Commercially speaking, your brand is your identity – it’s the one thing that’s exclusively yours and makes an immediate statement about you, even if it’s no more than the font in which you write your name or the colour scheme on your marketing materials. In a nutshell, it’s your ethos, personality, values, Unique Selling Point and target market in a….well, nutshell. And what about reaching that target market? We may not necessarily want the masses knocking on our door but in order to convert marketing into custom we have to target everyoneto start with, right? Wrong. We spoke to artists and creative industry insiders about the importance of getting your brand and target market spot on from the very beginning…
Targeting is everything
The biggest mistake people make is targeting everyone – no product or service has a blanket target market. Ok, well maybe toilet roll but even those folks decide whether to target the people who like to imagine fluffy puppies rolling around their beige furniture or the busy, no-frills household looking for 87 rolls for £3 or the eco-friendly couple pained by the thought of destroying a tree for their personal needs…you get the drift. The point is, no-one targets them all at the same time, despite the fact that it’s an essential item for everyone.
In the same way that your target market drives your branding (more on that in a future blog), your target market dictates your marketing strategy. Marketing only has a tangible return if it’s targeted at potential customers…the whole point of marketing in the first place really. Joanne Wdowiak of branding and website design company a dozen eggs agrees that you can’t even begin to make marketing decisions until you’ve decided exactly who it is you’re aiming at:
“Start by establishing who your target audience are: once you know that, you can make decisions about how to reach them.
Think about how your target customer buys, where they buy and why they would be interested in what you have to offer,” she advises. “Once you have answers to all of those questions you can begin to make an educated decision about the most effective marketing methods to use. For example, if your clients don’t regularly use social media, a Facebook ad might not be the best way to keep them updated on your new products.”
Jo’s point about using a Facebook ad when your target market are more likely to be reading a local newspaper than surfing social media is an essential one. Failing to speak directly to a specific market often equals pointless effort and wasted money, as Charlie Hinesh, founder of ID1/ The Print Design Co warns: “Keep focused and stick to your specific demographic when it comes to marketing. I’ve seen companies whose products are produced specifically for the young female market, yet their marketing strategy is very open-ended, targeting any age, sex or individual they come across. A simple tweak in their strategy by focusing on who their products are really for shows an increase in customer response and turnover”. Yep, the proof is in the pudding.
This means researching thoroughly what your target market is doing, reading, watching, buying and browsing, not to mention where they are chatting, socialising, taking advice from….the list can be endless as marketing is ingrained in almost everything we do, from a trip to a local festival to a game of Smashy Road. It’s not until you get under your target market’s skin that you can really focus your efforts on communicating directly with them. As Alan Chapman, writer, producer and musician with Rude Angel, a band with a mission to raise suicide awareness since losing lead vocalist Lianne Ashberry in 2015 sums up rather nicely,
“Your audience will not see the world as you do, so don’t expect them to. Try to see the world through your audience’s eyes.”
Zakera Kali, Design Coach & Consultant for Insight Consultancy agrees, advising that your entire company growth strategy should really stem from this: “Do market research to primarily understand your customer – who they are, what they do, where would you find them, what they want? This is one of the aspects of developing an overall strategy for your company,” she says.
Your marketing efforts should not only be tailored to your audience but also to you, as Patrick Welsh, Marketing Manager for Phoenix Arts, advises:
“You need to work out what routes are the most effective in reaching your customer and focus on a few of them, while playing to your own strengths.”
By ‘playing to your own strengths’, Patrick means using the marketing routes that come most naturally to you – if you love socialising and talking to people about your passion, go to lots of networking events, trade shows, fayres and festivals and get stuck in making friends and loyal customers. On the other hand, if you’re painfully shy you’ll probably do more harm than good mumbling into your takeaway latte at a festival when you could be focusing on a social media profile or viral campaign which does the talking for you. Play to your strengths but don’t neglect the rest – use the great resources out there to create a rounded marketing campaign.
If that means hiring someone to do the bits that scare the life out of you, you might find it’s the best money you’ll ever spend.