I just spoke to a group of motorcycle dealers, and the number one question on their minds was “Where should I be investing my advertising dollars?”
The first question you have to answer is: “Who do I want to talk to?” Most small brick-and-mortar merchants like the group of dealers just kind of throw their advertising out to the whole public. They hope that the relative few real prospects out there will see it. When you do that, you pay for a lot of overflow advertising – dollars spent talking to people who will never buy from you.
Once you know who you’re talking to, you can find media they read/listen to, places they go, events they participate in and web sites and blogs they’re likely to be active in. The more clearly you can define your target customer, the more accurately you’ll be able to find places to promote yourself.
Traditional media, like newspapers, radio and TV, can tell you exactly who their audience is. Radio stations have loyal listeners, and they can tell you how old they are, how much money they make, where they live and what their hobbies and interests are. TV is different. People are loyal to specific programs. Right now, there’s a clear (and large!) demographic group that tunes in to American Idol. If the definition of their viewer closely matches your definition of a target customer, it may well be worth the exceptionally high price of their advertising spots.
You may have somewhat different target customers for different products you sell. You must go throught the same selection process for each one. You want to spend your money talking to prime prospects and not waste any more than necessary talking to people who aren’t.