Advertising and marketing – it’s what we do. So in our line of work, sometimes we come across companies that are stuck in an “we” mindset: How we want our brand to be portrayed. What we think the strengths of our products or services are. Who we think should buy our brand. And as marketers, it is our job to help transform this thinking. Because, after all, its really about them – the consumer.
In order for any advertising and marketing initiative to be successful, you can’t ignore one of the most fundamental basics in the realm of marketing: understanding your target audience. But it goes beyond that. You’ve got to truly understand them: not just who you think they are but who they actually are. And, where they are and why they like you. By being honest with yourself about your target audience, you can effectively communicate with them to achieve your objectives and even get them to act on your behalf.
Even big name brands have had to learn this the hard way. Tommy Hilfiger, a brand recognized the world over, only gained success by learning some lessons along the way. The American powerhouse brand first attempted to establish their brand into Europe without adjusting their marketing and product strategies to fit the very different European target audience. After going back to the drawing board, Hilfiger returned with a more tailored brand message to the newly desired market: a more upscale, sophisticated brand than what is seen in the States. They changed not only their marketing strategy but even went as far to change their products to fit European tastes; choosing the European preferred wool over cotton.
Unfortunately, we aren’t all in Tommy’s shoes. We might not have the opportunity to learn the hard way and still have the chance to start over. For some, the first chance is really all there is. At the start of any new initiative, we must define who our target audience truly is, not just who we think or want them to be.