Find your voice – Find your customer

ADS!  ADS!  ADS! Why do you fail me ads?

It’s no secret that advertising spending has increased dramatically over the last 10 years.  Global spending has grown around 20% in the last 9 years alone.  North America is expected to grow from $170.86B, in 2011, to $212.44B, in 2017.  Meaning advertisers will go from spending $322 per person per year to spending approximately $402 per person per year.

We could get deeper into statistics, but my head is already hurting. Truth is spending more doesn’t guarantee you more customers.  Impact from the spending growth means one very important thing for you.

If you don’t know who your ideal customer is, you better figure it out fast!

Getting the most out of your advertising dollar requires thought, initiative, and targeting.  For example, let’s say you own a bakery with the best cupcakes in town, and you decide it’s time to grow your business – to brand, to advertise.  Now you could spend lots of money on advertising via the radio, tv, newspaper, and maybe the yellow pages.  You might even be tempted to use Groupon or deal site to bring in new customers.

At first the results will be promising.  Traffic to your store might be up initially by 10-20% and you hope this is the beginning of the profit express.  You’ll hope that now you can just sit back and count the cash.  The sad reality is, unless you are the only cupcake shop in town, your advertising dollars will likely send customers to your competitors.  To prevent this from happening you need to know who your ideal customer is and how to begin a long term relationship with them.

So these new people, are they your ideal customer?

Even your cupcake shop has an ideal customer, or several ideal customer types.  You might have the regular, the evangelist, the big spender, or perhaps it’s corporate catering as your ideal client.  The client(s) you define as your ideal are the ones you make the most money off of, or who cause you the least amount of stress, and/or who will do business with only you no matter how inconvenient.

How do you find them?

Simple, look where they are, and share with them a message and passion they can relate to.  Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who would love my cupcakes?
  • What types of cupcakes do they eat?
  • When will they be looking for cupcakes?
  • Where do they look to buy cupcakes?
  • How easy is it for them to find me when they are ready for cupcakes?
  • Why my cupcakes?

Turn it into a message that resonates with the customer.  Remember, just like in a dating relationship, your customer wants to know you are most interested in them.  Make your advertising about your IDEAL CUSTOMER and spend your advertising dollars where the customers are.  Odds are, when they are hungry – they ask Google or their friends.

Here are a few companies that have been EXTREMELY successful in building a market presence for their ideal customer.

Tacopocalypse | Devastatingly Good*

No advertising budget to begin with.  Focused on Social Media to reach college students and recent grads.  Posted pictures showcasing the food.  Built a social media relationship with their audience. Big portions, fun name, and a place to go hang out after the bars.

  • Facebook Followers – 7600
  • Twitter Followers – 3043
  • Just featured on TV Networks – Diner’s, Drive In’s, and Dive’s

Westside Auto Pros*

Ron the Car Guy can be seen everywhere in Des Moines.  You’ll find him on Facebook, Twitter, billboards, direct mail, in your email inbox, on the radio and weekly on KCWI Des Moines helping troubled motorists solve common problems.  His ideal customers are defined as anyone with a car, who has a steady income, prefers to come to a clean mechanic shop where the staff is extremely knowledgeable and they like being surprised with fun perks like free rental cars when repairs will take more than 24 hours.

  • Facebook Likes – 6100
  • Twitter Followers – 1948

Make the customer the hero of your story.

You don’t have to be anything more than who you are to be successful.  The impact of your advertising can change the dynamics of your company, and if you are getting your ideal customer the growth won’t change the identity.  Your customers should be your heroes.  The customers are, after all, the ones protecting us.


*I do not have an affiliation with Tacopacolypse or West Side Auto Pros other than as customer and admirer of both.


Have something good to say.  Say it well.

Say it often.  Say it to the right people.


Will this cute puppy help you sell more?

How much is that doggy in the window?  Oh wait, you sell insurance?

Everyone loves puppies.   So you might think, ‘How can I go wrong advertising our company with a cute, cuddly image?’   Fundamentally, you have to ask, “Will this cute puppy help me sell more product or services?”

Can you answer this question with a yes? Or can you confidently say no?  Most business owners struggle with their brand and how to paint a picture of who they are in the market.  For example, Coke uses a Polar Bear, so if a furry animal is good enough for Coke, it must be good enough for me.

Not so fast!  Coke has MILLIONS of dollars to spend on advertising and they haven’t needed to explain what their product was in decades.  We all know, Coke is a highly carbonated, caffeinated, sugar-filled beverage that can lead to diabetes, tooth decay, and has been known to power grade school science projects (just ask mentos).  Coke has their customer for life, with their high doses of addictive sugar and caffeine.  Their goal is not to educate or enlighten their customer to the benefits of their product, but to create a feeling of happiness with their branding.

Unless you are selling a sugary, carbonated beverage, your goal is quite the opposite.  You want to show them how you are FAB-ulous.   Shine a light on the Features, Advantages and Benefits of your product or services.

Give your customers something refreshing this year.   Don’t try and razzle dazzle them with a quick, cuddly campaign.  Dig in, find out who your business really is, and tell the market the truth.

  • What is my primary product/service?
  • What are the advantages to my product/service over others?
  • Why is my product the best choice for the customer to buy?

If you can answer these three questions you have a good start on your brand.  If you don’t, make that your 2015 goal.