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Do or Die Marketing Plan: Who Do You Think You’re Talking To?

This is the second post in a series of 5, on vital components of an effective marketing plan. See the first one here

If I had a bottle of beer for every time I was told by a business owner that the target market for their brand was everyone I would be a little bit drunk a lot of the time!

Now, usually, the reason for a business wanting to target everyone is that they don’t want to miss out on any section of the population that might want to buy their brand, but experience shows that we must focus on a primary target audience in order to have any significant impact. Other audiences may be targeted to a lesser degree, but having a defined customer to aim for has been proven to be the most successful approach. Why? Because the more relevant you are to your audience, the more likely that your message and offer will cut through and a sale will be made!

Here are 5 points to consider when developing a profile of your target audience:

1. The basics first – start by selecting via age, gender, geographical location, income and family set up.

2. Then we can get nosier – think about what interests your target consumer has e.g. sport, music, birdwatching.  What are their concerns – what worries them? Later on you can think about how your brand could possibly help them cope with their worries.  Have a think about what your audience does in his or her social life. I find it really useful to sketch out a typical day / week in the target market’s life – include the mundane and the treats. Trips to the hairdresser, gossiping with the neighbours, going to the gym – you’d be surprised at what opportunities to connect with them will crop up during this exercise!

3. It’s very useful to determine your target market’s media consumption. TV viewing – what programmes would they never miss out on? Online habits – are they Facebook junkies or social media scaredy cats? Radio – all day background listening to local station or active participant in chat radio debates?  Does your customer read an actual paper newspaper or just pick up odds and sods online? Magazines still engender incredible loyalty – which ones might your customer read regularly?

4. Your customer is not always your consumer – remember that the person who actually purchases your brand or product is not always the same person who consumes it. In this case, it’s important for you to determine who the actual decision maker is. Is it the child refusing to eat anything but your brand of spaghetti? It’s important to recognise and address the needs of both – they can each be put off by a misguided message.

5. Give your customer a name. It helps to conjure up an image of the real person you are communicating with and to decide whether a message or campaign will work or not – “What would our Hannah think of that?” Remember to always respect your target market. You, as a person, don’t need to share all of their views, tastes or interests but you need very much to understand them and your brand needs to share them.

David Ogilvy famously said “The customer is not a moron. The customer is your wife.” Well, yes, he should have said “or husband” too, but you get the drift. So many brand owners de-humanise their customers, when it’s well known that the more we can engage with them, as real people, the more long-lasting success we’ll enjoy. What are your thoughts?

Paula Ronan heads up Angel Marketing - an award-winning marketing agency in Ireland. Paula's experience in developing marketing stratgies, marketing plans and campaigns ranges from Coca-cola, BT, Sky TV to Today FM, Publishing Ireland, DoneDeal and lots of growing and start up businesses. Likes - strategy, creativity, integrity and straight-talking!

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  • Anonymous

    Great post Paula.nThe 5 points are very valuable. As a big bonus (and time saver), if the business owner really focuses on points 1, 2 and 3 will already have a pretty big list of ideas of what to blog about to attract readers that belong exactly to that target audience.

  • Anonymous

    Great post Paula.nThe 5 points are very valuable. As a big bonus (and time saver), if the business owner really focuses on points 1, 2 and 3 will already have a pretty big list of ideas of what to blog about to attract readers that belong exactly to that target audience.

  • Thanks and good point!

  • I’m really loving this series! “Itu2019s very useful to determine your target marketu2019s media consumption” These are such a great set of questions to ask yourself, very powerful!

  • Facundo

    Looking forward to the next post in the series Paula. Point 4 really got me thinking about dog food brands who really get it, selling flavours for owners and not dogs 🙂 n

  • Hi Paula, these are 5 fundamental principles in this part of your series. The challenge for many business owners in Ireland is their own mindset around this and overcoming the fear of eliminating (in their mind) the ‘everyone’ comfort zone. They nod in agreement when this is discussed with them and they want to do it but it is only when they actually test the principle and see results that this will become easier for them to do. I have found, in moving to Ireland, that when business owners take a small step and experience how this can work with a test, this is most powerful. It is when they have tasted the power of defining their target, giving the target a personality and the RESULT – they are ready to do more. But there is a big change needed in thinking on marketing in this area. When we have business owners who have success stories we need to try and get them talking about it more to help move others along the process. Great post.

  • Paula Ronan

    u00a0You’re absolutely right there Sharon, thanks for the comment. I believe Ireland has a fabulous entrepreneurial spirit, there is still a lot of conservatism or risk averseness within the business community which needs to be challenged to reach the true potential of a good business.u00a0

  • Paula Ronan

    u00a0Good example, thank you!

  • Paula Ronan

    As I recently plagiarised at a talk on marketing : Ask not what you can do for social media, but what social media can do for your business! Totally agree that social media should be about solid business benefits, not about its features – good luck with the project, sounds like a great idea, well done 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Paula. It’s always good to have the angels on your side!

  • ccommunicate

    Could not agree more there are an infinite amount of experts but you are correct, where is the substance. Social media works but is as individual as the company.On the subject of substance and not to change or hijack this. I had a conversation with one of my customers today their website was not getting any hits,Why? downloaded source no title no keywords horrible presentation, Customer was charged u20ac1500 for this by one of the experts.

  • Warren Rutherford

    Great story Sian – now, if we can only get their brew stateside:).  The step by step review of building their business is instructive to budding entrepreneurs who have that passion. The brainstorming, especially in the early stages, appears well-balanced with business acumen, all to provide a set of flavors pleasing to customer palates.   

  • Máire Flynn

    Dungarvan Brewing is such a great success story for Dungarvan.   In the Tannery, we love to have our own Dungarvan Brewing beer to offer to our guests and even better, to know the story and the people behind it.  We have the food and the drinking scene pretty much sewn up here now.  If only we could improve the hurling!! 🙂   

  • Thanks Máire. Dungarvan seems to have a great community for food and drink – we’re very lucky in this area – and to know there are success stories for the town too

  • Thanks Warren – hopefully they will be exporting to you soon. They certainly are a great example of good business sense and a true passion in the company too

  • Thanks. It is lovely to know that someone’s hobby can become a successful business

  • Thanks Lorna – certainly is nice to be hearing good news for a change

  • Great interview Sian, always good to see somebody following a dream. Redundancy is a shock when it happens but this is proof positive yet again that many of us only realise our true potential when we’re forced to move out of the comfort zone of a regular job.  Look forward to seeing Dungarvan Brewing Company grow.

  • Thanks so much, we’re all delighted with how things have turned out and our new roles, onwards and upwards!

  • Claire Dalton

    Thanks Máire! I couldn’t not acknowledge all the support you’ve given us since before we started! Now, about those hurlers…

  • Thanks! It’s certainly been a rollercoaster few years but we’re all still enjoying it which is great.

  • Thanks Lorna, it was a pleasure to be interviewed by Sian!

  • Brian Prenderville

    Great Beer, Great story!

  •  Thanks Brian, glad you like both!

  • FIrst off, those beers look extremely tasty!

    Interesting to see how different industries are progressing in different countries. When you look at the craft beer industry here in the States, it has been active for many years, and it seems like it is becoming more popular each year. Fascinating that it is just taking hold in Ireland. Did I mention how tasty those beers look?

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