September 20, 2017

Assumptions + Key Insights

Fall is in the air. Your energy is fully restored. And you’re ready to jump back in to those marketing and outreach efforts you neglected all summer. 

But don’t jump in too soon.

We all want instant results, so it’s easy to understand the desire to cut corners. But making assumptions about your target audience could be a costly corner to cut.

Even when we know better, it’s human nature to unconsciously assume other people are like us. To assume they believe and behave like we do. But if you’re doing any sort of marketing or outreach, it’s important to be right about this. 

You have to do your research. 

Getting a better understanding of your target market’s perceptions could include hiring a market research firm. But there are also a few things you can do yourself, from sending out surveys to inquiries on social media to observing people’s behavior, and so on.

One of my early lessons in checking assumptions was when I was hired by a Mercedes Benz dealership to get the word out about ”who they were”. It had changed ownership a few times and the new owners assumed people were confused and therefore not buying cars. After a bit of hands-on research, I found that 1) Nobody cared who owned the dealership and 2) Everyone knew exactly where to buy a Mercedes if they wanted one. So instead of developing a campaign to promote the dealership, we were able to focus all our efforts on promoting the brand. (People already knew where to get it.)

How I did my hands-on research is another story. Email me if you want to hear it.

So the bottom line is that before you start thinking about your marketing or outreach strategy, you have to identify and prioritize your key consumer insights.

I use a messaging matrix to flesh this out. It includes columns for my assumptions and columns for my findings. (Who are we talking to? What are their current perceptions? What needs to change?) Only after this reality check can I develop my strategy.

What is your fall outreach or marketing plan? Before you start thinking about tactics a strategy, you have to identify and prioritize your key insights. You might curse me now but you’ll thank me in the end.