Audience is King


Remember Audience is King.

When was it that small business owners jumped on that wave of social media and Internet marketing? Maybe they still are jumping on the huge swell of movement. I thought today I would just a little nugget from my media buying experience, so that we all get a small reminder that in the end the Audience is what matters most. That might be a simple over statement but in the past two years I have seen plenty of business owners jump from wave to wave following the excitement of the movement, forgetting that they have to still create the audience.
I am a firm believer that all media works. I believe every advertiser that makes a valid offer to the end consumer will get results. So how do you decide where to invest your marketing budget?
Knowing that most of the time the business owner is buying the salesperson more than the product let me suggest that you ask your marketing advisor to explain the audience you are receiving. How is that audience different from the audience you are currently receiving? Is my current audience wrong? Often I find business owners willing to sacrifice audience for price. This can create short-term rewards but in the long run ends up hurting the momentum of your business.
Let me give you an example that I had first hand experience with; I worked with a medium sized furniture Store in Boise Idaho in the mid 90’s that had a very diverse marketing portfolio. They ran heavy print and TV marketing weekly and were regarded as one of the top 2 furniture stores in the marketplace. One quarter they decided to drop their newspaper advertising completely and expand their TV and radio buys because the stations got very aggressive and gave them a large volume of additional coverage. What do you think happened? They had just transferred from the largest audience base to several smaller bases in order to save cost.
After the first two weeks they started to see a real decline in foot traffic, they had just left behind the largest audience base in the community, newspaper readers, and they were used to seeing an ad with the weekly specials. After a month the store manager told me they had had there worst month of sales in over five years. After 6 weeks business had reached all time low levels. They contacted the newspaper and began advertising again ASAP. However the recovery was not quick, the store had lost market share to its competitors in a short six week window that took them over one year to recapture.

The audience size vs the audience quality, which is more important fro your business? I would suggest to you that is an unanswerable question in a forum like this. See it depends on your goals and objectives as a business owner.
Are you willing to sacrifice foot traffic in order to bring in only the best traffic? What would your business look like today if you only brought in your best customers? Could you survive if the not so perfect customer stopped calling?

Before you make that next marketing decision, stop and ask yourself what audience am I receiving for my investment? You might even want to compare that to other media and do the simple equation of (Cost/ audience = Cost per person) in order to evaluate the true value of the pricing model in front of you. Is it really that good of deal?

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