A big problem in marketing stems from not having spent enough time studying and understanding your target market. While perhaps not the most enjoyable exercise, defining your customer “avatar” pays off in spades. Let me give you a (granted exaggerated) example. Let’s say I’m a financial planner and I serve clients of all ages. I can have the absolute best close-to-retirement solutions out there, stuff that beats the market every time and for far less risk than other instruments. If my messaging has to do with safety for those near retirement and I send that messaging to young people, it’s just not going to work well. On the other hand, that same messaging when targeting people who are close to retirement should resonate very well.

For marketing to be effective, the message needs to match the market. Otherwise, you have message market mismatch. The example I gave above is obvious. The mismatches that occur in most marketing is usually more subtle than that but the concept is the same. The key to getting the match is to really (really) understand your target market. Get to know everything you can about them. Who is he? What does he do? What does he do for fun? What does he read? What TV shows does he watch? How many kids does he have? How old are they? What’s his name?

When you get all of this nitty gritty information, you can create a real picture of the actual person you are selling to. Then you just start talking as if you are talking to that person and the messaging naturally fits. If your target is Ben, then talk to Ben and just to Ben. Don’t talk to a group since that waters down the messaging.