Experience fall colors in the great outdoors along with some great outdoor advertising!
The great outdoors makes me think about great outdoor advertising, and that makes me think of my ebook. There is a story I share in my ebook that hits home with so many people who understand that sometimes business owners can unknowingly hurt their marketing messaging. The solution to the problem also includes some national award winning outdoor advertising. Please enjoy this excerpt from my book:
How business owners unknowingly hurt their marketing messaging.
Business owners advertise to grow their business. The days of build it and they will come are over, if they ever existed. To compete, potential customers have to know that you exist. The major challenge though is getting their attention so that you can tell your story and pique their interest. Unfortunately, business owners often unknowingly contribute to marketing messages falling flat.
To attract new customers your marketing message must resonate. They must be able to see their situation in your message and clearly understand how your offering will improve their business. But to understand common themes or challenges that your ideal customer is dealing with, you must do your homework. And that’s the issue. Remember, people don’t buy what you’re selling; they buy what they want or need.
Owners are so busy running their business they can lose perspective of what’s truly important to their potential customers or their various situations that it hinders them from becoming paying customers. That gap shows up in the marketing because the owner has the final say, and they often focus the message on what their product or offering actually is, instead of what will grab the attention of a potential customer. In short, their marketing says what they want it to say, not what the customer needs to hear.
A CPA firm that I worked with is a great example. Several years ago, a mid-sized CPA firm asked me to help them grow their business. They offered services beyond those that you typically find from traditional accountants, at the time. But their marketing and advertising efforts didn’t reflect this competitive advantage.
I met with the management team. The owner drove the conversation and conveyed the direction that he wanted the marketing to reflect. I listened, as I do, and asked a number of questions about their past campaigns – the messaging, the media and the results.
As you might guess, the results were not what they wanted, which was the reason I was in the room. The meeting ended and I began fitting together the information they shared. What I came up with wasn’t what they expected.
For an advertising campaign to be effective, it must resonate. The best way that I’ve found to resonate is to connect with a common thought, experience and/or mindset that your ideal customer likely has. Chances are you have heard that knowing your ideal customer’s demographics is critical. I agree, it is. But knowing their age, sex, income level, marital status, positional status, size of business, number of employees, number of locations etc. is just the tip of the iceberg.
The hidden triggers of action lie in figuring out their attitudes, interests, opinions, and beliefs. These are their psychographics. The depth of knowledge that you can gain about your ideal customer’s mindset is invaluable. It means creating messaging that resonates with them because it reflects their way of thinking. Psychographics is the secret sauce that enables you to create messages that taps into their emotions, and that’s the fuel that will skyrocket your results.
Over the years, I’ve found that the extra effort and time taken to dive into the psychographics of your target customer is time well spent and well rewarded. It’s the foundation for successful advertising campaigns and the launching pad for a business’s competitive advantage.
The mid-sized CPA firm was floored when I revealed their new marketing campaign. At first, they were offended.
The owner told me directly, to change it if I wanted to continue working with them. After the shock and gnashing of teeth, I walked them through my thinking and what I learned about the common thoughts that their target customer had or associated with CPA’s in general.
Remember, I shared that they offered services that you don’t normally find at a traditional CPA firm, at least at that time, it was several years ago. Simply said, they went beyond what you expected from a CPA. I combined the two facts to create a message and campaign that catapulted their awareness, their business and their bottom line. In fact, a few years later, they were acquired because of their growth. The message that started them on their way ... Beyond Bean Counting.
As I said, they were offended. “Bean Counter” was considered a derogatory term in their industry. But for their clients and target customers, bean counter resonated with their thoughts. Pointing out that their existing clients loved the fact that they offered much more than other CPA firms was a competitive advantage that they were not leveraging.
In the end, they reluctantly went with the ideas and it proved to be exactly what they needed, even though it wasn’t what the owner liked. My advice: Learn what makes your ideal customer tick and protect against choosing what you like over what will resonate with your ideal customer.
I hope you enjoyed this excerpt. To read about more real-world stories that reveal what it really takes to make marketing work, download my FREE book – How to build marketing campaigns that get results and drive growth.