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Bait Matters: Catch more customers by learning who they are and what they want

After a 45-year career, Jack was ready for retirement.

More time for vacations and the occasional nap. More time with the grandkids. And, finally, time for new hobbies like fishing.

Jack always enjoyed hearing his buddies’ fishing stories and loved the idea of a little solitude out in nature. His extensive work travel and house projects just never seemed to leave much time for those weekends at the lake or river.

Finally, after visiting the local sporting goods store to pick up a few fishing essentials, he was prepared to head out to the spot where his friends had often talked of reeling in lots of catfish — Jack and his family loved southern fried catfish.

Within an hour, he had his first catch, a nice bass. The story was the same all day. Three more bass and no catfish.

Turns out that, in his haste to get out on the water, Jack focused much more on selecting just the right fishing pole than on the net, bait and other accessories. He simply grabbed a few artificial lures and hit the road.

He didn’t realize bass are attracted to the lures he selected, but catfish are better drawn by live bait and strong smells. An understandable rookie mistake.

Jack failed to think about his target audience, and the catfish weren’t buying what he was selling. He just wasn’t “speaking” their language with his artificial lures.

This kind of reminds me of the somewhat comical Eater web headline from a few years back, “No One Is Ordering Salads at McDonald’s.”

Defining and knowing your target audience

In the case of the amateur fisherman, the cost of choosing the wrong bait isn’t much, maybe 20 bucks and the disappointment of not having southern fried catfish for dinner.

But in the world of video and small business, the cost of not focusing on our target audience and their preferences can be huge. It can be the difference between survival and success.

We have to speak to the right people if we want our content to have the right impact.

Start by analyzing your existing customer base by characteristics such as age, gender, geography and income. Do a deep dive to determine if your assumptions are accurate and then define your customer profile(s) in writing as an essential building block for developing or fine-tuning your marketing plan.

You may decide you want to broaden your appeal to other audiences for future growth, but begin by really understanding your customers of today so you can maximize your share of the market that has gotten you this far.

Once you’ve defined your active target audience, dig deeper into learning what beliefs they hold and what spurs them to action. This will help you uncover insights into why they are buying your service or product and how you might get others like them to do the same.

This can be done through focus groups, customer surveys and market research reports. Go beyond general characteristics into their values and what motivates them.

By defining your audience and finding out more about how they think and feel, you will be ready to research their preferred methods of information gathering. Do they access video on social media or traditional media or both? Are they watching on tablets, phones or TVs?

Zeroing in on success

An excellent example of a company that has benefited from the power of knowing its target audience and using video marketing to reach customers is DC Shoes.

While not a household name, DC Shoes launched in 1994 after its founders failed in several previous attempts in the clothing industry. This time, they hyper-focused on teenage boys and the “modern skateboard shoe.”

They zeroed in on the unique fashion sensibility of that demographic and partnered with well-known personalities in the skateboarding subculture to showcase the product in authentic settings.

DC Shoes reaches its target audience with high-octane, soft-sell marketing videos that quickly become viral sensations. One video released on YouTube in 2012 was viewed 22 million times in eight days — a success beyond most marketers’ wildest dreams — and, together, videos in the series have attracted more than 550 million views around the world.

The video strategy has been quite a hit with the target audience. DC Shoes generated revenues of $7 million in 1995. By 2003, sales hit $100 million, and the following year the company sold for $87 million.

Today, DC Shoes is a global brand with an action sports product line that includes skateboarding and lifestyle shoes, apparel, snowboards, snowboard boots, outerwear and accessories.

Company co-founder Ken Block told Ad Age, “We operate in a very cynical and cultish industry where the look and feel have to be exactly right.”

With a deep understanding of and commitment to his target audience, Block and the DC Shoes team have been able to maintain exactly the right look and feel over many years, encompassing not only the product itself but the video messaging used to reach his customer base.

Any small business owner would do well to know his or her customers at this sophisticated level and to speak their language as fluently as DC Shoes does.

About the Author

brad burrowBrad Burrow is the Founder/CEO of Real Media, a Kansas City media and content company that helps companies develop and build strategies and content on various platforms – local and national.

You can reach Brad at:
Phone: (913) 894-8989