Marketing Monday: Know Thy Market (and Thyself)

iStock_000010133336XSmallI’m not really one to believe in the 10 Commandments of Marketing,  or that any such thing even exists.   I think marketing properly depends a lot on who is doing the marketing.   What works wonders for one company may be a complete failure for another.  Some marketing techniques may work for most businesses,  but it’s rare if not impossible to find one that will work for all.

The big secret to marketing well is simply this:  knowledge.  The first bit of knowledge you need to collect is information about your target market.   This, of course,  starts with first nailing down the groups to whom you want to sell.  This also involves understanding that “everyone” is not a group or a realistic goal.  “Everyone” in my town or “Everyone” who likes Doctor Who is a realistic goal,  albeit,  in some cases, an ambitious one.  “Everyone” in general is a pipe dream, and certainly far too large and nebulous a group to be marketed to in any effective fashion.

Once you’ve narrowed your focus and settled on the group or groups to whom you wish to market,  the next task is figuring out how to make effective contact with your selected groups.   The key here is effective contact.  You can have social media profiles all over the place,  you can create a blog,  you can do print ads,  there are any number of marketing venues available,  but none of them are worth anything if they don’t allow contact with your target demographics in a meaningful way.   So, after pinpointing your target markets,  the next thing to do is pinpoint where those markets spend their time and what they do there.

Once you’ve figured out where your target market congregates,  make sure your company appears in those places.  This also requires some research,  because you don’t just want to be in those places,  you want to be there in a way that generates interest and sales.  So,  before you set up your own profiles,  or create your blog,  or make your website live,  spend some time looking at how other successful companies who market to the same markets you wish to penetrate do things.  The goal is not to copy,  it’s simply to pick up techniques and insights that will aid you in making contact and making an impression on your designated market.

Finally,  while you’re pinpointing your market and figuring out where they are and where your company needs to be,  you should also spend some time figuring out where your strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to marketing.   Some social media platforms may suit you better than others.   You may find you’re great when speaking in front of a group,  but not so great when required to write an advertisement.  A good marketing plan will not only take into account the needs of your market,  it will also consider your needs as well.

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