Spending money on advertising that doesn’t reach your target audience is no different than flushing money directly down the toilet. Considering the diverse advertising options that are available today, that can mean lots of different toilets! The only way advertising is effective is when your message is seen or heard by potential customers. We all know that part of the equation is easy; the hard part is how to design advertising that focuses on the target audience.
Some companies take a “shotgun” approach to advertising. This means that they spend money on several different methods, hoping that one of the advertising methods will work. This is the same thing as aiming a shotgun at a flock of birds, and hoping that some of the gun shot will kill one of them. This approach works just fine..as long as the company can afford it. Other companies follow the “sniper” approach, which involves aiming at one specific target, lining up the shot, and getting results.
If you are reading this article, then you are most likely a sniper instead of a shotgunner. This also means that you have to create advertising that works by focusing on your target audience.
Before you can create and design advertising, you first have to familiarize yourself with the target. The first step is to compose a “composite sketch” of your ideal customer, much the same way a police sketch artist composes a drawing of a suspect based on witness accounts. Of course you don’t need to physically draw a picture, but at the very least you should write down the characteristics which define the concept of the ideal customer or client. These characteristics include not only the age, income, gender, and educational background of the customer, but should also take into consideration their tastes in music, movies, television, and other forms of popular culture.
Why is this important? Simple. You wouldn’t spend thousands of dollars making a television commercial for a product aimed at the retiree market while using rap or heavy metal as background music. Once you have a composite sketch of your target audience, you tailor your advertising to appeal to that target. This composite sketch will guide you every step of the way, from music selection, to color selection, and every other variable involved in the creative aspect of advertising.
However, the best ad campaign cannot compensate for an inferior quality service or product. Catchy graphics and a sleek presentation are nice things to have in advertising, but ultimately you are not selling a commercial or an ad; you are selling a product, and in the process, you are selling your company and building a brand.