What do these numbers from AdAge tell you?
As a whole, they reinforce the fact that the world we live in is ever-changing. From the birthrate, to the use of technology, to how we spend our time, we marketers must take into account more than ever, how what is happening today will shape what products, services, and more importantly messages and content we deliver tomorrow.
That ever important marketing plan revolves around, first and foremost, the target audience. Too many marketing plans fail due large in part to the failure to define the target audience. This crucial first step in the process is the make or break stage, and it’s getting both easier and more difficult to pin-point. What makes it easier? We have tons of data at our disposal. The difficulty…we have tons of data at our disposal. Sifting through the data deluge is an art form of its own.
I look at it as a (albeit more difficult) color-by-numbers game…not until the entire picture is complete do we get a full representation of who we are dealing with. Each section of the picture is defined by data (numbers), and only when we arrive at the right conclusions for each section, and color in the lines, will the picture be a true representation of the target audience. When it comes to defining your target audience, the more data the better, as long as it’s the right data and it is supported by multiple sources (primary and secondary research).
As a rule of thumb, I like to start broader (grayscale if you will) for the edges of the picture. An example of this would be the SMB market – too big and fragmented to be a true target audience. I typically start here, then as details emerge i.e. bolder colors, the details will allow the picture of the target audience to begin stand out. The details are totally dependent upon the product or service you are developing a marketing plan around. Maybe you are a tech company, and only want SMBs with on-site IT. Or a cloud service company, and want to focus on data rich small businesses that don’t have IT on-site. The more detailed you are, the brighter the colors, and the more rich the picture becomes.
Working on a post that puts this all into perspective. Stay tuned. I am also trying this out with my latest endeavor around cloud computing. I’ll let you know how it goes.