Targeting marketing messages to purchasers and influencers

I appreciated a recent MediaPost article about targeting an anti-snoring product to the real person who suffers because of it — the spouse who is kept up every night by the noisy airflow. Eric Trowe, the VP and account strategy director at Brunner, summed it up well by saying, “When considering a target audience…challenge yourself to identify not just the afflicted but also the affected. Those who are impacted by a spouse or child with a condition may just be the one with the greatest motivation to find a solution.”

Trowe makes a good point that the target market for a product or service may not be the actual end user. The old saying “Mother knows best” takes on new meaning when you consider that women account for more then 85% of all consumer purchases and influence more than 95% of total goods and services.* Women also purchase at least 50% of traditional “male” categories such as automobiles, consumer electronics and PCs. Walk into any Apple Store and you’ll see the majority of sales support is still male, but their customers are as diverse in gender and age as the colors in their spinning beach ball. If you haven’t beefed up your customer service, added reviews and consumer information to your website, or capitalized on referral marketing tools, then you’re missing opportunities to market to this powerful group of female consumers.

And yet, it could be that a 12-year-old child is driving sales for your product. The point is that all audiences should be considered in your marketing, whether it’s primary purchasers, potential referrals and influencers, and even opportunities for publicity and word-of-mouth. Consider both your primary and secondary audiences when planning your messages and marketing. Do you know who is driving the sales of your product or services? Your primary audience is comprised of those that are the most affected, the most motivated and have the greatest influence. Your secondary audience may influence your primary audience and could have some recognized benefit, but they are not your main target.

Del Webb lifestyle communities serve up a great example. The marketing and advertising campaigns we developed for Del Webb in Texas were primarily focused on active adults, but we never lost sight of an important secondary market — their children. Many adult children could appreciate having their older parents at a Del Webb community, not far from where they lived and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. While their children were not the ones making the final purchasing decisions, they certainly were able to influence. The best marketing captures a complete customer profile to target compelling products and messages not just to the end user, but to those making the actual purchasing decisions. The next step increases your scope to address the entire circle of influencers that help your customers reach those buying decisions.

Competitive Edge Magazine

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