Many years ago, direct mail expert Ed Mayer created the 40-40-20 rule.
This very simple advertising guide simply means, 40% of your success will be determined by how well you define your target market.
The second 40% depends on how that target market perceives your product and your business.
The final 20% is the package which consists of the offer and the presentation of that offer.
The art, color, paper, copy and message of your advertising.
The Invisible Advertising Messages
We are bombarded by so many advertising messages every day, it's impossible to take each one seriously.
In fact, there are so many that our minds must act as "filters."
Only letting in what is truly important to us and eliminating all the rest.
That's why the paper seems to be filled with tire ads whenever we need tires.
We never noticed the ads when we didn't need tires. It's as though they were invisible except when our minds tell us to notice them.
The Message Becomes Visible Only to The Target Market
Customers become your target market as a need for your product arises.
Sometimes, after you fill your customer’s needs, they fall out of your target market until your product or service is needed again.
Your message will now be invisible to them. In most cases, they will ignore it. They no longer need your product or service.
So, with people jumping in and out of the market, how can you define who they are and how to reach them?
Reverse Marketing to The New Target Market
This example creates a reverse marketing situation.
In traditional marketing you would define your customers and send your advertising message to them by the most direct and economical route available.
Your target market analysis has shown you who they are and how to reach them. (See: Target Market: Who They Are and How to Find Them)
However, a segment of new customers are entering your market each day who have suddenly developed a need for your product.
They may not fit your target market analysis.
You don't know who they are or why they have entered your market, but you still need to reach them.
With reverse marketing you have to help them find you.
How Do They Find You Now?
One of the problems most businesses have with marketing and advertising is they do it because "they are supposed to."
Not because they have done the proper research for the advertising media.
Someone "sold" them advertising. "You should be in our newspaper." "You should be on our radio station."
In truth, you should only "be" where your target market is in large enough numbers to justify the expense of the ads.
If you have ads that are producing more income for your business than they are costing, then by all means you should be advertising there.
If on the other hand the opposite is true, then you need a change of plan.
Consider the New Market Segment - A Secondary Market
If the current advertising is working, keep it in place.
The next order of business is becoming visible to the secondary market.
The new customers.
If you were a gas station, for instance, this secondary market would be new drivers.
People who just turned 16 and have a new driver’s license.
Another segment would be new folks in town who have to find a gas station.
A third segment might be unsatisfied customers from your competitors.
As you can see, with a little thought, you can identify some of these customers and start to become visible to them by "being" in the right place.
Let's go back to our gas station example for a minute.
How would you reach new 16-year-old drivers? Usually, the radio.
A rock station perhaps? How would you reach new people in town?
Welcome wagon coupons. Church bulletins. Chamber of Commerce flyers.
Unsatisfied customers? A special offer for new customers.
The point here isn't expensive advertising but being in the right place to become visible to other markets your competitors may be missing.
The Last Word on Visibility
There are obvious markets that anyone could see.
There is also a lot of business that surfaces in small markets that many businesses miss.
Don't be one of them. Remember the question you are taught to ask every customer, "How did you find us?"
Maybe what we should be asking is, "How did we find YOU?"
Based in Bozeman, MT, Tom Egelhoff is the author of, “The Small-Town Advertising Handbook: How To Say More And Spend Less,” and "How to Market, Advertise and Promote Your Business or Service in Your Own Backyard."
He is also a seminar and workshop presenter and trainer. He may be reached at 406-580-1104. Have a business question for Tom? Click HERE to get Tom's advice for free.
Listen in on Tom's weekly Saturday radio show "Open For Business" on AM 1450 KMMS Radio, Bozeman.