Step by Step Marketing – Getting to know your customers or clients. Part Four: Where and When

Welcome to the fourth and final in my series of articles to help you understand and get to know your customers or clients. Part One focused on segmenting your audience and the various ways you can do this. Part Two looked at language and gave a ‘toe dip’ into marketing and psychology. And Part Three gave a whistle-stop tour of the different ways you can gain insight into your audience to find out the ‘Why’: why they buy what they buy.

Now we’re going to look at the ‘where and when’. Where should you be speaking to your customers or clients and when should you be doing it? Where and when will they be receptive to your messaging and go on to take action?

Firstly and fundamentally, you need to know where your customers and potential customers hang out and communicate, advertise or post there. Unfortunately, much as we’d love them to, they’re not going to come to us without persuasion.

Think about your audience (going back over the previous three articles). You now have a good idea of who they are so put yourself in their shoes. Where would the personas you created in Part One go? Are they on social media and, if so, which platform: Facebook? Instagram? Reddit? TikTok? LinkedIn? etc and remember demographics migrate across the various platforms. Here’s a link to an interesting article in Search Engine Journal which may help you to decide.

But I would strongly caveat here that any social media campaign should be part of a strategic marketing plan and, as such, that clear objectives and resource are established from the outset. This way you’ll be able to build a strong ongoing marketing strategy that meets your business objectives and, moreover, ensure your marketing spend is targeted and maximised.

Maybe your audience doesn’t use social media – it is possible! In fact, I was speaking to a neighbour of a certain age the other day who felt disenfranchised because she didn’t have a smart phone and was nervous around computers. She felt she’d been thrown in at the deep end, particularly due to Covid, and wasn’t being catered for. I agree. I recently had a marketing communication from a major supermarket which meant I can now only access offers if I scan the QR code. There was no alternative given which means my neighbour is now excluded and I know she shops in person at said supermarket!

So where else can you be speaking to your audience? It’s helpful to break our communication channels into three:

· Paid (advertising)

· Earned (PR/shares on social media etc.)

· Owned (website/intranet/newletters etc.)

And remember all of the above can be through good old-fashioned print rather than purely online!

Now let’s look at the ‘when’. When will your customer or client be receptive to your messages? For this we can look at and map our customers’ journeys against the various touchpoints. One of the simplest ways to do this is to use the AIDA concept (acronym for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) developed back in 1898 by Elias St. Elmo Lewis but still holds true today. We can add retention and advocacy at the end to reflect the true customer value.

Fig 1. Funnel showing the AIDA model

As I say this is a simplistic model and we can build on it to include all touchpoints. For example, where did we build awareness? This could be PR, advertising, email campaigns etc. At which point did this awareness switch to interest or consideration? Maybe it was visiting your website or calling. What turned this consideration into desire and, importantly, when did they take action: at what stage in their journey and where? In store, online or even through a third party?

Remember you’re marketing to people who have lives. How do you reach them in those lives? And when? It’s worth spending a bit of time on this to ensure your communications are targeted and effective. This way you’ll be making the most of your marketing budget.

If you’d like any help working out your customers’ journeys or have any questions do drop me an email or call for an informal, no-obligation chat. I can’t wait to hear from you.

Best wishes,