Innovation Junkies Podcast

Four Ways to Get the Most From Your Marketing

In this episode, the Jeffs talk about target markets & why they matter. They discuss the importance of knowing your ideal customer, utilizing third-party data to inform your messaging, and four things you must do to get the most from your marketing investments.

Jeff Standridge (Intro):
Are you ready to change the trajectory of your business and see massive improvements? Each week we’ll share strategies and practices to generate sustained results and long lasting success in your organization. Welcome to the Innovation Junkies podcast.

Jeff Standridge:
Hey guys. Welcome to another episode of the Innovation Junkies podcast. My name’s Jeff Standridge.

Jeff Amerine:
Hey, and this is Jeff Amerine. Glad to be back.

Jeff Standridge:
Yeah. Good to be here, man. Got a good show today. Last couple of episodes we talked about unique value proposition, we talked about client engagement process. Today we’re talking about target market, four things that you got to do to make the most out of your marketing and investments. So what do you know about target market today, Jeff?

Jeff Amerine:
Yeah, there’s a lot of confusion around understanding target markets. Sometimes people will think about total market, which can, as an example, if you’ve got a software solution and it’s very specific and it sells into a particular vertical, sometimes people will think, “well, our total market is the whole universe of software that’s being sold everywhere,” versus target market is intended to define those people that are actually going to buy something like what you have and are in a buying cycle. So it’s actually a smaller subset of total market. But give us some more specifics, Jeff, how do you think about it?

Jeff Standridge:
Well, yeah, one of the biggest errors that I see is people don’t spend enough time really thinking about precisely who they’re going after. In fact, many times, and you’ve seen this particularly in the entrepreneurial ranks, is someone will say, “Well, everyone can use my product or service.” Well, the problem is when you think that everyone can use your product or service, you can’t develop a message that’s compelling enough to actually speak to everyone, so therefore no one actually resonates with your messaging. One of the first things that I like to do is guide the clients that we work with through how to identify their ideal client profile. Take a look at who are they really going after? Who are the most likely people that are going to buy from them and what are the characteristics or what’s that persona?

The first question you have to ask is, are you selling B2B or are you selling B2C, business to business or business to consumer? If you’re selling business to business, then you need to know things like what industries are we selling in? What are the industries most likely to use our solution? Who’s the buyer within that industry? Is it a CFO? Is it a CTO? Is it a CEO? Is it someone else deeper in the organization perhaps? Then you need to know about what size of company are we talking about? Are we talking about a multi-billion dollar company? Are we talking about companies in the $25 million to $250 million range? Are we talking about companies in the $1 million to $10 million range? So getting real crystal clear, if you’re selling B2B, those are called firmographics, right? What are the demographics of your firm or the business that you’re selling to?

If you’re selling to consumers, then you have to know what are some of the demographics and psychographics? Demographics being what’s what’s the age? Are they male or female? What’s their annual household income, et cetera. Some of those general demographics, what geographies do they live in? Versus then the psychographics is what’s compelling them to buy? What’s going on in their head that’s leading them to believe that they need your product or service? I’ve heard it said before, what conversation is going on in their head already so that you can craft your messaging to actually enter a conversation that’s already happening? You got to get crystal clear about who your ideal client profile is. That’s first and foremost. Thoughts about that?

Jeff Amerine:
Yeah, I think it makes so much sense and it is some of what we teach in customer discovery processes. Sometimes people think customer discovery is just the realm of the startup world, but really customer discovery is something you need to be doing all the time when you’re selling a product or a service so that you truly understand that those customers that you think you’re targeting. They may be buying something completely different than what you think you’re selling and so it’s really important to learn about what that ideal client profile is, what the power map is if it’s a B2B, how they buy, who the economic decision makers are and the influencers, all that stuff is really critically important. And then you can tailor your messaging, your marketing campaigns, your approach to best serve that client that you’re trying to go after.

Jeff Standridge:
Yeah, that’s a great point. One thing that I didn’t say that’s kind of the last rung of that ladder, if you will, after you’ve identified all of those firmographics, demographics, or psychographics, depending on your ideal client profile is then what’s the major problem that they’re having, that your solution, your product, your service actually solves? That’s about your ideal client profile.

Then, and you just said the second thing, is to craft all of your marketing messaging to speak directly to that ideal client profile, to speak directly to that problem that they’re having, and make sure that all of your messaging actually is very, very precisely honed to compel that ideal client profile to get their attention and to get them to take action.

Jeff Amerine:
Yeah, it’s so true. I think it’s also, even when you start off with good third party information and you think you’ll understand that ideal client profile, successful marketing campaigns are seldom about we figured it all out, we’re going to launch, and we’re just going to collect the inbound leads. It’s a lot of iteration, reiteration, to really understand, essentially AB testing type of methodology, as to what works and what doesn’t, what’s getting a response, what’s getting a request for a demo, what’s generating those inbound leads. You’re never too far from having to have a good set of analytics to understand what’s working and what isn’t as well, wouldn’t you say?

Jeff Standridge:
That’s right. Absolutely, completely agree. Then once you figure out what’s working and probably more importantly, you figure out what’s not working from a messaging perspective and from an actual lead generation perspective so you know who your ideal client profile is, you’ve crafted your messaging, you’ve beta tested, you’ve AB tested to make sure that you know that your messaging is actually resonating, it’s actually generating some results, then you go back and look at all your other activities where you interface with the client from a marketing perspective and you make sure that they’re focused on that new messaging. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen organizations go through this process of developing an ideal client profile and redoing their messaging, but then they don’t go back and audit all of the touch points that they have with clients and make sure that they are optimized for that ideal client profile and for the messaging that they’ve now honed and AB tested.

Jeff Amerine:
As you think about some things that have gone right and some things that have gone wrong, as you think about those examples, what are some examples of companies that you’ve seen do it really right and some that have maybe made missteps without naming names? But I just think you’ve had lots of experience in this space. What do you think?

Jeff Standridge:
I think some of the best companies that I’ve seen have been ones that are specifically geared in the financial services industry. One of the companies that I worked for for years went from $100 million to over $1 billion of annual revenue servicing the financial services industry, specifically the credit card industry. I think the credit card industry has probably done a better job than just about any industry of using third party data and third party analytics, really running the analytics on their client database, their customer database, and understanding who’s likely to buy, who’s in the market to buy, and what can we use from the third party data that we know about them to inform our messaging so that we can get them to actually take us up on the offer that we make to them. By far and away, I’d say the financial services industry specifically in that credit card space has been the best.

Jeff Amerine:
What are some examples where you’ve seen companies, well intended, but it’s a really big miss? They really haven’t followed a good process of understanding the target market.

Jeff Standridge:
I would say rather than a single individual situation or an example, I would say that it’s the vast majority of companies. The vast majority of companies go out and build a website and create online brochure and they give no real consideration to whom they’re speaking or to whom they’re trying to sell and they waste thousands, if not tens of thousands in the larger company, hundreds of thousands of dollars, on sending out this bland, one size fits all messaging, and really not trying to hone it in on an actual ideal client profile. I’d say rather than a specific example, it’s about 90% of most companies, to be honest.

Jeff Amerine:
Yeah. It’s pretty remarkable and you kind of wonder if it’s just that they didn’t do enough outreach, they didn’t really understand it, they had the wrong focus groups. It’s hard to say, but I would say that’s true. A lot of companies focus on just transmitting what they think will resonate without really having a good feedback process or without having done adequate customer discovery, either through third party data or direct engagement, and then there’s some epic failures.

I’ll give you one and I can’t recall the company, it’s probably good I can’t, but there was a food product that came out that was intended to celebrate Juneteenth, an important holiday, to a large segment of the population. This thing was really kind of, crassly done and very tone deaf, and they ended up pulling it off the market pretty quickly, but it was very clear to me that somebody sitting in a boardroom somewhere in a product development room had created this product, thought it would resonate, and hadn’t done near enough market testing, focus groups, or understanding of who their ideal client profile was.

Jeff Standridge:
Yeah, probably scores of examples like that as well over the years. We’ve talked about homing in, on your ideal client profile, getting real crystal clear about who they are, psychographics, demographics, firmographics if you’re B2B, and what’s the problem that your product solution or service solves. The second thing is to craft your messaging, to speak directly to that ideal client profile. The third thing is to make sure that all your marketing is then focused on it and then probably where you get the most bang for your buck is then by documenting and relentlessly measuring all of your marketing processes so that you can determine very, very quickly what’s working and what’s not, and when something that worked yesterday and for the month and six months and 12 months prior stops working, you’ll know that it stopped working and you can begin to reshuffle the deck and make sure that you’ve got the right message going to the right folks at the right time and generating the right results.

Jeff Amerine:
Yeah, I think that’s great. It’s kind of like Edward Deming said, the father of total quality management and lean processes, he said, “In God we trust, all others bring data.” Having that data to ensure you’re on the right track is crucially important. Great stuff, Jeff.

Jeff Standridge:
Data-driven marketing. Yep. Data driven marketing is the way to make sure that all your investments are paying off just like you do all your other investments. Good stuff, target market and the four things that you must do to get the most out of your marketing investments. Hope you’ve enjoyed our episode. It’s been another episode of the Innovation Junkies podcast. Thanks for joining.

Jeff Amerine:
See you next time.

Jeff Amerine (Outro):
Feedback from listeners like you helps us create outstanding content so if you like this episode, be sure to rate us or leave a review. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to get the latest growth and innovation strategies. Thanks for tuning in to the Innovation Junkies podcast.

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