From the Trenches

Marketers, Know Your Audience – Don’t Just Fire the Cannon

Will Davis | June 24, 2010

As marketers, we all know it’s important to know your audience, and critically important to know as much as you can about your customers. That’s why it still surprises me when a company you feel you have a relationship with just completely misses it. Yesterday I received a clear example in an email from my local car dealer. Here’s a small snippet of that message below with some information [substituted] to protect the guilty:

The [brand] Model Year-End Sales Event is happening now at [dealer] and because of your status as a preferred customer, you can now get $1,000** Bonus Savings plus 0%* APR financing and a Free Maintenance Plan.+

Visit the link below to receive your $1,000** Bonus Savings today!

Now, I probably have a deeper relationship with my car dealer than most people. Those of you who know me well enough are probably REALLY sick of me going on and on about how great my Prius is. I lease my vehicle for business, so they know I’m back there every 3 years. And, with a growing family each of those last two times we’ve also swapped our family vehicle for something that can fit the kids and their ever-expanding stuff.

So, imagine my surprise when barely 6 months after getting not one, but TWO new cars from this dealer in a weekend, they already hit me with 3 email messages about – you guessed it – buying a new car! Marketers love to collect data.  And I believe that, for the most part consumers are willing to share some if it ultimately leads to something better – More relevant messages, offers etc. The challenge becomes if you collect this data, have it, and don’t use it. This is one of the reasons I cringe when people refer to email “blasts” – A blast is what comes out of a cannon, not a smart, targeted, segment thinking marketer. The car dealer should know it’s highly unlikely a new car offer will resonate with me right now, barely 6 months into 2 new vehicles. However, maybe a message around service, safety, refer a friend, or something else of value would hit much better with customers in my segment. Whether it’s email, by-lined articles, direct mail or another vehicle, make sure you are properly segmenting your message for your audiences. We have the tools, it’s just lazy not to use them – And ultimately diminishes your customer’s experience and the way they perceive you.

About Will Davis:

As Right Source’s chief marketing technology officer, Will Davis oversees the intersection of marketing strategy, consulting, execution and technology for our clients. He focuses first on business objectives and then on helping clients leverage marketing and technology to deliver against those objectives. A recognized leader in content marketing, Will has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, College Park in government and politics and broad experience developing marketing strategies that help organizations reach milestones and grow. You can find Will on Twitter and Google+, connect with him on LinkedIn, or read his other posts.

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