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Angela Stringfellow at NG Data recently asked 40 marketing professionals their answer to that very question. It’s a great read and I’m honored that Angela included my answer on the list. Here was my response:
The single most important factor in determining your success is actually the exact same factor as outbound and non-digital marketing: how well you intimately know your target customer/audience.
Chances are, your marketing target is too broad. It’s more common than not. Maybe you want to reach Millennials… Baby Boomers… moms… small businesses… Broad targets like these put your business or brand in a weak competitive position. It’s a mistake to assume that these broad groups are homogeneous. It makes you less relevant. In today’s economy, the sharper and more specific you can make your target, the better – especially online.
If you sharpen your marketing target and then begin to intimately know them (by talking directly to them and learning from them), it will not only make you more relevant and distinct, but it will give you endless ideas for how to tailor/upgrade your products or services, endless ideas for new content to create (making you relevant and also improving your SEO), and it will also help you focus only on the channels that they consume instead of spreading yourself too thin with too many tactics.
When I work with small businesses, it’s the single factor that most predictably determines whether or not they’ll be successful. If you don’t have a specific target profile in place, I suggest you start there. Write it down and document it using a template like this one.
Angela’s article is a good read for all small business owners. Give it a read to see all 40 of the experts’ answers.
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Kevin Namaky is CEO at the Gurulocity Brand Management Institute, a marketing education company that trains and consults for notable brand teams including Kimberly-Clark, Scotts Miracle-Gro, Bolthouse Farms and Gorilla Brands. Kevin is a featured instructor for the American Marketing Association, lectures at the IU Kelley School of business, and has been featured in Ad Age, Forbes, Fast Company and the CMO Council. Previously Kevin worked for 20 years in the corporate and agency world growing notable brands. Follow/connect with Kevin on LinkedIn, TikTok and Twitter.