In the world of marketing, timing is just about everything. While the content itself needs to connect with the target audience, offering a reliable and relatable subject and pitch, without proper timing, nothing is possible. The combination of content and timing helps craft perfectly positioned content, which drives potential customers to a website, storefront or another e-commerce offering. Due to this, developing the polished mixture of time and content has the potential to dramatically affect the long-term goals of any business. To ensure all of this comes to fruition, a company and its marketing department needs to understand how to attract an ideal customer with perfectly positioned content.
Identifying Core Values
To connect with someone, it’s necessary to share similar values. This creates a bonding opportunity. The same holds true in the world of business. In order for a customer to connect with a business, it needs to share similar core values. In other words, what’s important to one is also important to the other. Tom’s Shoes, for example, donates one pair of shoes to a needy child for every purchase of a pair of shoes. The core value of the business is to provide a quality pair of shoes while giving back to the community. The company has built its business on this core value, attracting customers to the business due to this singular passion.
Not all core values need to revolve around philanthropic endeavors though. During the mid to late 2000’s, Apple released a number of commercial spots, showcasing itself not only as the hip alternative to the PC but as a computer system for design professionals and those who produce and create media. In this case, the core value is to artistically create or to simply look cool.
The graph below shows the progression of Apple sales following the initial release of its television spots in 2006. It shows market share went from four percent (when the advertisement first started) and shot to almost 10 percent when the advertisements finished. This accounts for the largest growth percentage in the last decade at Apple. In fact, since Apple stopped the advertising campaign in 2009, market shares have only grown three percent more (or about half as much in an eight-year period, as opposed to the three year period with the commercial spots). It also shows the importance of understanding a target audience. Apple has shifted away from targeting a specific demographic within its advertisements to advertising to a wider audience, and despite the wider audience marketing campaigns, have seen a steady slowdown in market share growth. Often times it’s better to target a portion of the pie instead of going after the entire pie.
In order for a business to succeed, it needs to identify its own core values and what to put on display for the rest of the world. These core values will attract a certain customer base. It’s up to the business to determine which customer base it wants to attract.
What Does the Key Demographic Look Like?
The core values, in a way, represent what a business looks like. A business doesn’t usually have a human face to it (although some marketing campaigns use spokespeople in order to artificially create this appearance). Most people couldn’t pick out “Tom” from Tom’s Shoes (Tom’s founder is Blake Mycoskie) or Ben and Jerry from “Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream” from a lineup, but they know the company’s core values.
The consumer knows what a business looks like with the aid of core values, but what does the customer look like? This is where generating the key demographic visual is important.
Identifying the key demographic visual doesn’t just help the business internally identify whom to market to. It also helps externally connect the customer to the business.
Often times, the key demographic, at least the demographic the business wants to market to, appears within marketing material. This makes it possible for the target audience to visually put themselves in the place of the person in the advertisement. When selling a home, real estate agents remove personalization, photographs and other material that might show signs of the previous homeowners. This is designed to make it easier for potential buyers to visualize themselves within the home. The same is true when placing the key demographic within ads.
When Apple released its “I’m a Mac” commercials, it showed the PC as the old-fashioned, slightly overweight and slightly dorky guy, stuck in IT clothing from the 1970s (as referenced in the previous section). The guy representing Apple wore hip clothing and personified a laid back, cool guy who let the world come to him. In a sense, Apple placed its target audience within the commercial. At the same time, it put the total opposite in the commercial as the PC. It did this to not only illustrate the difference between the two but to not potentially alienate a customer who might shop Apple. It protected itself while advertising to its target audience.
Knowing what the key demographic looks like is crucial for a company’s marketing campaign. It doesn’t matter how perfectly timed and positioned advertisements are if it doesn’t fit in with a target audience it won’t have any lasting impact.
It’s important to stop and think about what commercials are memorable even a decade later? The “I’m a Mac…and I’m a PC” commercials certainly are. Another might include the Budweiser “Whazzzz Upppp” commercial spots. Few commercial spots are memorable for this length of time because it melts away in memory, not standing out. These two particular commercials demonstrate the ability to connect with a very specific audience and even offer catch phrases easily remembered. This doesn’t mean to produce a perfectly positioned commercial it’s necessary to include a catchy catchphrase, but it certainly helps.
Most companies integrate the use of a catchphrase or saying in order to increase brand awareness. Nike has one of the most recognized brand sayings of “Just do it.” McDonald’s uses “I’m loving it.” Many companies update and refresh the catchphrase. In the modern world of social media marketing, it’s possible to now include the catchphrase in hashtags to connect fans of the product together on social media.
According to Element 7 Digital (2018), many of the most recognized and remembered advertisements come with slogans that connect with the ideal customer. In fact, 36 percent of all TV adds have a slogan, with seven percent of the ads put to a jingle. While only seven percent of the ads included a jingle, those responding to a customer survey said the accompanying jingle made it easier to remember the slogan. In the survey, while only seven percent of ads used music with the slogan, of the top 10 most remembered slogans, three included a song and a fourth, Taco Bell’s (Think outside the bun) included a bell sound at the end.
The Company Is Not the Audience
This is where far too many businesses slip up. The heads of the business make commercials for themselves and not their target audience. However, they are likely not the key demographic. An example of this are executives at a movie studio. Executives all the time green light movies for production they likely have no interest in seeing. Disney puts out Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar and also serious drama and comedy pieces. There are good chance executives at the studios have no interest in some of these genres of movies, but they know the movies make money. So instead of making movies for themselves, they make movies for their audience. This is extremely important in the world of business. While on a smaller scale, a company must produce marketing content for its target audience, not for itself.
Connecting to a customer with shared values does not mean the customer wants to see the same marketing material. While this similarity exists, company and client are not universally similar.
For starters, the business knows everything there is to know about a product. The same is not true for the customer (even a well-informed customer). It’s important for a company to never assume the customer knows everything. There are different levels of marketing material, depending on where the content appears (when advertising at industry conventions it may be safe to assume most in the audience know more than the general consumer, but even then it’s important to never assume what a target audience does or doesn’t know).
In order to best produce content that connects with a customer, it’s essential to walk in the customer’s shoes. This includes what the customer sees and how it makes them feel, react or think.
To best determine this, it’s important to utilize what is known as an empathy map. An empathy map helps establish what a potential customer sees and how they react. These particular maps can vary, but generally, it is broken down into four quadrants on a graph, with an x-axis and a y-axis (with the graph showing both the positive and negative sides of the two axes to create the four quadrants). The four quadrants are then broken down into “thinking,” “seeing,” “doing,” and “feeling.” This allows a business to graph out how an experience or advertisement makes them react to all four quadrants within the empathy map.
The best way to walk in the shoes of the target audience is to go through their day. What is a typical day like? What do they want to accomplish? Do they have hopes and dreams and fears? What problems do they face on a daily basis? What are options for solving the problem? How does the product in question address their daily needs (and problems)? These are all important questions to build off of. Depending on the target audience, more questions may need inclusion within the list.
The different questions can then be mapped out on the empathy graph, which provides insights into how they might react to certain marketing material.
Bring it All Together
With the combination of identifying core values, who the target demographic is and how they react to products, marketing material, and ideas, it’s possible to identify the best way to reach out to these customers in advertising form.
In the world of marketing, the more a business knows about its customers the easier to becomes to produce content directed toward them. By ensuring the marketing material is designed for the target audience and not the business itself, the company can generate the perfectly positioned (and polished) content.
The new marketing material will establish the core values of both the customer and the business. This shows a shared likeness and dedication. The established bond instantly connects the two and shores there might be more similarities than differences. After all, even if Tom’s Shoes makes the products instead of buying it, there’s a shared dedication to help others. At the very least, it helps the buyer feel better about purchasing a pair of shoes because they know it will go to helping someone else.
With the core values in place, the company can push forward with the advertisement by showcasing the target audience within the ad. Now the key demographic doesn’t just share the same core value they also appear within the marketing material, which brings the customers into the fold further.
Understanding the customer, what they’re looking for and how they will react to the marketing material becomes the final pillar in perfectly positioned content. This shows there’s not just a connection between business and customer, but it indicates the company intimately understands its customers. It does this by knowing how they will react to the product in their daily life and how it will even improve their lives at the same time.
For a business to attract the ideal customer with perfectly positioned content, it’s necessary to follow these specific steps. From identifying a shared core value and creating marketing material for the customer and not the business to having insight into the target audience’s daily activities and how the product addresses a problem they might have, it will drive home the ability to craft marketing content specifically designed just for the target audience. As long as the business follows everything learned from these points, it has the potential to thrive and grow while expertly connecting and demonstrating its understanding of the key demographic.