Archery and marketing

So, if you have ever done archery you know that there are several things involved... a bow, an arrow, and usually a target on a hay bale with a red center. However, there might be other factors involved as well, wind, rain, the distance between you and the target for example.

If you were to set out with a bow and arrow and no target you would be fine just shooting the arrow and watching where it landed. But you wouldn't have any idea if your shot was good or not. It would just be a shot, in the dark. I think you know where this is going. But I'll continue.

When you set a target first, you have something to aim for. You can create a plan based on the the type of bow, the type of arrow, the wind direction, any other weather events as well as the distance which would affect the ultimate path of the arrow itself. It is the same with marketing.

The very first thing you have to do before deciding what tools to employ is set a target. And it should have a bullseye or sweet spot as well as rings emanating from that. Once you have clearly identified what the target looks like and where it is, then you can determine how to reach it with whatever tools you might use. While this may sound simple, very often people will ask, should I use social media? Should I advertise in this magazine? Should I send direct mail? I won't be able to provide guidance until I hear a clearly defined target. It may be that one is better than another, it may be that they are all appropriate when used correctly. But before you begin with any marketing program be sure to very clearly define your target audience, once you identify the sweet spot you can figure out how to hit it.

Who's your target audience?

When I speak with a new client about their marketing strategy one of the first things I want to know is "who is your target audience?" Very often the answer comes back, "everyone!" That sounds like a good way to capture as many folks as possible, but it's actually not a smart marketing strategy. It doesn't allow you to identify the tools and vehicles you need to use to generate sales. For example, if everyone is your target there are a thousand different marketing vehicles you could use, but you'll be spending a lot of money to reach a lot of people who really won't buy your services, so you need to really get a good sense/picture of who you are targeting and who is most likely to buy your products or services.

So ask yourself, what does my best customer look like right now? Is it a man or woman? Teen? Small business, large business? Is it a family? If it is a person (rather than a business), how old are they? What else do they do? Where do they eat, where do they shop? How much money do they make? Once you start to answer these questions you can begin to look at the different but targeted ways to reach them. While some people believe Twitter is a social media tool to be used by everyone, it may actually be a poor way to reach teenagers, they just don't use it in the numbers that business people do. If you are trying to reach moms with kids, it might make sense to advertise on local blogs that appeal to those moms or on sites that offer activities to do with kids.

Give this a lot of attention before spending money on advertising and marketing so that your dollars are well spent, rather than just spent.