Design 101 | How to Daydream Your Way to Marketing Success

brand strategy involves determining whooo your audience is

All marketing efforts should start in the same place: daydreaming about your audience. Why?

Because in order to reach them, you have to get to know them. And in order to get to know them, you need to spend some time thinking about them.

Whooooo are you?

Time to daydream. Who is your audience? What do you know about them? Of course your audience will include a variety of people, but if you can answer the questions below about the majority of your audience, you will be able to target your marketing efforts more effectively.

The basic questions:
  • Are they male or female, and what’s their age range?
  • What level of education have they reached?
  • What kind of jobs do they hold?
Deeper questions:
  • How do they like to spend their free time?
  • How much experience do they have with the product or service you offer?
  • What kinds of problems are they currently having that you can help solve?

Spend some time thinking. Daydream about the people you want to reach, and imagine the answers to these questions.

Plunge in to Learn More

To really understand your audience, ask for feedback. Consider online surveys, or informal focus groups. Ask your best customers out to lunch, and find out more about them. Poll your blog readers if you have a blog, or send out a survey with your email newsletter.

Market to an Imaginary Customer

Once you’ve gathered information about your customers, create one “ideal” imaginary customer, and keep that person in the front of your mind every time you work on your marketing. Target your marketing as if you were speaking to that person alone. Meet their needs, and you’ll find that your marketing will hit the target you want to reach.

Imagine that!

Design 101

This is the second in a series of ten lessons called “Design 101.”

The next lesson will be about creating content that tells a story, and engages your audience. You’ll discover how to present your information in a way that draws customers in and makes them want to know more.

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Comments

  1. says

    Oooh I love screech owls! Imagining just one “right” customer is hard, since I seem to have at least 3 groups. But you’ve inspired me to work harder on narrowing it down to one. I think if I can reach that one really well, the others will fall into place too. I am loving your blog. Keep up the great work!

    • says

      Carole,

      You might think of your target customers in terms of an umbrella: you can cover a wide area (or variety of customers) with your marketing message (umbrella). In the middle, there’s a post that holds it all together.

      That middle post is your main customer. That’s the customer who will bring you the most revenue, and make your business grow. That doesn’t mean you ignore the other areas your umbrella covers, but you make sure that your marketing messages are always – always – targeting your main customer.

      As long as you’re meeting the needs of your main customer, your business will be healthy enough to reach out to others, too. Does that make sense?

  2. says

    Great questions to ask when “discovering” our target audience. I think sometimes we skip over this step and go head long into trying to reach everyone. Building relationships is so important. Sound advice! Can’t wait to read more.

  3. says

    Hey, great to see you’ve started blogging, Pamela!

    For getting to know customers, my favorite technique is to get a blank piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. On one side, I write, “What *fears* keep them up at night?” On the other side, I write, “What *dreams* keep them up at night?” Then I write down at least 100 things on each side.

    The first 20 or so are usually easy, but it’s the last 80 where you find the real value. Sometimes, it’ll take me several weeks to be able to fill it out completely, but once I do, I know that I’m ready to start designing my marketing for them. It’s also great for generating ideas for blog posts.

  4. says

    Good points – I like the umbrella analogy.

    You might want to add the Tweetmeme Retweet and Comment Luv plugins for your readers. They are very helpful.

  5. says

    Alison,

    TweetMeme added. Thanks for the reminder: it was on my to-do list. I’ll check into CommentLuv, too. Tweet on, everyone!

    Jon,

    Thanks for visiting! That’s a fantastic idea. It sounds like hard work, but worthwhile, too.

    And really, you only need to go through it once. Then you can just tweak your list to update the information as you get to know your customer better.

  6. says

    Hi Pamela: I also like to visit forums in my space; sometimes, a good forum with active threads gives you insights into your potential customer.

    I really like Jon’s ideas of listing DREAMS and FEARS. Of course! these reflect customer needs…simple and very useful (and pushing past the easy 20, nice!)

  7. says

    Great to see your website launched. It will be a fantastic resource for new and not so new businesses who could do with a little polish to make their image shine.

  8. says

    Love the site Pamela. Congrats on the launch!

    John’s advice is great. I also like Godin’s advice of finding your customer’s “worldview”. Their desires, values, biases…and then framing your story to fit that worldview.

    Looking forward to the next lesson.

  9. says

    Hi Pamela – this is very useful. However, for new people starting out with no customers it’s not possible to ask your customers.

    What would you suggest then?

    Caroline

    • says

      Hi Caroline,

      If you’re starting from scratch with no customers, you can look at the kind of work you do best, and envision the type of person that work would be most useful for. Create a fleshed-out portrait of that person: what their challenges are, what keeps them up at night … and how you can help.

      This information will be a good compass to keep your early marketing decisions on track. Once you start working with “real” clients, you can make course corrections based on who you actually attract.

      Great question: thanks for asking!

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