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Isn’t this the million dollar question we all want answered? If there were one right or wrong answer to where you should invest your marketing dollars, it would certainly make my life as a marketer much easier. All I would need to do is become an expert in one particular area and clients would flock to buy my expertise. But in reality there are many options out there where you can spend your marketing dollars to try and attract your ideal customer in order to achieve a good return on your investment.

The key word in the title question is “invest”. Many companies today are simply spending their marketing dollars not knowing what kind of return they’re getting. In the world of marketing, we call that the shotgun approach. You fire and hope you hit something. The problem with this approach is yes, you may hit something, but not necessarily your ideal customer.

Preferably your teenaged daughter’s new boyfriend.

There isn’t much strategy involved in trying to reach your target audience with this approach. For example, a TV network could approach Kellogg’s and offer them 50% off the regular rates to advertise FrootLoops at midnight. With this shotgun approach, Kellogg’s will completely miss their main target but may reach the 40 year-old nighthawk gamer who still lives at home and has his mom buy his favorite cereal. That’s a pretty small target compared to their larger market of, you know… every kid in North America who watches Saturday morning cartoons – which is pretty much every kid in North America.

Larger corporations like Kellogg’s don’t traditionally take a shotgun approach. They are very strategic with how they spend their marketing dollars. It’s usually the small to mid-size businesses who tend to simply spend money without knowing what kind of return they are getting for it. For example, putting an ad in the YellowPages because your granddad used to do, or putting an ad in a magazine because all your competitors are in there is not a very sound marketing strategy. I’m not saying they aren’t good places to advertise, but in absence of a targeted marketing strategy, they’re not. Every business should have access to professionals who can partner with you to develop a marketing strategy that will meet and exceed your marketing objectives.

Now, before you can answer the question “where should I invest my marketing dollars?”, you need to ask yourself one very important question: Who is my target audience? This seems like a simple question, but I can assure you that most small to mid-size businesses fail to fully answer it.

Alongside such classics as “who left this tuna casserole in here?"

In order to successfully market yourself, you need to really “know” your audience. You need to understand what motivates them. What they like or dislike. What are their pain points and emotional triggers? What matters to them? Where do they look for information? The more you know, the better you can develop your marketing strategy and focus your marketing dollars where they will give you the best return. In marketing, we call this the rifle approach. By taking the time to understand your target audience, you can starting building profiles on the types of people you see as your dream customers. From there, we can start marketing directly to those people and get them into a sales funnel – effectively increasing our chances of triggering a response.

We’ve developed a free guide to identifying your dream customers that you may find helpful in developing your personas. If you need any additional help, take advantage our free consultation.

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The complete guide to identifying your dream customers

A free, customizable buyer persona worksheet





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