Knowing Your Audience is Key to Every Successful Marketing Initiative

Developing strategies and plans for your promotional products is often just like developing strategies and plans for your other marketing initiatives. One of the first key steps in a successful plan is to identify your audience. Whether you are looking at this holistically and how to market your initiatives to multiple audiences, or looking at one-off events and activities and targeting a very select group of your audience, can have pros and cons. But where do you begin regardless of your approach?

Step 1: Conducting Research

Whether you have an audience panel already or need to build one, there are a few ways to conduct your research on your promo-user list.

  1. Start with your employees – using an excel file capture all of your current employees and gather demographic data about them (age ranges, educational background, men/women, etc.). Once you have the data gathered, begin to analyze, looking for similarities and categories
  2. Analyze your long-standing customer base – take your customer data and pull together a similar report from your employee report to find averages on the customer demographics (what industries are they in, number of employees, who your direct contacts are within the organization and specific demographics about them)
  3. Analyze your prospective markets and customers – if you don’t have data on this list, it may require a little more footwork. Evaluate the types of businesses you are targeting, and if you know details on your prospective buyers include that as well

The key to this step is gathering as much information as you can. If you don’t need it now, it may come in handy later. But if you don’t have it now and you need it, you may be working harder later on. Once you have the data, start to categorize based on the similarities you find. These categories can cross lists (e.g., identifying the group of women from 30-50 in your employee, customer, prospect list) as well as be individual for each panel (e.g., number of customers in the healthcare industry).

Step 2: Creating Personas

You will always have at least a couple of personas, even if you are supporting a very niche market. The way your employee-base perceives you and how you want them to perceive you will be different from your customer-base, even if only slightly, and so on. Ask yourself these questions to start your personas, and when answering, try to use the voice of the audience member they are about:

  • What do my employees/customers currently think about the product/service I provide?
    • How are my competitors perceived by these audiences?
  • What do I want my employees/customer to think about the product/service I provide?

A few bonus questions to consider:

  • What do employees/customers think are the strengths of the organization?
  • Why do my employees come to work every day?

Step 3: Identifying Your Brand Experiences

From new hire onboarding kits and end of year thank you events to industry tradeshows and customer introductions, the opportunities for brand experiences are endless. And while there isn’t just one fool-proof product out there that will work across the board there are top sellers that tend to fit any event or activity you are planning.

  • Cups, mugs, water bottles
  • Tech gadgets
  • T-shirts, jackets, scarves, hats
  • Sunglasses, hats and caps
  • Pens, markers, pencils, and other writing tools
  • Bags and totes
  • Business supplies
  • Giveaways

This is only the beginning, but it is the perfect step to help answer who you need to target, what they are thinking and even give you the starting point on reaching your goals for your promotional product plans.

This article is part of a series titled Promo Buyer 101. This series is perfect for anyone who is just starting to buy promotional products for their organization, or is a veteran buyer but is looking for tips and ideas for branded merchandise needs. Check out the other articles in the series and be sure to share with your colleagues.