All successful consumer marketing addresses the same fundamental issues: Who are your customers? Where are they? What do they want to know? It's a matter of knowing which questions to ask, taking the time to ask them, and then acting on the answers.
Companies are usually quite correct in identifying their primary target markets, but are often too narrow in their focus. Audiences and needs change constantly.
- People grow up, move on, discover new things to like about your brand. Some of them are happy to become advocates for your brand, if you ask.
- Customers start using your products in ways and situations that you never imagined, opening up entire new markets that you can tap into easily and profitably—if you only knew that they were there.
- Old core markets shrink, and are replaced by new fans with different expectations and different reasons to like you.
- Consumers rely on all kinds of devices, media, and channels to get their information, in a landscape that's changing as fast as the technology. We're not only living in an age of social media. We're living in an age where consumers can use a smart phone to snap a picture of a QR code and go directly to the advertiser's website. Who knew that one day, posters in a mall, and tent cards in a fast-food restaurant, would be interactive?
We help our clients take a fresh look at their target markets, refine their messages appropriately, choose the channels and media that make sense, and increase their sales as a result.
Consumers Case Study: KnowledgePoints Tutoring Centers
(Also see: KnowledgePoints Strategy Case Study)
When we began working with Knowledge Points, their marketing was so much in lockstep with the rest of their industry that they used the same stock photo as two of their competitors.
- The advertising provided by Corporate was so off-track that many franchisees preferred to use homemade flyers and other materials. Neither solution reflected the professionalism of the centers, their outstanding record with kids, or the many ways in which they supported the families that came to them.
- Target markets included areas with large Hispanic populations. Some materials were in Spanish, but they didn't address the needs, concerns, and core values of Hispanic families in general and Hispanic women in particular. The same was true, to a lesser extent, of African-American customers.
- Likewise, the key decision-maker in the vast majority of tutoring decisions is the mom. Yet the existing ads didn't target mothers very well. In terms of physical space, some of the centers did a good job of making mothers feel welcome; others did not.
Considering that KnowledgePoints' entire annual creative budget was less than what their largest competitor spent on online advertising in a single quarter, radical action was needed to help them stand out.
Radical action didn't mean going grunge.
It meant taking a completely fresh look at KnowledgePoints' target consumers to create messaging, strategies, and tactics that helped KnowledgePoints stand out from its competitors.
We took a holistic approach to problems. In addition to making the ads do a better job of reflecting the needs of the target audiences, we wrote up pointers for the franchisees about how they could make their centers as welcoming to moms as the franchisees that did well in that area. We helped franchisees to look at their community demographic, and to understand that they could grow their business by doing a better job of reaching all families in their target market.
Before: A combination of homemade and generic creative that did nothing to distinguish the brand from its competitors.
After: A fresh approach, better geared to the target consumers, with flexibility for franchisees.
We recognized that a child's failure in school is more than a concern about grades. For parents who are worried, children who are stressed, and families that argue about it, it's also a quality of life issue. By focusing on the family issues as well as the grade issues, we
- Positioned KnowledgePoints as a family-friendly resource
- Opened up markets beyond the two cores: high-aspiring parents and parents of students obviously in academic trouble
- Allowed KnowledgePoints to look completely different from its competitors
We also introduced high-quality photos that showed children engaged in schoolwork in natural situations, often with their parents. This was a departure from the ubiquitous inexpensive stock photos of well-scrubbed children, smiling into the camera, used by virtually all its competitors.
Consumer Marketing FAQs
What's important to know about our customers, besides their buying habits and basic demographic?
Do you know what's important to your customers? Do you know how they use your products? Do you know -- really know-- who is among the top 20% of your customers, what they have in common, and why they like you? Are you effective at getting more like that top 20%?
At C3 Advertising, we help our consumer clients to get quick answers to those questions from the data available, and help them find ways to improve their data gathering processes to continually get more, and better, intelligence from the marketing, sales, and customer support tasks they do every day.