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Brand Quarterly

8 Mandates for Social Media Marketing Success

More than 150 Marketing Pros Weigh In On "8 Mandates For Social Media Marketing Success" by Kent Huffman, with Eric Fletcher. More information.

Brand Quarterly Featured

Target 2013A big-time marketing pitfall is to mistake Objectives for Targets (or vice versa).  So let’s distinguish between the two.

Your Targets are those companies, individuals, and organizations you’ve identified as key to helping you realize your objectives.  And while one of your objectives might be to develop a profitable working relationship with a specific company (as noted in Part 2), your Targets should be much more specific than simply noting the name of the company.

How specific?  Think names.

 

Grab hold of this reality, and you’re well on your way to effective (not to mention efficient) marketing.  Know who your Targets are, and you minimize costly scatter-shooting.  (And no matter how loud the bang, scatter-shooting wastes a lot of ammunition.)

On the other hand, marketing directly to your Target makes it possible for you to address compelling realities with a specific message.

If one of your objectives is to land XYZ Co. as a client, your Target is the one or two (maybe three) individuals at XYZ in a position to either hire you or assist in making that happen.  And while you might, of necessity, have to begin with a generic title, it doesn’t count to simply say the President or the CEO.  You’re going to have to connect with a person; you need to be able to pencil in a name.

So when you think Targets, think quality names.  We emphasize quality because to leave the impression that mere quantity accomplishes something here would be a mistake.  And there are three types of names that constitute quality targets when you’re working at this level.

1. an individual that can hire you

2. an individual that will refer or recommend you

3. an individual in a position to provide valuable insight, and coach you toward success

Where Does Target Identification Begin?

On one hand, it’s hard to overdo it:  That is to say, the more names you have on your Target list, the better.  But don’t lose sight of what the list is about.  If the name isn’t going to help you realize your Objectives, keep it for your holiday greeting list, but don’t include it in this level of planning as a Target.

You’re building a database from which you’re going to expect your business to grow.  Every quality name is an asset.  Naturally, you’ll want your asset list to be a healthy, growing one.  And the best place to begin is with your existing portfolio of contacts.  This should include any Outlook list, connections on professional ne former classmates, former colleagues, and maybe even family and friends if they fall into one of the three kinds of targets noted above.  Cull, clean and organize your portfolio of assets.

Once you’ve sorted through your computer files, business cards collected at happy hours and networking events, and the notes you’ve scribbled beside the phone, turn your attention to areas where you have specific knowledge, and/or affinity.  Targets within these areas often form the sweet spot of an effective marketing plan.

Just as you’d build any portfolio, putting together your database of Targets should never be done in a vacuum.  Here are a few things to consider.

  1. The competition – are competitors already entrenched in the targeted industry?  Are the major players in the industry in solid relationships?
  2. The nature and margin of the work – does the target offer you the opportunity to do work that is at the upper end of the profitability matrix?
  3. Activity in the marketplace – where is there moving and shaking?  In what areas is CHANGE capturing the headlines?
  4. Your personal affinity – what industries do you enjoy?
  5. Your experience – where does your experience and insight give you an advantage?

It is helpful to remember that the ultimate goal is to know your Targets well enough to understand their most compelling business drivers – e.g. what keeps them up at night.  We will drill a bit deeper here in the next section, but realize that the more your Target believes he shares in common with you, the better chance you have of making a quality connection.

As in the case of Objectives, we’ve included a Target oriented exercise below.  Take a few minutes to note top-of-mind ideas relative to Targets.  This gives you a place to start later.

A.  Where do you have an affinity and/or knowledge of an industry or company?

What are those companies/industries in which you have a strong understanding of the issues, their industry, and their brand?

What are those companies/industries that you enjoy?

What industries will yield the greatest opportunity for the growth of your personal practice?

Are the prospective clients currently clients of the firm?  Are we talking about a cross-marketing opportunity?

B.  Where is change redefining an industry or company?

Where is significant change going on?  (The nature of the change – i.e. downsizing, upsizing, etc. – is less important than the fact that there is, indeed, some type of change.)

Where is there Merger & Acquisition activity?  Or extreme cost pressure?  Or industry retrofitting?  Re-engineering?  E-change?  Change is fertile ground for someone with solutions.

C.  Where do you have contacts in a position to

1) Hire you

2) Refer you

3) Provide coaching (business intel) that will help you get closer to / hired by a Target.

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