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Thinking with Cleriti

We're always thinking, discovering and sharing our knowledge of how to connect with customers in the digital age. Here we share some of those thoughts.

It’s All About Focus: Honing In On Your Marketing Efforts to Transform Your Business

It’s All About Focus: Honing In On Your Marketing Efforts to Transform Your Business


As marketers, we like to do stuff. Stuff gives us comfort. And, the modern marketing landscape kind of demands that we implement a lot of different concepts to figure out what works best. As long as we’re busy sending our email blasts, running our advertisements, and attending tradeshows, we feel like we’re making an impact. But when the numbers don’t stack up and it becomes clear that we need to transform our business in order to get ahead or survive, sometimes we get that deer-in-headlights look. “What do we do? We’ve always run our marketing this way. Where do we even start?”

What’s a Transformative Insight?

Last month, I attended one of the Cincinnati American Marketing Association’s Signature Speaker Series events. The speaker was Rob Malcolm, the current chairman of the board of the national AMA, and former VP of Procter & Gamble’s Beverages division in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. He was there to share what he had learned in his long career about insights that transform business. As we all know, there’s no point in transforming your business if not to achieve growth. The question is: how can you determine which marketing insights help businesses achieve growth and which should be ignored? Rob defined a transformative insight as, “The single most critical penetrating discovery about target consumer motivation applied to unlock growth. It is best stated in consumer terms: ‘The target wants, needs, and/or believes X.’” 

One brand that successfully applied this principle was the Obama campaign in 2008. Having seen how Bush’s previous two election wins hinged on the state of Florida, they knew that winning the electoral votes in that state would be key. They also knew that elderly Jewish voters were the segment of the population that they needed to win support from if they hoped to accomplish the goal of winning the majority vote. But how could they influence that portion of the population to vote Obama, especially given the talk going around that he was a Muslim? The answer: connect them with their Obama-voting grandchildren, who held the keys to their hearts.

It worked. 320,000 elderly Jewish folks in Florida voted for Obama, winning the highest percentage of the elderly Jewish vote in 30 years. Obama took Florida and won the election.

Get to Know Your Target Customer.

At this point, you might be saying, “Well, I don’t have the budget to do something like that.” But here’s the secret: it’s not about budget. It’s about knowing your customer and focusing on their motivations. As Rob said in his talk, every brand that achieves transformational growth is absolutely clear on who their target consumer is. Brands that have more than 1 or 2 primary targets are likely confused.

Do you know your target customer? By that, I do not mean “Do you know what type of company you would like to do business with?” Companies don’t have motivations. Companies are not target customers. People do have motivations and people are your target customer. If you don’t know who it is that buys from you or should be buying from you, stop. Do not pass go and do not collect $200. Take some time to figure out the who of the buying decisions, not just the what.

At Cleriti, we follow HubSpot’s buyer persona methodology to learn about our clients’ target customers. This is one of those modern marketing concepts that we buy into, because the methodology helps you create a fictional representation of your ideal customer that you can use as a measuring stick to decide, “Does this marketing tactic/content/messaging apply to my ideal customer?” It focuses on learning about your target audience’s pain points, their motivations, a day in their life, what kind of technologies they use to help them do their jobs, and more. MakeMyPersona.com is a good start for marketers who are new to buyer personas. It walks you through the basic questions you need to answer in order to create a comprehensive profile.

Focus Your Marketing Strategy.

Once you have that persona and the insight it provides, you can then get strategic and tailor your marketing process to include and develop messaging and tactics that actually work. You’ll be able to answer tough questions about whether what you’re doing now is working and help alleviate fears of cutting out the dead weight in your strategy to truly transform your business.

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