Selling lipstick to boys.

Over the past year I have stressed several times on this blog that it is vitally important to target when marketing, I have been telling clients this for years, and it’s something I teach to my MBA students because I believe it is not something that people do enough.  You would be surprised at how many businesses spend money without any strategic plan and without any targeting.  You would think this is probably just small mom and pop company’s right?  Wrong.  Even companies with healthy budgets do it.  A few years back a friend of mine who is a consultant had a client that was marketing a product for seniors and the client came up with the brilliant idea that he was going to purchase ad time in prime time during American Idol, one of the largest T.V. audiences in existence.  The cost?  $40,000 for one night; my friend advised the client that this was not a good idea, that it was actually a bad idea, because he hadn’t done any research.  His response was that there would be millions of viewers and his ad was going to play at every commercial break.

Well against the advice of the marketing professional he way paying, he went forward, and the results were horrific.  He did not even cover the cost of advertising, not even close, he lost several thousand dollars.  Why?  Because he didn’t do his research. The median age for American Idol viewers at the time was mid to late thirties.  Had he done his homework he would have known that, and would have known that this was not a senior market.  Regardless of the fact that he advertised to millions of people, they were the wrong people.  It is so very important to research and know your target market before spending any advertising dollars.  Target before you market.  People get wrapped in the numbers and think because of the large numbers they can’t lose.  They are dead wrong.  If you are selling lipstick and market to 5 million boys will it be a successful marketing campaign?  Of course not, boys don’t wear or buy lipstick, so what was the point.  Now this may be an exaggerated example and most campaigns are not this obvious, but nonetheless they still exist and so it’s important to do your campaign justice and advertise to the right set of people.