How to define your target market – motivation vs. demographics

I recently worked with a client named Jane who is a healer of sorts. When we sat down to analyze her target market, she was mystified. “I don’t know” she said. “I work with both men and women, their age and income is varied and they are of all sorts of different professions – this is why I can’t figure it out.”

As with many entrepreneurs, Jane was focusing on the demographic profiles of her clients which were at best, varied. We looked instead at the motivation of her clients – that is to say, “why the heck do these people come to you in the first place?”

At this point, we discovered that Jane’s clients were very spiritual. They generally had an emotional block and tried various traditional ways to heal, perhaps by visiting a traditional doctor, chiropractor, massage therapist, etc. Bingo!

Motivation defined Jane’s target market. Once Jane began promoting her services to chiropractors & massage therapists, who had a number of well-motivated clients searching for someone like Jane, her phone began to ring.

Big companies are also looking at motivation as a way to segment a target market. One that is rapidly emerging is that of the “Alpha Moms” a group of socially-savvy, hip and type-A mothers.

A recent article in USA Today touts the equity of this target market in companies such as Nintendo, Proctor & Gamble, and GM. More and more it’s the social characteristics and motivation that defines a target market, not the specific demographics.

Start focusing on the needs and motivations of your target market instead of the age & income – chances are, you’ll be rewarded.

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Writing Copy that Sells – Read How You Want to Write

In today’s world of SEO & meta tags writing online copy can be an intimidating undertaking. Eastonweb’s blog has an insightful interview with Lisa Manyon as she shares her tips and tricks for writing website copy that sells. You can view the post by clicking here.

In my experience, people write like what they read. Many of my clients are insurance companies, associations and technical firms. In the initial interview we analyze why their current marketing material isn’t working. I generally hear something along the lines of “we know it’s bad but we just don’t know how to fix it.”

At this point I assure them that the “blahness” of their current copy isn’t their fault. They’re simply writing like what they’re reading. With so much marketing swill in these industries (especially with the dreaded tri-fold brochures) how could they be expected to write any differently?

If you want your copy to be effective you can either:

  1. hire a copywriter who specializes in promotional copy (insert shameless plug here) or you can
  2. start reading the work of lots of expert copywriters.

I read Lorrie Morgan-Ferraro’s Red Hot Copy almost daily and appreciate her conversational style.

Joe Robson tends to have a more to-the-point style and his website www.adcopywriting.com offers some helpful tutorials.

And if you are working with a copywriter for the web, at least ask about SEO (search engine optimization). At this point it’s almost a requirement to understand the basics of how to weave in keywords to help improve your search results.

Happy marketing.

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Yet another sign of the death of traditional media

In today’s Wall Street Journal Suzanne Vranica comments on the decision of Nike to leave their long time agency Wieden & Kennedy. The reason? “Dissatisfaction with the agency’s digital expertise.” Take note –  times are changing and you can either embrace new trends or get out of the way. Click here to read the full article.

The Pick-up Line, The Date & The Marriage – Understanding the Difference between Marketing, Advertising & Sales

Wedding Cake Topper - Sales is like a MarriageAsk 100 marketing professionals about what they “do” and you’ll get 100 different answers. Compound advertising & sales professionals and you end up with a big nebulous cloud of ambiguity.

In my post 101 Ways to Market Your Small Business, I make a reference to the difference between marketing, advertising & sales. Many people have asked me to expound – so here it is.

Imagine you’re a single person and you’re looking to meet that special someone. You go to your local pub since you know that there are many other eligible singles that you could get to know. The process of dating is very similar to the process of converting a cold lead into a client.

In the pub you order your favorite beverage. You notice that an eligible single next to you has done the same. You ask a pithy question to get their attention. If all goes well, you’ll begin to engage them in a conversation. This is advertising – the goal is to get someone’s attention and engage them to learn more about your product. It’s the pick-up line. If you are asking for the sale at this point it can be perceived that your pick-up line is to the effect of “Will you marry me?” In this age of consumer-driven marketing it’s important to allow your potential clients to come to the conclusion that they chose you on their own. Nobody likes to be “sold.”

Keeping with the metaphor – you’ve engaged in a conversation and now you’re ready to date. Chances are you will have to go on several dates before you feel comfortable enough to make a commitment. This is marketing – a series of activities that leads to the sale. On the dates you’ll probably:

  • Go to different places and do different activities. Your marketing mix should include diverse activities as well – grassroots/guerrilla marketing, traditional media, Public Relations, direct-mail, web & pay-per-click….the list goes on and on.
  • Ask for another date. Your marketing materials must contain a call to action – how do you want your “date” to see you again? Make sure they have your pertinent information – phone number and website is a must.
  • Be yourself. By demonstrating your true value you’re ensuring a mutually beneficial relationship where you’ll both be rewarded.

So after a few (probably many) dates you’re both ready to seal the deal and make a commitment. This is the sales process. Asking for the sale is like the proposal – it’s a critical question to ask if you want to progress to the next stage of the relationship. I once had a friend who dated a great guy for eight years and then left because he never asked her to marry him. Don’t let your prospects walk away because you didn’t ask the question. Many sales people rely on tactics to close the sale and I simply don’t believe in them – if you put your time and effort into your marketing the sale should come easy. (When’s the last time you saw a marriage proposal that had an alternative close? “So would you like to get married on April 18th or 21st?”)

If you start “dating” your prospects you will find that you form more genuine relationships and customer loyalty. From that you can start to see the added benefits of referrals and word-of-mouth advertising which is ultimately what you want. Above all, be yourself and have fun in the process. Happy marketing.

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Advertising: No results? No charge.

My first job out of college was selling advertising space in a low-quality lifestyle magazine that has since dissolved (we all had to start somewhere). We were trained to sell on the basis of our ridiculously high distribution and that our CPM (cost per thousand – a standard way to evaluate the true cost of your advertising) was very low compared to our competition. High distribution + Low cost = Value.

The problem I faced when I went into meetings is that people saw right through it. One person actually told me, “There’s no way I would look through this magazine. It’s garbage. I don’t care how much it costs – it’s not worth it.” Even though the metrics were compelling, once you saw the product it was understood that the results simply would not exist.

Many people face this delima when looking at pay-per-click (PPC) advertising – a popular “ad” on a page (maybe you have some on your blog) that once someone clicks – the advertiser is charged and the publisher is paid. One issue with PPC is the heightened potential for scams called click-frauds where clicks are made with the intention of getting a payment rather than purchasing the product.

Google is experimenting with a new type of advertising called “cost-per-action” that takes the PPC model one step further – you’d only pay for an “action” that you define (like a file download, purchase, registration, etc.) For a New York Times article explaining Google’s cost-per-action model, click here.

If the magazine I worked for had implemented this model I could imagine the changes that would need to take place. There would be a push for higher-quality, better research, and fierce follow-up on which campaigns worked. I applaud Google for this initiative because it removes yet another piece of the “sleazy advertising” stigma. Advertising is a viable way to get your message out to millions and soon, it may be more cost-effective than ever.

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Passion = Profits

If you read my blog regularly, you may have noticed that it’s been a couple of weeks since my last post. I believe it was the Beatles who said, “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” How true.

There has been a recent family emergency that has required me to pack up and move out of town on a very short notice. Funny thing was, the thing I missed the most was my work. I kept thinking of how I’d rather be blogging or reading about the latest ad campaign, or writing copy. My vacation from life is to get back to work.

Do you love what you do? Does your passion resonate with your clients and prospects? Being genuinely enthused about your work is one of the most cost-effective ways to market your business. When I was in corporate sales, a mantra I heard ad nausea was “People buy from people they like.” And it’s true – your passion will lead to your profits.

If you’re in business, ask yourself why. Is it because you have a passion for your product or service and genuinely believe that you’re making a difference – or is it just for the money, fame, notoriety, etc? If it’s the latter, could you take a look at your business, find something you are passionate about, and ride that wave? It can’t hurt – and heck, if we can enjoy what we do – isn’t that half the battle?

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit www.writeideasmarketing.com.

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