Targeted Marketing: Shooting With A Laser Beam
First, it's vitally important to understand the meaning of "targeted marketing".
From my experience, most business owners who have learned about this still don't really understand it well enough. When I talk about "targeted marketing" I mean marketing with a laser beam rather than a shotgun.
Imagine there is a shooting target with the red rings and the bullseye 50 feet away from you. Some people would consider it "target marketing" to shoot at that target with a shotgun. In other words, they understand that their target market is out there, and if they market in enough different places, they'll get in front of them.
But why not shoot at that target with a rifle and a laser focus? With the shotgun, you'll probably hit the bullseye with one or a couple of the shot gun's sprayed BBs. But with the laser focused rifle, you can hit the bullseye with the entire bullet and put a much bigger hole in the target.
By "rifle target marketing" I mean finding your target market in more condensed, smaller groups, and marketing to them again and again. Here's an example: let's say Mr. Business has $1500 to spend on a marketing campaign. He's in the Twin Cities which has a total population, with suburbs, of around 1.5 million people. So Mr. Business has a choice to put out some marketing that will reach many of the 1.5 million people, or he could try to locate his target market in smaller groups and market to them several times. For $1500 he can probably only market to a larger portion of the 1.5 million people once. But if he finds his target audience in smaller groups, it's far less expensive to market to them and so he can do so multiple times for the $1500.
Let's say to have a successful campaign he needs 20 new customers from it. Now, many times business owners look at this and say, "I only need 20, for $1500 I can get XYZ to about a million people. I should get 20 customers from that many people." Well, let's go back to the gun target. Imagine that the target represents the entire 1.5 million people. Let's look at how much money we can spend per person for $1500: the average home has 3 people, so that would be 500,000 homes ($1500 divided by 500,000 homes). So that would leave us about 3 tenths of one cent per home.
Now, let's imagine that we find our target audience in groupings totaling about 6,000 homes. Now we can spend about 25 cents per home ($1500 divided by 6,000). Which do you think will get better results? The ladder will inevitably get better results almost every single time. So, why do most business owners not do this? A) I believe most still really think that "casting a wider net" is always better because they don't want to miss any prospects, and B) I think those that do understand it sometimes just don't go through the work of narrowing down who their target market or audience really is (it's actually usually fairly simple to do this, but that's for a later article). So, get out there and find your target audience in small groupings and save a lot of money and frustration by marketing to them with much better results.
During a recessing economy, nobody can afford to spend money on ineffective marketing. This is THE BEST strategy to use to develop killer marketing campaigns without spending insane amounts of money. This brings me to my second principle: Now is not a time to experiment in marketing unless you've never marketed before. Businesses need to really focus on the basics right now regarding marketing.
Whatever has worked in the past, do more. Whatever has performed poorly, dump it now. Those that you're not sure about: start tracking with extraordinary diligence.
If you're at least breaking even on them, keep them (my opinion is that if you break even attaining a new client, it's a good campaign because of potential repeat business and referrals). If not, dump them. It's not a good time to experiment with new marketing ventures.
When cash is tight, you don't want to get burned on a new marketing campaign that fizzled. Go back to all the marketing ads and basics that have always worked or worked in the past. Also, review your marketing messages (particularly your headlines) and be sure to adjust them to an audience that is afraid to spend money.