I’m Not Talking To You

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Last week at my son's High School graduation, I was catching up with former neighbors who were telling an amusing story about their two-year-old granddaughter. When another neighbor asked her about the conversation she was having with the flower, she replied, “I'm not talking to you!”. Making it clear that her conversation was meant for the flowers and the flowers only. This immediately got me thinking about advertising and marketing strategy.

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Have you ever watched a commercial and thought, “That was dumb”? Well, that's because the commercial or the message wasn't meant for you. It was meant for a highly narrow, niche, segmentation of the market as a whole and you just happened to be in the same space as the intended audience is known to be watching. Creating a message that speaks directly to the products' target market is the key to marketing success and ensuring that the money spent is well worth it in ROI (return on investment). The biggest mistake I see business owners commit is trying to make their marketing message so general, to hit everyone, that the meaning gets lost. The message becomes so vanilla that they become the white noise in the room. No one realizes that they are being talked to and their referral agents can't produce a visual picture what a good client would look like to make a meaningful connection.

“When you try to be everything to everyone, you become nothing to no one.”

Narrowing your target market is scary for small businesses. They are so concerned about making a sale that they feel if they narrow their niche, they will reduce sales. When in fact, the opposite occurs. When a company investigates who they can service the best, in the least amount of time for the most amount of money and they value the benefits they provide, more profit is made. More profit is made because after narrowing the focus, the message becomes direct and customized to the intended target…who, in turn, will notice that the company is really talking to them. “Oh!”, they think, “This company gets me. They understand my frustrations and desires and truly cares about my success, happiness, wellbeing, etc.”.

Let's look at a few examples:

Gatorade Frost ‘One More' commercial

This spot is speaking directly to the type-A athlete that is looking to push themselves to be their personal best. This commercial wouldn't air on the food network because the audience isn't, generally, interested in hard core sports. In addition, this spot is extremely male dominate with a small nod to women athletes. In fact, I didn't even register seeing the female athletes until I watched the video again before uploading it to this post. To point, this message is an artfully drilled down example of what a narrow target market message should look like. Take notes and emulate.

State Farm ‘Shopping' commercial

In this commercial State Farm is targeting the female, budget conscious 20-somethings. Both girls are shopping but neither is willing to purchase an expensive handbag without having enough funds. When the one realizes that moving her insurance over to State Farm saved her more than the purchase of the purse, she is reiterating what a smart move that was, making her happy with her reward. The commercial then implies that if you don't move your insurance over to State Farm you're just being “played with” by your insurance carrier making you feel like a fool. This commercial has a clear message and allows the intended niche viewer to understand State Farm is talking to them. Use this example to help you narrow your target market.

While speaking in front of a group of consultants, someone asked why big brands don't always advertise. My response was that they do always advertise but you might not be the intended target at that point in time, making it appear that they don't consistently promote. As you can see from the above conversation, by narrowing your focus and creating a message that speaks directly to the target market, advertising and marketing strategy can increase business through qualified leads, resulting in higher sales.

Would you like to know more about narrowing your target market to one that will insight action? Download our free eBook, 7 Steps to Marketing Success. Want to talk further about which commercials resonated with you and which one didn't, share your comments below. Interested in having a discussion on how to create a razor focused target market campaign? Contact Stand Out Results at [mailto][email protected][/mailto] or 585.67.BRAND.

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