This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Canada, which closed in 2021.

You are not your target audience

You are not your target audience

If there is one thing you can learn about marketing, it's that just because you create a service or product, and it came from your vision this does not mean that you are your target audience.

Knowing who you are marketing to is CRUCIAL to your business's success. What you may perceive as innovative and cool, or what you may respond to in terms of communication may never be what resonates with your potential clients or buyers.

So many times business owners make the HUGE mistake of thinking that how they perceive the world is exactly how their audience will perceive it; and 9 times out of 10 they couldn't be further from the truth.

You may think it is obvious that you wouldn't sell shoes to a snail but sometimes the target audience you are trying to market to is not that transparent. In many cases you may have multiple streams of potential buyers but you also have to be careful not to be everything to everyone.

People resonate to marketing communications on an emotional level and one set of demographic will likely not respond the same way as another. For instance, let's say you invented a cool tech gadget that also makes you fit while using it.

Knowing that people in tech may not have the same interests as people in the fitness industry, it is important to determine which audience will resonate more, as well as which industry is larger and will drive more ROI.

How you communicate overall is going to either pull in the right audience or alienate them. An even bigger mistake is to constantly change your brand messaging especially right out of the box. It is important to give yourself time and have patience for your fans to build trust, and loyalty to you and your product. If your product is good, it will eventually market itself after a number of people have had the chance to use it. If you keep changing that message because you haven't seen results overnight then you run a major risk of having a convoluted brand message that doesn't resonate with anyone; ultimately leaving the engagement flat on its back.

If there is a secondary market they will eventually follow just by hearing about it through various marketing and media outlets. How you strategically position your brand will essentially determine what kind of sales and clients you will have.

You may have a product that markets to 18-25 year old males and a secondary market to 45 plus males. The communication and language for both demographics are very different. Yes, Nintendo Wii is loved by all ages, but who they market to is the majority in which they drive their sales.

The bottom line is that the more specific you can get with your target market, the more chances of ROI and conversions you have. Now ROI doesn't just mean revenue, but that's a topic for another blog...

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