My six-year-old daughter holds up three pens (pictured) and asks, “Mom – can you tell which one of these is different?”
Without hesitation, I answer “The one in the middle.” I mean, isn’t it obvious? More style.
“Dad”, she says, “which one do you think is different?”
“Well it depends on your criteria,” says my analytical husband, who will agree has no sense of style. The six-year-old proclaims the criteria to be color, and my husband then answers “The green one on the left.”
“You’re both wrong!” she gloats. “It’s the one in the middle – because it’s the only one with green ink.”
Such a simple illustration of how each of our perceptions are shaped by our own preferences, processes and paradigms. Certainly not a revelation, and yet, so many businesses continue to make broad appeals to a stereotypical “target” audience with their marketing. Seems a little contradictory, don’t you think?
And so now you’re thinking, “But you tell me I can’t be everything to everyone. You tell me not to shove multiple messages into my ads. You want me to focus… but without making broad appeals? How exactly does that work?”
In an ideal world where budgets are limitless, we would all be able to produce multiple messages for each medium we utilize, consistent in brand but customized to a very specific segment of audience. Unfortunately, traditional media is not very conducive to this approach due to pricey production, long turnaround times and production deadlines far ahead of publication. The value and reach of traditional media is worthy. However, by adding a non-traditional medium as part of your mix you can actually make an individualized approach realistic.
With the addition of digital marketing to a robust traditional media portfolio, you can produce specialized messages that are served only to a specific segment of your audience, affordably and timely. You now enjoy the reach and impact of traditional media, while also adding value to your audience as individuals. And the bonus of digital is that you can also perform A/B testing to determine the most effective messages for each audience, therefore maximizing performance.
Today’s consumers are not just tired of “being a number” – they are refusing to do business with companies who continue to treat them as such. By demonstrating genuine efforts to first understand your audience’s individual personality and preference, then speak benefits that directly pertain to them, you can convey to each customer and potential customer that you see them and think of them as an individual person, resulting in greater loyalty and growth for your business.