Know Your Audience

One of the biggest draws Facebook advertising holds for small business owners is the ability to target to an extremely narrow, customized demographic. Facebook and other highly adaptable pay-per-click/impression ad hosts are particularly attractive to brick-and-mortar businesses attempting to capture a local market share and increase foot traffic. Being able to direct ad impressions toward, for example, local women aged 24-36 who are married with children and have expressed an interest in high-end clothing, is extremely appealing to a boutique owner. After all, why would you pay to advertise to people who aren’t likely to become your clientele?

This narrow marketing style is definitely useful for small businesses. However, it’s also easy to fall into the trap of thinking such highly targeted ad campaigns are sufficient unto themselves. Just as overly broad marketing can be wasteful, marketing to too narrow an audience can cost you clients, sales, and money. As with nearly everything in business, there’s a balance to be struck.

It’s what you say…
Just about every American adult remembers the old slogan for Jif® peanut butter. Early on, the slogan was, “Choosy Mothers Choose Jif®,” and then it was updated to “Choosy Moms Choose Jif®” in the 1990s. In the early 2000s, Jif® changed up the tag line once more, opting for a more inclusive approach: “Choosy Moms And Dads Choose Jif ®.” Why? Because moms certainly aren’t the only people who buy groceries. Even though the original ads were placed to reach a broad audience (print, television) the message was clear to consumers: Jif® is selling to moms. By updating the slogan, Jif retained its family-oriented sales approach but also acknowledged the changing face of the American family by including all those grocery-shopping dads who have a say in what their kids eat.

…and where you say it.
Just as overly narrow social media advertising can prevent your message from reaching your entire target audience, exclusive slogans or taglines, such as the older Jif® slogan, can (even when well placed) passively create the impression that your business only values a set demographic. Successful marketing campaigns take all of these issues into account. When developing a new campaign, ask yourself (and your team!):

•    Who are we trying to reach?
•    Are we advertising to the right people?
•    Are there other groups we’re not tapping into?
•    Will our chosen modes of advertising reach the right people?
•    How will our content be received?

Stop and think.
Before moving forward, consider using a focus group to test out your new campaign. Once available only to large, ivory tower-type big businesses and ad agencies, focus groups are now accessible online and can be assembled very quickly at affordable rates. Our favorite site for quick and easy online focus groups is GutCheck. From product concepts to ad slogans and packaging ideas, a focus group can review just about any aspect of your marketing plan, providing survey answers and even one-on-one feedback.

By testing your campaign with neutral third parties, you’ll have a better grasp for whether you’re tapping into the right audience. And once you really know your audience, you’ll be in a much better position to determine where and how to disseminate your message.

Are you reaching your entire target audience? Is your marketing broad enough to be inclusive while narrow enough to be cost-effective? Connect with us for an honest, expert evaluation, and find out more about making the most of your marketing!