When marketing a product or service to different types of customers, it’s important to define those audiences thoughtfully and listen to them closely, Nerissa Sardi, former VP of Marketing, Medici, and founder, Marketing in the Wild, told recent CMO Club Virtual Roundtable participants as she offered her perspective on Defining and Prioritizing Marketing for Multiple Audiences.
Her first recommendation, even for those who have been in their role for a long time, is to sit down and understand more deeply how to structure your audiences. By digging into the finer details of your existing and prospective audiences, you can sometimes find easy wins, she said. Those wins will help you validate some of the activities and ideas you may have and help you better visualize what you need to do.
At the same time, make sure you have alignment within your organization, she said. Ensure marketing and business goals – and sometimes the goals of cross-functional teams – are closely aligned, both in the short-term and the long-term. Sardi said she’s found it helpful to have an outcome around building marketing or business plans for each audience. Making sure everyone in the company understands and sees the same view of each audience is important.
“An audience playbook is what you can use with your teams, and with your decision-makers and stakeholders, that they can then refer to as you go along to really define and make clear what marketing is trying to do and how you’re going to be successful,” she said.
Also, remember when you’re working on defining or redefining your audiences, don’t forget to keep what’s been working all along – “don’t throw the baby out with the bath water,” Sardi recommends.
Look deeply at what your metrics are telling you
As you look at your audiences and your opportunities, dig deeper into past metrics as a gauge for the future.
“Things change so fast,” she said. “The last 12 to 18 months of past performance is a really good place to start.”
Evaluate where you spent your marketing dollars, and look at the audiences that were successfully acquired, what channels they were using and consuming, and where you are getting traction in terms of attribution in your sales and/or marketing funnel.
“If you can start to catalog those in a way that prioritize or define these more finely-tuned elements it may provide you and your teams with a different way to think about which audiences are really going to provide the most value and opportunity for the future, and where you’re going to have the greatest impact,” Sardi said.
Talk to your audiences
Sardi said there is no substitute for speaking directly to your audience; Ideally, in their own environment where your solution will be used. It’s something she does often as she works to understand and prioritize them, as well as figure out and define campaigns. It allows her to not only hear what their challenges are first-hand, but also to observe those unarticulated challenges and listen to the language that customers or prospects use to describe what they do.
Sardi said she also listens to other internal inputs from the people on the front lines who speak to customers each day, but points out that the sales or account teams likely have a different lens or incentive than what marketing needs to make growth decisions. The resulting feedback from these teams may not be as helpful as they could be on their own when defining marketing programs or campaigns, incorporating the customers’ language, determining the appropriate channels to use, or the types of product marketing inputs that will be most impactful.
Speak with your audiences at least once a month if you can, and if that’s not possible, look into collaborating with a customer insight company, like Point Forward, that do this for a living and can relate the information back to you in a qualitative way, she said.
Finally, Sardi recommends building archetypes rather than personas. Archetypes are based on a real person, she pointed out. Building multiple archetypes for both existing customers and prospective ones can be very powerful – helping those in your organization to be more thoughtful about who they’re building for and what the challenges are of those they’re building for, she said.
Test and Learn
Once you’ve started to figure out who to prioritize and how to be successful as far as which audiences to focus your time and effort, then it’s time to test and learn.
If you can isolate some of your micro-audiences, test like crazy, she said. Use the outcomes from these smaller programs to develop and baseline for what’s going to work for each target. Doing this allows you to more quickly, easily and successfully tailor and scale to larger audiences to achieve your marketing and business goals.