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You Are NOT Your Consumer: And Other Reasons Why You Aren’t Qualified to Make Your Own Media Decisions

Each month I meet with business owners and have the opportunity to brainstorm about new marketing mediums. We discuss everything from digital and print to outdoor, events and premiums. And during nearly every meeting, the business owner reports “Well, I would never buy anything off a [fill in the media type here].”

It doesn’t matter what industry or service area is represented, the business owner seems to think that they are their target audience and, ultimately, the best judge of what works for audience acquisition when nothing could be further from the truth.

You are not your target customer. And just because you wouldn’t purchase something advertised on a bus stop, on the back of the ladies’ room door, on cable TV, as junk mail, behind an airplane or on a coaster doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider that medium for reaching your target customer.

As marketers, we don’t pick mediums based on what we like or what works for attracting us; we pick mediums based on a diligent effort to outline a strategy, identify our message, segment our best customers, plot our sales process and then figure out what instrument will be most effective in moving the target from suspect to prospect to customer to referral source. Those three or seven or sixteen touchpoints may be best made on a myriad of platform or via a second channel but, at the end of the day, the decision about channel has everything to do with the customer and nothing to do with you.

Just this week, Nike elected to make Colin Kaepernick the face celebrating the 30th anniversary of their Just Do It campaign. Whether or not you agree with this decision has everything to do with what you think of Colin and nothing to do with whether you’re buying Nike. And they know that. They didn’t run a survey and ask “Do you like Colin?” They looked at reams and reams of customer data and buying patterns to identify the persona of their best customer and then figured out the best way to reach them. For Nike, the data revealed that boosting their already inked contract with Colin was a pathway to success, one that already helped them gain $43M in earned media (PR) before ever placing an ad. Pretty smart, eh?

So, if a bus drives through the parking lot of your target customers every day, then a bus board may be the right medium EVEN IF your customers never board that bus. And, if a bus stop exists three blocks from your hard-to-find business, an ad there may be the perfect directional for your customers who drive their own cars to your place of business. The point is to get out of your own head and into the head of your best prospect and figure out how to reach them on their playing field.

This post is courtesy of MMC principal Jennifer Koon.

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