Who Is It For? Who Are You Talking To?

It might seem like this goes without saying, but...before we launch the marketing for something, we've got to know who it's for. 

Too often, we jump right in to the marketing part without getting clear on who we're talking to. This is especially risky for small businesses, startups, nonprofits, and artists, who are even more strapped for time and funding than the average corporate juggernaut with its own in-house agency.

Our addiction to being busy is part of the problem.

It feels like we're doing something when we're updating our websites, posting to every social channel, or planning five distinct campaigns because all of our board members/sales leaders/friends say we must do that direct mail/TV campaign/multi-channel/event. But all of those things we're so busy doing could be for naught if we haven't thought carefully about who we're trying to reach. 

The other culprit is a simple one: not knowing where to start. Creating marketing personas (or buyer personas) can seem like an overwhelming idea, or something you'd need to pay a consulting firm a bazillion dollars to do for you. But. You can do it!

How to get started With Marketing Personas

Use what you have. You might have an awesome database with tons of actionable information. Maybe you don't have that, but you've got a team of people who have loads of anecdotal evidence. Even if you have both those things, real humans are pretty helpful. So consider doing a series of informational interviews with people who represent your audiences. Here are the three buckets to focus on first:

Demographics {The Ones That Matter to You}

Keep this simple, especially at your first pass. Focus on the demographics that matter to your business. Age group is valuable to consider because it can inform your selection of the most effective social channels. Factors like geography, income, job title, industry, family status, religious affiliation, might be important to your business. Take them or leave them depending on what fits your work.

Priorities {What Matters to Your Audience}

What's important to your audience? Really, what's important to them. Not what's important to them about your business. That can come later. Of course you want some context here. If you're a b2b, you're thinking about what's important to them at work. If you're a local nonprofit, it might be what's important to them about their community or the world their children will inherit.

Messaging and Channels {Where They Are and What They'll Respond to}

Almost ready to get busy doing marketing stuff! Considering your audience's demographics and priorities, what messages about your business will resonate with your audience? And where will your message connect with them? Maybe your ideal donors are on Snapchat but not Facebook.  Maybe your customers don't yet know that they care about this problem your business is going to solve for them, but you know with the right messaging they will.


And...that's it! Happy marketing!