You’ve Got To KNOW Your Target Before You Start: Listen Up, AARP (A 3 Part Series)

Tl;dr: 

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Consumers are absolutely inundated with sales messages.
  • Most of these messages are NOT targeted…
  • So customers are surrounded by the media clutter, leaving them overwhelmed, and frankly, a little jaded.
  • This both:
  1. Presents us with an opportunity
  2. Serves as a warning of what not to do

I am constantly getting sales letters from AARP, telling me the benefits of joining their membership. I think you all should know that I am 29* (*for the 3rd or 4th time), and though I will be 29 for a while still, I am definitely too young for AARP.

So why are they sending me ads?

The better question is probably: how much money is AARP wasting every month or every year sending ads to people who clearly can’t use their services?

While I am not on the marketing team for AARP, it looks like they’re using Every Door Direct Mail to get their sales material into every mailbox in my neighborhood (and probably yours, too.) Effective, if you’re a plumber. Not effective if you’re an exclusive organization for members who meet certain criteria only.

And while it’s laughable that I, as a 29* year old, am getting ads from AARP and that my 2-year old son will probably start receiving them soon too, it’s NOT laughable that this blanket, or shotgun, approach to marketing is so common.

Maybe AARP has money to waste on paper and ink and production, but many businesses don’t. So why are they?

I hate to call anyone names, but the only reason I can think for such waste is laziness.

Unfortunately for marketing in almost every industry and medium, this trend is widespread. We’re constantly being exposed to sales copy written by people with only minimal regard to the intended audience, and as a result, marketing efforts are less successful than they could be.

But the problems caused by disconnected marketing go beyond wasted resources; they can actually damage the relationship a company has with potential customers.

When your audience doesn’t connect with your ads, they’re not gonna trust you. Plain and simple.

This happens a lot when companies either try to be too general, and appeal to everyone, or forget the most important component of the relationship – their customer.

Remember how we said consumers are absolutely overwhelmed with sales messages on the daily? Marketing campaigns that are too general get lost in the clutter. Your customers simply won’t register them, and why should they?

If your copy targets everyone, it really targets no one.

The more that consumers hear these generalized, irrelevant ads, the more annoyed they become with your company, too. Because they can’t connect your product with their problems, customers see no possible way that your copy could be relevant to their lives. Consumers recognize these sales messages as simply adding to the clutter in their lives, and worse than simply tuning your company out, consumers start to resent your company for actively bringing something negative into their lives.

Not the image you were going for, right?

There’s a process to creating a marketing campaign that addresses your specific target market while sharing the value you bring to consumers in that market.

The reason these messages miss the mark is usually because you’re spending time talking about YOURSELF. Keeping your verbiage “safe” and “open” by concentrating on how lovely your company feels is a nice, sweet thing to do to convert the masses.

Frankly, customers don’t care about your business. #notevensorrynotsorry

Customers care about their lives, their problems, and their happiness. And the only way you’re going to get any attention from a customer is if you realize this, and meet them there.

Show your customer that you understand them. Show them that you understand them better than any other competitor out there. You can’t do that with an over-generalized or company-focused sales piece.

So there you have it. Start focusing on your client a little more, and on yourselves a little less, and watch your marketing improve exponentially.

But that’s just the start.

I spent today telling you what NOT to do.

Join me next week as I tell you what you can do to get every person in your target market all hot and bothered for your company.