Did you know your content ideas can give you monopoly power in your market? That’s because when you really know your audience, your content tells them what they’re thinking and then answers it directly, helping them to know how to think about a topic.
And when they think about your topic in exactly the way you do, you win.
But before you can connect, you have to listen.
Today, I want to talk about how authentic branding, paired with an understanding of your audience, will activate relationships at the top of the marketing funnel, and all the way down.
Remember, this all doesn’t have to happen today. But if you’re intent on brand and service strategy by including your audience in the conversation, this process is for you. Don’t stress about doing this overnight. Keep it simple and then focus on the next thing.
Identify the Audience You Want to Understand
“Understand who you should be talking to for maximum brand resonance.”
What does this mean? Brand resonance is a fancy way to say your brand makes sense to your audience.
- Have they been beaten over the head by the industry, and you’re making them feel like you’re on their side?
- Do they have a frustration with the industry that you’re solving? You know, because you listened?
- Are they sick of seeing every firm acting like every other firm? In a world where everyone’s trying to be relevant and current, you stand out by focusing on what’s important. You rely on your values and brand personality, showing that you care less about impressing people with external things and more about timeless values—focusing on things that really matter.
Define your ideal client by creating a persona. This process involves going to different resources and finding out where your potential clients hang out. The key is to place your brand where your ideal clients already are, as they usually won’t come to your brand on their own.
Give the persona demographic data, problems they’re encountering, key values they hold, and psychographic information about how they think. Demographics can encompass details such as income, job title, type of firm they work for, and the size of the company.
Understand Your Audience Using Inside Knowledge
“Tap into internal insights to authentically reach your target market.”
All this means is that you should talk with other people in your firm about your clients. Build an understanding of who they are based on shared internal knowledge.
- What’s going on when they’re trying to take their kids to school?
- What’s going through their mind when they wake up in the morning?
- Is there anything you don’t know about the cycles of their business?
So it’s not a scientific study or focus group. Oh well. It’s easy to do, and It’s more information than you had before, and now you can test the insights you gain from each other in other ways, such as by talking to clients.
Plus, it builds a client-focused culture and lets everyone know that you’re interested in providing leads for them.
Understand Your Audience’s Preferred Channels
“Explore unconventional marketing channels”
Simply put: Find where your audience hangs out and engage them there.
This is the core question of all media buying.
- Do they all have offices in the same part of town?
- Do they all go to the same hot dog stand or deli for lunch?
- Are they all in one LinkedIn group?
Related: how does your competition try to reach them? If everyone’s using the same medium or marketing channel, you just need to think things through. Maybe you go back to sending postcards or invite them to a webinar.
It helps to go back to your brand and product, and just think “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could advertise on a blimp downtown.” You may not pull that off, but that’s the kind of thinking that leads to some pretty cool ideas.
Understand Your Current Audience
“Use existing client patterns to identify your ideal customer profile.”
In plain English, this is just looking at what’s going on around you. Who do we tend to talk to? Who are our most valuable clients? Extra points if you haven’t even tried with these people. It’s just been effortless.
Why is this good? Because it’s usually easy to serve people when you’re a great fit.
When you find these people, you want to understand them.
Understand Your Audience on Their Terms
“Build relationships through value-driven communications.”
Or: what’s in it for them?
How can we guide them, even if they’re not in front of us? Even if they’ve never talked to one of us or even purchased from us before?
It’s like a friendship. You usually don’t plan a vacation together with another family the first time you meet them. More often, you’re at the golf course together or serving together at church. Then one thing leads to another, and you invite them over for dinner.
In business, it’s the same. They hear your name here and there. They see you on LinkedIn taking a stab at a topic. You seem a little more genuine than the other firms. So they poke around your website. They like what they see. So you give them something as an act of generosity.
You’re not planning the vacation quite yet. Neither are you getting the families together for dinner yet. You’re just giving them something of value…to show that you like to help. Something that symbolizes the kinds of tools that you offer in a fuller relationship.
- Write a whitepaper about changes in the tax code that could benefit them.
- Share some research showing often-under-utilized tools to save money, make money, or reduce headaches.
- Build an infographic showing a simple workflow for how to interact with you (talk about making it seem easy).
Understand the Audience that Matches Your Brand
“Personalize your marketing materials to reflect your unique brand identity.”
In other words, make your marketing material your own…so that it oozes your values and personality. Do it so that nobody will be able to mistake it for your competition’s materials. And then go for the audience that appreciates it.
How do you do it? Simple, just learn a branding process, schedule it out, get all of your senior leaders into a room for a day, and get them on the same page about values, personality traits, and brand story. Then the work begins.
Or you could:
- Get our brand course and our book “You are Remarkable” and get guided through the process.
- Join my Remarkabrand Masterclass (get your name on the list).
- Hire us to do it for you.
The point is that you end up with a clear, well-organized brand guide that will orient everything you create toward your brand.
And a brand anthem that will orient how you talk about yourself and the core problem you solve for clients.
Evaluate and Adapt Your Audience Communication
“Stay agile and responsive to changes in client needs and industry trends.”
Mike Tyson said that everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face. Well, marketing plans are no different. The best approach is to plan, measure, and then readjust.
You measure in a few ways:
- Measure the numbers. What do you expect your marketing to do? Did it move the numbers? If not, then ask why.
- Talk to business development. Are they getting qualified leads? How can you improve?
- Talk to clients. Make it casual so they feel they can talk about small things that aren’t that big of a deal (but probably are). This info is priceless.
Plans are useless. But planning is essential. Get your strategy figured out and then be ready to be wrong. This is how the best strategists do it.
How do you know you’re wrong? You measure. Early and often.
Know Your Audience
Sun Tzu said that if you know yourself and know your client, you’ll win. Or something like that.
At the top, marketing is simple. You know yourself, you know what you do, and why it matters to someone else. All other branding experiences you create get their inspiration from that.
This is a process, so don’t get impatient. But don’t take it too casually either. Like anything, if you don’t start, you’ll never take the next step. Make a commitment, carve out the necessary time, and find a way to make it work. Your firm, your clients, and your career will thank you.