It’s common knowledge that promotional products are both purchased and used by a wide variety of industries. In fact, this is the exact reason so many people started selling promotional merchandise in the first place – the need across all industries . And, while perfectly decorated nuggets of promotional marketing appeal to an enormous group of people, it simply doesn’t make sense to try to market to everyone.
Think of it this way: the more potential customers you want to reach, the more time, effort, and money it’s going to cost you to influence them. It’s not about excluding potential clients; it’s deciding where to burn the necessary calories to maximize your resource investment. Placing your focus on a targeted portion of the companies interested in buying promotional merchandise will allow you to communicate more directly and engage with that segment more deeply.
A target audience is unique to each distributor. As such, it’s critical to observe the following three steps to ensure you are spending your resources to maximize the return.
1. Know Your Value - The first step is to fully understand how you can leverage promotional products to fix specific marketing issues for potential clients. What unique aspects of your expertise and/or brand message relates directly to potential clients? Do you have extensive experience in ecommerce solutions, employee retention, new product launches, or something else? Think in terms of how your company has solved problems that other potential clients wrestle with on a daily basis. As you go through this exercise, remember it is ultimately about the value your clients see in you.
2. Develop a Client Profile – A client profile far more than a list of potential accounts in your geographical area. It’s an in-depth description of who the target client may be and includes the following:
Primary attributes - What main traits of a target company fall into your wheelhouse: size of organization, number of employees, type of organization, annual revenue, how they go to market, etc.
Secondary attributes - These are other aspects of target clients that cater to your value proposition: type of culture, diversity initiatives, specialty markets, etc.
Industries - Target where you feel your organization can add the most value, including examples of past work, but drill down to specifics. For example, stating you want to focus on the hospitality industry isn’t enough. List resorts in specific areas, meeting planners in distinct markets, etc.
Contacts - Keeping your specific brand message in mind, identify the people within your target industries where you can provide the most value. Some examples might be the obvious (marketing managers, human resources, sales directors) while other may not be as apparent (diversity managers, safety directors, procurement)
All of this information is essential for developing the client profile by not only identifying the targets who will find the most value in what you offer, but also will target the people in the organization that will best respond to how you differentiate yourself through brand messaging.
3. Monitor and Evolve – After the target audience has been identified, it’s important to monitor as clients, industry tendencies, market trends, and your competition will evolve. Don’t fall into the trap assuming that your target audience will remain static – they won’t. Track every touch point (sales activities, client interactions, quotes, meetings, presentations, marketing efforts, etc.) for it will allow you to identify trends, patterns, and potential areas of improvement allowing you to evolve to ensure that you and your brand message is aligned with your target audience.
Marketing to every organization that purchases promotional products isn’t feasible – the juice just isn’t worth the squeeze. By narrowing down to a specific target audience, your unique voice will begin to align with clients who delight in the value you provide.
The "Finding Your Voice" Series can be continued below