Creating a Luxury Experience for Your Target Audience
My best friend’s son wants to buy his first car, but not just any car. My best friend’s son wants to buy a Lamborghini. Now, I hope I am not the only one who, when they envision a sixteen-year-old cruising around in a brand new, $200,000 PLUS car, feels their blood pressure immediately skyrocket.
For many people, the word impractical doesn’t even begin to describe the scenario. But for me, it is a perfect word because I view myself as a practical car buyer. I love my current car. It is your standard, four-door, compact vehicle that gets me from point A to point B. My car is fuel efficient, has airbags, a steering wheel and four tires. Sounds like a perfect car that fits my needs. But that explanation falls on deaf ears when I talk to my friend’s son.
Expectation Drives Demand
Here’s the thing. My friend’s son is not looking to buy a practical car. He is looking to buy a driving experience. This battle between my friend and her son reminded me of one of the biggest mistakes marketers make when advertising to their target audiences. No matter how well-crafted your brand strategy and demand gen campaigns are, if your product (and in some cases the positioning of your product) is misaligned with your target audience, you are not going to transform a prospective buyer into a customer.
B2C Merges with B2B
Great B2B marketers recognize the need for a strong brand even among other B2B companies. In B2B, brand awareness is just as important as building communications around your target audience. Your brand messaging needs to demonstrate that you understand your audience’s pain points and how your products and services will address their needs. Taking a page from B2C, you should be considering your target audience’s emotions. Ask yourself, what emotion does your brand’s message and reputation evoke?
Effective brand advertising always remembers the human being behind the ad. When humanizing B2B, marketers recognize how a potential buyer’s professional reputation is at stake when making purchase decisions. Buyers want to be considered knowledgeable professionals at their jobs. They are eager to showcase their ability to make accurate decisions for the benefit of their businesses. If you can develop a brand message that enables buyers to feel confident in their decisions, then your awareness campaign has successfully targeted the correct audience.
Signal to Your Target Audience
I have been in many rooms and heard countless debates on the importance of broadening your audience. In fact, LinkedIn recently published their survey on key principles of marketing growth for brand and demand and revealed the pros and cons of broad targeting vs. narrow targeting. With an average of 44% of working professionals changing jobs every four years, broad targeting helps keep your organization growing by making sure you are continuously connecting with new customers and nurturing future buyers. However, if you spend the majority of your time and budget trying to sell an antique Yugo to a classic car collector, it is just not going to happen.
I stand by my example of a Yugo because for the car folks reading this blog, based on its brand awareness and reputation, you know exactly what emotion is evoked when I utter the name Yugo. Essentially, it boils down to this: If your reputation and services do not match with your target audience’s needs, you are screaming into an empty void.
Your brand messaging needs to demonstrate that you understand your audience’s pain points and how your products and services will address their needs.
Let Awareness Take the Wheel
Start with what / who you know. Align your brand awareness campaigns with your target audience. It is easier to create demand when your audience knows your brand, knows what you stand for, recognizes and values the quality of your products and your offerings. Brands that do try to sell to audiences outside of their immediate circles can find leads, but qualifying those leads is much easier to achieve when you have a base audience that recognizes your brand’s value. Let your reputation do the work for you. Think about how you are being perceived by that target audience and what actions they are taking to interact with you. How is your target audience carrying your message for you to other prospective leads?
Now, my friend’s son will probably always have expensive taste. The good news is that between now and his 16th birthday, he has plenty of time to be introduced to other car manufacturers that market a luxurious experience with a more practical price tag. As for myself, well, if it has an engine and rubber tires, I’ll be happy with it. But now, after talking to my friend’s son, I might just upgrade to a leather interior … for the experience.