Know Your Audience

In Uncategorized on September 2, 2010 at 9:03 pm

This is South Dakota. Which contrary to popular belief, isn't near Georgia.

“Where are you from?” one couple asked me during a stay in Lake Tahoe, CA.  When I replied, “South Dakota”, they promptly nodded their heads and she said, “I thought so, I could tell by your accent”.  This struck me as particularly funny, since I did not think I spoke with an accent. Later they confessed that they thought South Dakota was somewhere near Georgia! I admit I wasn’t sitting by a geography whiz, but we all must confess that we make mistakes when we are talking to people whether we intend to or not.

Mistakes matter in the marketing world. Not only should we know our geography, we also need to know a slew of other demographics like ethnic background, age and income. And hey, how about what do your customers want or need and who makes the spending decisions on products?

Once of the key elements of marketing is to know your audience.  The company I work for basically serves South Dakota and in a few places we barely cross over the borders of Wyoming and Nebraska.  The South Dakota Quick Facts from the US Census Bureau lists SD with 9.9 persons per square mile.  Definitely, we qualify as rural; this gives a whole new meaning to the word remote.  We definitely do not live in the land of skyscrapers, stiletto heels and Armani suits.

There is nothing more frustrating to receive than advertisements for products you cannot receive or when you are in business dealing with solicitors from entities you do not serve.  Case in point, every year we receive solicitation calls from the Fraternal Organization of Yada Yada.  When these folks call I ask them where they are calling from, the answer is usually Houston, TX.  My next question is what percentage of the funds return to South Dakota?  Well, at this point the caller is on the defense and their offense is to repeat information previously supplied and not answer the question.  This only makes it easier to thank them for calling and discontinue the call.  Get it? They know nothing about the company and we are not their customer. They do not know their audience.

You need to take the time to know your audience to keep them from disconnecting. Before each marketing campaign we sit down to identify what we are promoting, what the campaign entails, why we are promoting this product and who will receive the product information.  Not altogether far from the infamous Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How we were taught in grammar school. We try to be extremely careful and only advertise to customers that can actually receive our products.

Who are you talking to? What are you providing? Where are you located? Why do you need this product? And, how can I make it happen for you?  All of which is said in my best South Dakota drawl.

Thanks to our guest contributor Becky Drury, Traffic Coordinator, Telecommunications Company in SD.

  1. All very good points. I try to practice this daily. Thanks Becky.

  2. I get calls and emails like that all the time. The problem is that I also send some emails like that too. It’s very time consuming and difficult to go through a list and send an individual email to an individual person. On the other hand, if the return is the same or better and the percentage of people responding goes from 1% to 20%, that would be a lot less people that you’d need to contact.
    As marketers, it’s time to shift our thinking from what we want to sell to giving customers what they want and need. It’s time to for us to determine what they want, when they are thinking about it or when they need it and take that opportunity to get our products in front of them. Then we just show them the value that we can bring to the table.

  3. Awesome, Becky. I love the broader point, but I keep coming back to your fantastic way of handling telemarketing calls. I’m totally adding that to my arsenal.

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