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Where to Start When You Need to Change Your Marketing Strategy

As professionals, many of us believe that if our product or service is good enough, it will speak for itself! Therefore, being ‘good enough’ becomes the core of our marketing plan. We may hope and believe that all we have to do is be the best in the business, outperforming our competition, and our customers will find us.

When you see your competition (who isn’t as good you) pulling ahead, it can be tempting to throw your time and money into advertising. You go to trade shows, advertise in local directories, and throw money at Facebook, hoping that exposure alone will communicate your value. Unfortunately, more often than not, this strategy is a huge waste of time and money.

Often, I see that the problem isn’t you or your services. The problem is how you target the right people and speak to them in compelling ways that make all the difference.

If you don’t know your target audience, you can’t craft the right message. You also won’t know where to find them to send that message.

So, who is your real audience?

It all begins with your Ideal Client Avatar. You may already be familiar with this concept, and maybe you’ve even created one. But whether you’re a complete newbie to an ICA or an old hand, this is where you must start if you want to revamp your marketing.

Your ICA lets you hone in on the core aspects of the people who want to find you. There are three parts to a well-rounded ICA:

  • Demographics – These are the basic details like your client’s age, household income, gender, where they live, their relationship status, and any major birthdays or anniversaries.
  • Psychographics – This is how your ideal clients behave in the world. It covers their interests and lifestyle preferences and can include things like magazines, hobbies, and lifestyle choices, such as how they dress or decorate their homes. Psychographics are especially useful for ad targeting online.
  • The Emotional Map – Your ICA’s emotional map includes their hopes, dreams, challenges, and fears for their event. This is not what you think they should be, but what your ICA really feels about the event. It takes the guesswork out of relating to your potential client. You are there with them, in step and familiar, from the moment they see your advertising.

Once you know who your audience is, you can craft the right language and images, and use the right platforms to reach them. Your message will be on point, salient, and exciting.

Your ICA Is Really Out There

Thanks to the phenomenal tracking and info gathering available on the web, you can really know where your ideal client spends time online, what she/he wants, what they say and do, and where to reach them.

To do this, look for your ideal client “in the wild.” Find their natural internet and media environment. This is where they hang out and it’s where they truly express themselves. Tools like Google Analytics referral reports can point you in the exact direction. Once you know who you’re looking for, knowing where to find them is key – and you can!

Your ICA Is Always Fresh

Your ICA might be an avatar—a construct built around the person you most want to seek your services—but s/he represents very real potential clients starting their search for services like yours for the first time.

For those of you who are creating your initial ICA to revamp your advertising, you’ll be discovering a new avenue to guide your marketing.

But for those of you who already have worked up an ICA and are seeing a slump in revenue and outreach, it’s time to reassess what language your ICA uses, what they want, what new hopes and fears they might have, and what platforms they might be using now.

The beauty of an ICA for your marketing is how genuine and immediate they are.

In short, if your marketing needs a refresh and a boost, or maybe even a complete overhaul, your best and most essential tactic is to target your right audience, on the right platforms, with the right message. It won’t be a guess if you use your ICA as your guide.


Christie Osborne is the owner of Mountainside Media, a company that helps event industry professionals brands develop scalable marketing strategies that bring in more inquiries and leads. Christie is a national educator with recent speaking engagements at NACE Experience, WIPA, and the ABC Conference.

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Christie Osborne is the owner of Mountainside Media, a company that helps event industry professionals brands develop scalable marketing strategies that bring in more inquiries and leads. Christie is a national educator who recently presented at NACE Experience in both 2017 and 2018.

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