Much modern marketing is based around the concept of the ideal client “avatar”. This is a more or less well-developed fictitious individual who personifies your brand’s “bullseye” target customer.
Most businesses begin with just one of these avatars although, over time, they may develop one for each of the distinct market segments they serve. All marketing campaigns are then devised with one of these avatars as its notional audience.
If you have more than one segment (for example you are a financial services firm targeting both entrepreneurs aged 40-something who are accumulating wealth and retirees looking for the most effective way to use theirs), then you should target these separately with individual campaigns. Each campaign will, however, be aimed squarely at its segment’s ideal client avatar.
When done well this can prove hugely effective – and Alpha would encourage all clients to create, maintain and nurture their avatars. When done badly, however, the process can be quite destructive.
Don’t make the best the enemy of the good
An error made by most novices is to assume that unless somebody matches your “ideal” client avatar you are not interested in talking to them. The more highly developed your avatar, the more dangerous this potentially becomes.
Always remember you are talking about an ideal, and that there is a much bigger, potentially equally profitable, market out of there that shares many of your ideal customer’s characteristics, values and aspirations, and will respond to many of the same messages. This is where public relations can be really powerful.
When purchasing advertising, because significant sums of cash are involved, you need to be careful that you only use platforms and publications that can prove they are consumed by a large enough number of your target customers. You should also keep your sales messages tightly focused on your avatar.
With public relations, the cost of sending out 100 press releases by email is (if you ignore the time taken to research media lists) the same as sending out one. You shouldn’t necessarily do this – to say that journalists don’t appreciate receiving irrelevant material is something of an understatement – but you can certainly afford to be a little more flexible when it comes to breadth of audience.
Most importantly, remember that a media outlet needs not only to have an audience with whom you want to communicate but also an editorial agenda with which your stories and messages fit. This is the real skill of PR but it also means that a “laser-focused” approach to targeting your perfect readership is less likely to succeed than a more pragmatic one that embraces all readers: it has your avatar at its core, of course, but not in an exclusive way that would alienate everyone else if journalists were to use it – which they wouldn’t.
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