I had a tough discussion with a client yesterday. She needs to hire a marketing manager, but would rather find a person who knows her narrowly niched target audience intimately and then teach them marketing skills.
I suggested to her that she turn it around. It would be far easier to first find a marketing expert who had all the skills she needed and then to teach her new team member about her target audience. It’s too much of an uphill slog to have to teach someone all the marketing, administrative and technical skills that make a marketing manager great.
She said she couldn’t do it that way
I asked, “Can you explain your target audience, their needs, philosophy, and psychology (to someone not familiar with your industry) in 15 or 30 minutes?”
She said no, that it would take “days and days” to explain her target audience to someone.
It was clear that she felt her new marketing manager needed inside information into her industry in order for them to do their job well. I countered that a skilled marketing manager knew how to learn about a new target audience, as that’s their job.
She was so deep in the weeds of her industry that she thought her marketing manager needed to know everything about it. My guess is that they wouldn’t need to know every single detail about a new industry. What they would need is a high-level overview of who the customer was and what they struggled with. They could learn the nuances over time, as needed, and would ask questions as they needed to fill in the blanks.
What about you?
Do you know your target audience so well that you could provide a high-level description to your new team member in a short time?
If not, why not?
You must have a clear description of who your target audience is at a detailed level (demographics and psychographics). Included in this description should be what their primary goals are and the types of problems that get in their way to achieving their goals.
Here are some examples
- I work with small business owners with 10 or fewer employees and help them with creating efficiencies in their business so they can get off the treadmill and start enjoying their business again. My customers are typically male between the ages of 40-55.
- I teach new novelists how to create characters, design scenes, create dialogue, and map out their novel so they have a plan for moving forward with their writing.
- I help new corporate managers, typically ages 30-40, learn how to recruit, hire, retain, and fire employees.
With these high-level overviews, you can then flesh them out with more demographics and psychographics for clarity, but if you can’t explain your target audience in one or two sentences, you need to go back to the drawing board.