I often get advertisements that do not apply to me, or the advertiser does not understand me in any way. I bet you do as well. I have been preaching to clients for years that it is imperative that you understand your customer, because without this understanding you are just playing darts in the dark. Consumer behavior is one of the most important aspects of a marketing strategy, and yes I said strategy, besides targeting and segmenting you need to understand the customer.
If you are a fragrance company and are creating a marketing strategy for a new men’s cologne is it enough to just advertise to men in general? Absolutely not. Different people have different needs, and the reason for purchasing the same product may not be the same. What motivates an 18 year old to purchase the same cologne as a 70 year old may not be the same, so you have to understand these various segments in your market, what is motivating them to buy? If you own a small restaurant it is important for you to know that the best time to advertise food to people is when they are hungry, so advertising at lunch and dinner time will probably have better results than advertising at 10 pm. Again you need to understand your customer, what motivates them, what their needs and wants are and use this to your marketing advantage.
I have often heard people say that there isn’t a difference between marketing and advertising and that is completely untrue. Advertising is just that, it is advertising without targeting, without segmenting your target, without analyzing your potential customers and their wants and needs, without understanding them. Marketing is understanding all of this and taking it all into consideration before making any advertising decisions. Advertising is a part of marketing; they are not one and the same. Advertising is pulling the trigger on sending out your message; marketing is the research and the analyzing that is done to understand consumer behavior.
Whether you are a fortune 500 company trading on NASDAQ or a pretzel stand downtown and whether you have a multimillion dollar marketing budget or just a few thousand dollar budget, all of this still applies. Advertising without a strategy and without understanding your customer is simply a waste of advertising dollars. The sooner you figure this out, the more successful you will be.