Avatarget instead of Target Market

Debbie LaChusa Avatar

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?

Debbie LaChusa The Business Stylist Avatar

Debbie LaChusa, The Business Stylist

About Debbie

After spending 32 years in marketing, Debbie now spends her time blogging, teaching online courses, doing volunteer pet therapy, and encouraging others to follow a more inspired path through life.

9 comments on “Avatarget instead of Target Market

  1. I love the picture Debbie, yes it does look like you! It’s also a great way to end the article.

  2. Great post, Debbie. Yes, I think the picture does look a little like you! Somehow I think my avatarget will also look quite a bit like me 🙂

  3. This is truly a valuable exercise. I heard this concept from you and others a few years ago and I have used it ever since. I can actually picture myself sitting in front of my “Avatarget” and having a conversation with her. It is so comfortable because I know everything about her.

    If you have not done this for your business take Debbie’s advise and spend some time to learn who you are talking to when you create your marketing.

  4. Great post, Debbie! An avatar also tends to bring emotions into it, like a picture or a real person. Emotions attract what you are thinking about and ergo, attract your “ideal” client to you as you are thinking with emotion.

    Having fun while doing business is also a win-win situation.

    Can’t fail!

  5. Enlightening. I can’t wait to sit down and describe “her” (I already know it will be female). I wonder what percentage of people end up with an avataret that closely resembles our self…

    Thanks for another good blog.

  6. Thanks for all your comments and for contributing to the conversation!

    Here’s a thought…once you’ve described your Avatarget, why not come back here and post your description?

    Who knows, she may be reading!

    So, who’s willing to accept that challenge and share their Avatarget description here on the blog?

  7. Hi Debbie,

    I always knew you’re supposed to define your target market but I guess I never really realized how resistant I was, until I read your post. Initially, I felt like I was cutting out all the potential customers who could use my Fashion coaching service.

    But, I can’t attract my ideal client if I’m not speaking their language. I believe I had an AHA! moment. Thank you for helping me bring my awareness around this oh-so important topic. 🙂

    ~Amanda

  8. Thank you for this article! I recently completed your Get Clients UDemy course and I am overwhelmed with all of the really helpful advice you have to offer.

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