details you can collect here the better in order to build a prospect profile or persona as it’s often called.
Then it’s a matter of tweaking your message to become a compelling value proposition for that audience and then finding the best vehicle to reach that target prospect profile. I’ll go into details on all of these areas in subsequent posts.
While this may seem like I’m contradicting myself after I stressed the importance of making your message consistent, I’m not, because I only want you to adapt it so it’s more appropriate to that audience and not come up with a new or inconsistent one.
But you’re still not quite done. Even though you now have a simple, consistent and differentiated message that clearly presents a strong value proposition to your target audience, you also need to deliver it at the right time. The simple answer here is that you want to deliver this message when your audience is ready to buy.
However, this is easier said than done since the right time differs by product and market. For some products, especially in the consumer space, this could be at the point of sale. For more technical products with a long sales cycle, the point of sale is waaayyy too late, as you won’t ever get to this point since you won’t be considered in the buying process.
Since there is not one right time to deliver the message, you need to figure out what your sales funnel looks like and how long it takes for the prospect to make the purchase. Ideally you review past sales and look at the steps you go through as well as measure the time it takes to go through each phase.
In the case of a start-up, you may not have many, or any, past sales to review so you just need to take you best guess at what your sales cycle looks like and figure out when the decision to consider your product or service is made not when the purchase is made. Then, carefully record and measure every aspect of your initial sales and refine accordingly.
Delivering the right message to the right audience at the right time is the key to your marketing and communications success. Too early in the process may result in the audience getting tired and tuning your message out. Too late in the process means you won’t be one of the options considered and lose out on the sale. Timing is critical so plan this carefully.
In the end, any marketing campaign will only be successful if it targets the right audience. Developing a specific audience profile, then delivering your message, tweaked for that audience, using the right vehicle to reach them at the right time is key. Basically: right message to the right audience at the right time. Sound simple? Well it’s not but your marketing program will reap the benefits of this approach.