Choosing Your Audience Without Apologies

choosing audience without apologies Choosing your audience without apologies is traditional advertising of tv, radio and print as these spots tend to reach the watchers of a certain show, magazine/newspaper or station and not necessarily those that would ever purchase. This holds true on the web as well with sites that have ads that reach the target market and then some who are viewers of the site but do not fit the exact target of the ad. Sure, we look at the numbers provided by the media outlets and strategically place ads based upon the demographics provided by them and see where our target is there and bam, we place and run. There is always an audience that is not the target and some may become and for others, the spot is falling on deaf ears. That is the nature of traditional advertising as regardless of how technology betters, we can never solely attract our target audience. Do we need to apologize for this? No. We have become accustomed to receiving advertising messages that are not for us. Sometimes we listen or sometimes we do not. Advertisers hope we do as they just want a return on their investment.

No Apologies

Discount retailers who are targeting a certain segment never apologize for having discount merchandise or attracting for new customers. They never apologize for not having the size scale or ample amount of merchandise that a non discounter has. They lure us in by giving us merchandise that is sold at a lesser price, which gives us more to enhance our lives in family time and enjoying the opportunity to have new things. They embrace living on a budget and exploit it. They are not trying to make the wealthy like them or dislike them, they are honing in on their target market through targeting them in the moment and creating the story for them and never apologizing for creating the “good life on a budget” story.

Bloggers do not apologize for the reach they get when their article is retweeted. Actually, we thank people for sharing. We apologize if someone does not like our writings but never apologize for the new set of eyes. If we apologize for the new audience then we are making a crucial error as our business model will be flawed. Yes, we need to map out our target market but there has to be a path to growth and expansion. Build your blog community and company by understanding and directly talking/selling to your core audience to create brand loyalty but also be mindful of the larger audience that may not know of your existence. There is no apologies needed to build a stronger business and attracting new customers to help enhance their lives. There are no apologies needed when we are gaining attention for what we believe in and want others to believe in (unless of course it is destructive in nature and sets out to cause  harm). Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ are not apologizing for attracting new people in drones. They are not apologizing to those that choose not to pay any attention to them. Why should other advertisers? Why should we have to apologize if our message is received by someone who would never buy? They make us by lashing out and we are compelled to, to protect the reputation and integrity of the blog/the company.

Creating the Apology

Creating the apology is done when when a tweet or an ad goes bad and people swarm all over it. This is more than people listening, it is where people are listening and reacting. The more popular the negativity becomes, the more attention that is given and people start listening to what you are saying in your apology. Many times this is people who may have never heard of us. This starts to snowball and while it can spiral out of control, it can also attract some new eyes and broaden your audience. No apologies here for bringing awareness so long as it has a positive outcome. When the awareness brings in negativity from the new audience and it continues to linger in the media, it can be damaging. We saw this with Ragu with saying men are incapable of cooking a family meal as that is a woman’s job. They were empowering women as the queen of the kitchen and not apologetic for dissing men who are the king of the kitchen. While we can all appreciate empowering people through advertising for them to relate to the product and the story it is telling to persuade them to buy but when it lends itself to the stereotypes, it starts to turn off certain audiences. Was this damaging enough to Ragu to hurt sales or was it just one select target market that had their attention and it was ignored by their loyal customers who championed them for supporting women with all that they do each day with work and caring for the family?  Competitors had a new target market opened up to them with those that were outraged and certainly were not apologetic to attract this new target.

Do We Ever Need To Apologize When Choosing Our Audience?

Do we need to apologize when we miss the mark? Missing the mark happens where the targeting starts to get broader and we generalize. We select certain criteria about  our target market and hit up those that meet the criteria. There is no way of ever knowing exactly if every single person we are targeting meets all the criteria so we run that risk of pissing someone off. If Hanes started inundating me with mens’ boxers emails, tweets, etc (and while I love Jordan), and I never clicked on, responded or bought, I would get annoyed. I would recognize that they are reaching out to women who would buy for their significant other and while the lil man loves his boxers,  I am not in the market for mens’. Would they need to apologize for targeting me? If I said publicly said something in a tweet I would think they would and remove me from their target list (while adding me to the boys targeting efforts) but do they really need to apologize? They generalized that women, especially of a certain age, with child(ren) would be buying for their man and they may attract new customers with this generalization. Do they need to apologize to me because while I fit MOST of their criteria, I do not fit all (in this scenario, the biggest part)? I do not think so.

When I purchased ONE Giants shirt years ago as a gift and was still getting direct mail and emails to buy more when I bought a ridiculous amount of JETS merchandise from the same company, I was concerned. How can a company continue to send out direct mail and emails that never get opened? I suppose that this is a topic for another post but for right now, do they need to apologize for clogging up my email or my mailbox? I purchased an item so I was added to their targeted list. They had no idea that I would not buy more Giants merchandise. But year after year when the emails went  unopened and offers in direct mail never were acted upon, they should have gotten the hint. Did they need to apologize? No. They just needed to review the information better. This is being lazy and growing the numbers and not paying attention to the buying habits. Maybe they need to apologize for that. Hmh. That would be something. If a company came out and issued a formal apology for not paying attention to the buying habits of people and continued to email them as if they were a regular buying customer (and not creating marketing messages geared to decrease attrition). In other words, we were lazy and did not pay attention and we will improve that. Interesting concept and again probably best flushed out in another post.

When we are targeting with intent to expand upon our audience and improve customer conversion we do not need to apologize unless we offend an entire group. Mistakes happen. Outside of a bad mistake, we are targeting and reaching them to let them know we exist. We are trying to create awareness and the potential customers’ story by identifying the opportunity to buy and fulfill a need or want. It is right here in front of them with the underlying message to trust and act now and buy. Again no apologies for that. It is business and they key word in the headline is choosing. We do have a choice to target them or not.

Thoughts? Do we ever need to apologize for choosing our audience?

photo credit: Arenamontanus

Burger King Kills The King But Still Misses the Mark

Hail to the King … his death that is. Burger King has eased the pain on your eyes in dethroning the creepy, freakish and simply out of date character of the King. To think that King was targeting teenagers makes it all that much creepier and reason to tune them out and drive on by. Fast food targeting teens, when done properly, is very successful. You have to be them and most of all be hip and cool. No-teen would be caught dead at an establishment that was not seen as hip and cool. Uh, duh. The King was not hip, it was so out of date compared to the graphics these kids are exposed to online (I mean even Thomas is animated now talks)  and resembled a cheesy Halloween costume that a bank robber would wear.

Characters In Advertising

Characters in advertising, or as some would say, spokes people, are common. Some makes sense and some do not. A King for Burger King is not too far fetched however, it is a far cry from hold the pickle, hold the lettuce, special orders to not upset us … That was talking to the customer while at the same time smearing the golden arches of one size fits all. They were differentiating. The King was this character that was more geared towards the program that the spot would be aired on than the customers. They differentiated as the King did it all while other characters/spokes people set out to do one thing and do it well (not everyone is successful in this). Characters are supposed to represent a positive image of the brand (whether that be in humor or of a more serious tone) one that people can connect with and feel proud to patronize. Would the target market for a fast food chain rather wear a t-shirt of I’m Lovin’ It or of some creepy character in leggings?

Targeting In Advertising

Targeting is very important. We know this. Not everyone in your target is going to listen to you, remember you, buy from you, love your advertising, etc. But, they do know you are there. How many brands can say that? In fast food, we know all the chains. We know which ones we prefer, we know which ones are closer to us, we know which ones we regret eating the next day or the ones that are greasy enough to make us not regret what we did the night before. We as consumers know this so why on earth do they not? If we are their target, then how come they do not know us as much as they want us to know them? Puzzling I suppose, but, at the same time, we have to look at how broad advertising can be. It is multi-network/market/state and for products that are geared towards kids/teens, multi-generational. Targeting is not just pointing to a certain group based upon demographics and saying I want them. It has to dig deeper and really talk to them insomuch as understanding what is the trigger for them. Teens, cool; younger – it is fast food, it totally rocks. Parents – it is convenient and I can suffer through.

Life After the King

Life after the King might be as shakey as it was with the King. Burger King, as we know has a new CEO and also a new agency. We knew there would be an entirely new campaign as new agency has a fresh, new set of eyes and creative mind. They are targeting moms which strategically is probably a very smart move as the decision to purchase fast food for dinner is many times made by the mom. Valid however what about what happens after the decision to purchase fast food? Who decides WHERE to go? The kids and/or convenience.

Convenience. Convenience. Convenience.

Fast food is convenient. It is that moment where you are thinking about what to make for dinner and comparing that to the schedule of the day. School is starting, the kids will have practices, extra curricular activity meetings, homework, etc. The parent taxi is in full swing and the convenience of picking up fast food so that everyone gets fed quickly and before 9pm. We want to eat healthy but we know that fast food is not very healthy. The ingredients being fresh is not something we think about as if we did then we would want to know who their food supplier is, whose theirs is and where did the tomatoes originate from. How were they treated, how were they transported, how many days were they in a warehouse/factory, how many days were they on the truck and where are they stored once they are delivered. If we think about that, then we would never purchase fast food or would we never purchase many things from the grocery store. Touting fresh vegetables is not going to really change the image that Burger King has in the minds of consumers. The restaurants are out dated and many times not very clean. The visions of the fresh vegetables actually goes against this and makes consumers think of the restaurant cleanliness more.

Missing the Mark

We can sit here all day and talk about how Burger King missed the mark after watching this spot.

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Some may disagree while others will point out many other reasons they missed the mark. The good news for BK would be that we were talking about them, however, the bad news is that our discussion would bring us more reasons to go elsewhere. Maybe I am wrong but if you are targeting moms, convenience should be number 1. Is it assumed that with fast food it is convenient and brands to not need to advertise that? Possibly or can we have a situation here where we assume that everyone knows that it is convenient so we jump over that and create something that is supposed to tie into that?

Maybe too much of my own opinion/experience is coming into this here as fast food is not only competing with other fast food establishments, they are competing with so many other brands. It is faster to go home and make a tv dinner than it is to sit at the drive through at Burger King. It is not as convenient. With fast food, the food is already cooked when you get in the door whereas with the tv dinner,while it may be healthier, you have to put down all that is in your hands, go to the freezer, pull them out, open them up, put into the microwave, set the timer and wait for the beep while the kids are jumping off the walls waiting to eat. With Burger King, you seat them nicely at the table and throw their burger at them. I see no thoughts of freshness, healthiness or anything of the like coming to mind. I see convenience. Be your target and live their life. Freshness seems to be more targeting the those at work, who are trying to decide what is healthy in fast food to have for lunch – but again, this is just my opinion.

Does this new spot change meet the lifestyle of the target of moms? Does this make you want to run out the door right now and get a California Whopper?

What Does Your Audience Want to Hear?

what does your audience want to hearYour audience/target market looks to you and comes back to you for answers. They support your blog because you consistently feed them with information that they find valuable that and can use themselves or share. Is that a true measure of telling them or giving them what they want to hear? Sometimes we can equate that but others are we so sure? Popular bloggers get retweeted regularly, up and comers are more of a hit and miss. Great post, massive retweets and traffic, but do they return? Is the true measure of gauging what your audience wants to hear through how they react through retweets, shares to show an impact as influence or is it through sales? Do they co-exist?

Your Audience Wants Answers

We all want answers. We seek them out, we wait patiently (or impatiently and share that impatience) but we need the answers to satisfy our need. Our needs vary from day to day or even hour to hour and many times minute to minute. We need to eat when we are hungry, we need to warm up when we are cold, we need to fix something right now so we can move on to the next problem that needs fixing. Your audience wants answers and will seek the answer from whomever is willing to give what satisfies them. Is satisfying one problem begging answers to another one? Are we able to see that and tackle it before they go elsewhere?

How Do We Know What Our Audience Wants to Hear?

Do we always know what our audience wants to hear? In blogging and also in traditional advertising we are trying to grab their attention and hold it long enough for them to establish that emotional connection to really hear our message and take action. Traditional advertising the action was simple … buy, tell your friends, buy more, become a brand loyalist and also a brand ambassador. The underlying message was to for people to buy. In blogging or expand that to social media marketing, the action is not so cut and dry. Yes we want them to buy but we also want them to share through telling friends, share to an open and various platforms, comment openly, return to support the efforts and at some point trust enough to buy. Not to dissimilar to traditional advertising but yet oh so different. The message in traditional advertising was not as frequent. Each day there is not a new ad promoting something new but in blogging we are writing something new each day or every few days.

In blogging or social media as a whole, are we giving too much or not enough for what they need to hear to pull the trigger to buy? Do they not trust us or do they trust the ad in the local paper more? Are they more compelled to buy from the ad as the message is very clear – x offering at x price. Is that what they are seeking and we as bloggers are missing that and spinning our wheels to create relationships that are beating around the bush and avoiding what they want to hear?

How Do We Answer?

We answer based upon what is successful for us. I write a post about Facebook, whoa, the traffic is through the roof. Fantastic, but is there a lead, a return visit the next day (sure if I write about Facebook). As a marketer am I answering the questions of the small business owner who is looking for guidance as to how to incorporate social  media into their marketing plan? Not likely. The traffic is a boost no doubt but am I answering the questions of my target market to have them delve into other articles, see where the agency can help and nudge them over to the contact page so they can take the first steps in hiring?

When we answer based upon our success is that really answering? To that immediate audience and those that become clients/buyers I would have to say yes. But what about to those on the fence? Are we persuading them through our communications to really answer what they want us to answer? We know that as we climb the ladder of newbie, to a bit established to growing to success we feel we are answering what our audience wants to hear as our popularity rises, generally our sales increase and we are set.

When We Fail

I truly believe that if we do not fail, we cannot be very successful. Failure is to me scalable as if we are vying for that bigger client and we are not awarded, we learn. Sure, we failed but yet we were able to gain access to something bigger and how we accept and adapt is what makes us even more successful. Coming on the heels of the worst loss for my beloved NY JETS since 1986,we want answers as to how this game that was pumped to be such a great game was pretty much over in the 1st quarter. We want the coach to say we sucked, we were completely ineffective in all areas of the game and how we have no excuses for 3 Int’s and how we will improve on Sunday. Some want him to say the competition was better. While on this night they may have been but in business we would rather eat nails than say our competition was/is better. The competition may have had a great campaign that was better than what you had but is their brand stronger or is yours? Way different mindset that we can establish to a business than to a team. (Of course a team is a business but the performance levels are different).

What do you think, do you have to tell your audience what they want to hear? Do you even know what they want to hear? After many years in the biz, do I know?

The comments are yours so have at it.

photo credit: emdot