I was on the phone with my current group of Personalized Business Makeover clients today and we were talking about the importance of identifying who your Ideal Clients are. It really is one of the most foundational things you can do for your business and your marketing. After all, if you don’t know who you are talking to, how do you know what to say or where to reach them?
Most of us have heard of Target Markets
During the lesson I shared with them a story from years ago when I was a media buyer in an advertising agency. My boss came to me and asked me to put together a radio buy for a client, and told me the target market or demographic I wanted to reach was Adults aged 25-54 years old. This was early in my career and I was probably about 27 years old. And all I can remember thinking is, both my dad and I are in that target market. We couldn’t be more different: I was just starting my career, he was near retirement; I hadn’t yet started my family, and he was the father of four adult children; I could go on as I’m sure you can imagine. But the thing that really stood out to me was this: we certainly don’t listen to the same radio stations! So how was I supposed to reach us both with one radio buy? I’ll tell you how. By buying advertising on multiple radio stations – a strategy that absolutely cost more money and undoubtedly included a lot of waste “exposure.”
Thus the reason I don’t believe in the concept of Target Markets
I’ve always chosen instead to identify “Ideal Clients.” Ideal clients are a subset within a broader target market. This subset takes into account not only demographic characteristics such as age and gender, it takes it one step further and includes values, motivations, habits, likes & dislikes. It is a detailed description of all the things, tangible and not, that make up that person and influence their buying behaviors.
Taking it One Step Further
In my coaching and training over the past 6 years I have taught my clients to take the identification of their ideal clients one step further, and actually “Create a Character.” This character is a fictional person that represents your ideal client. Give him or her a name, an address, a city, a state, a country, and then describe their life, a typical day, their fears, their desires, their challenges, all the little things that make them who they are, as if you were describing a close friend. You can even find a picture from a magazine that represents this person and post it on your office wall. Then, whenever you are marketing, make sure you are speaking to this ONE person. And that is how you create a marketing message that resonates. That is how you create a marketing message that has your ideal clients saying to themselves, how does she know what I’m thinking? Or how did she get inside my head? And when your ideal clients feel you know them that well, they will also be more likely to feel like you can help them, and place their trust (and their money) with you for that help.
The Final Step: Creating an Avatarget
My latest incarnation of the “Create a Character” exercise is to create an “Avatarget.” We all know what an Avatar is – it’s an embodiment, a personification, or a graphic image that represents a person on the Internet. When you combine the essence of an Avatar – a personification of a specific person, with the concept of Target Market – those people you are “targeting” with your marketing message, you get “Avatarget.”
So my question for you is, who are you marketing to?
1) A broad target market: in which case it’s likely your message is not specific enough to truly resonate with them, and you therefore may not be getting the results you want
2) An ideal client: a detailed definition, but very often still a “bullet point” list of characteristics that still doesn’t feel like a real person
3) An Avatarget: a character that represents your ideal client, in full living detail Of course you know my advice is if you’re not marketing to #3, you and your business will benefit hugely from getting more specific.
P.S. So I actually think the Avatar I chose as the image for this post kind of looks like me. :-) What do you think?