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Now it’s personal: How custom marketing campaigns make all the difference

Published September 30, 2013 at 1:43 pm

Most of us are taught from a young age that “you can’t be everything to everyone.” The lesson is that we should be true to who we are and not sacrifice ourselves to impress others who couldn’t accept us as we are.

There’s a lesson here for marketers.

In the past, one strategic television advertisement or billboard could probably reach enough of a brand’s audience to create the desired return on investment. But that was before the internet, social media, mobile and other forms of advertising that now confront consumers as part of an almost never-ending stream.

Marketing campaigns now need to be targeted based on known facts about a particular customer’s habits, including how the marketing collateral will reach the audience. This could mean crafting a local marketing strategy or tweaking the message of an advertisement based on how it will be transmitted.

The one question that will drive your marketing plan

While noting that marketing is all about change—”actions, perceptions or the conversation”—marketing author Seth Godin suggests asking one question as you develop a focused marketing strategy: “Who do we want to change?”

Godin argues that if you use this question to guide all of your marketing decisions, you’ll be able to develop a product or service that will ultimately come to be more appreciated by customers over the long term.

Using the example of the competing marketing strategies of Nike and Converse, Business News Daily contributor Janet Kyle Altman notes that defining the “who” of your marketing strategy should be the first step. Marketing to “everyone” is ineffective and inefficient.

“Take a look at Nike’s websites,” Altman wrote last week. “It’s all about fitness, sports and winning. Converse, on the other hand, is about making a personal identity statement.”

Both companies are selling shoes, but they’re targeting different types of consumers.

The power of personas

Altman goes on to suggest creating “buyer personas”—a group of characters that align with a particular segment of your customer base.

Most of the advice you’ll read about developing marketing personas will be the same, but Econsultancy has developed a convenient, three-step process that should get you started. While Econsultancy’s guide relates to content marketing specifically, there is carryover to marketing campaigns in general.

First, you need to develop a basic framework about your target audience. This means asking yourself about the basic identifiers of your customers—what motivates them, how much spending power they have, what pains they experience and what type of solution they would need. Assuming you understand your customer base, you should be able to come up with multiple answers for each question.

After you develop the answers, consider which clusters your customers fall into. The template you develop should reflect every combination of answers you arrived at during the first step.

With the first draft of these personas established, the next step is to involve the appropriate partners within your business. This means working with your sales department to develop a segmented marketing strategy that caters to the unique needs of each demographic within your customer base.

Econsultancy notes that by following these steps to persona development, you’ll be able to build a “lean, mean sales and marketing organization.”

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