The consumer isn’t a moron, she is my Wife!

David Ogilvy said that and he was spot on.

Brands are for real people.

What he meant was, that when we talk about generalities like “ABC1s, deciles, audience clusters” it’s not that, it’s real people like, Ogilvy’s wife.

They’re not morons, they’re actually you! We even hate the word ‘consumers’, we like the word ‘customers’.

Marketing is about starting with the customer. That’s the people you think are most likely to buy.

Advertising is about trying to convince them to buy, because you have a product that suits them. Something they want.

You must start and identify a need or a trend you see as an opportunity. A market gap not currently being fulfilled or, you can create a whole new one.

Make the brand better by implementing a strategy that provides value but fundamentally a value for those main target customers you’ve identified.

A Brand is by definition, something people will pay more for.

That’s a critical definition.

What it means is that for someone to pay more for it, it has to have value to them. A value they can trust, they can believe.

So, when you’re thinking of selling and clearly of advertising, you have to fully understand whom you’re talking to, the people most likely to buy – by name!

And we mean literally, by name. This is an old Advertising trick – but it works.

It’s not good enough to focus your brand or service on ‘consumers’ but rather to understand them personally. You need to understand this first.

So, if we are selling, we need to be clear exactly to whom we are selling to. Only when you know the customer, will you know what they want.

If you’re trying to identify that market gap, you must think about what those exact customers want, but you must think, real customers.

A good place to start is that we all have families or friends and you need to be clear about them (forget your own likes and experiences for a minute) and understand them. What do they want from your brand that they don’t currently have from another? And how can you tweak your advertising to appeal to them and their attitudes? And by the way, you don’t have to be in that customer sector yourself.

Clear thinkers understand all consumers because they work at it.

David Ogilvy put it, “Try to appeal to everyone, and you will end up appealing to no one.”

So fundamentally, you must think about what product you have and who is most likely to possibly buy it? And why.

For now, let’s say you’re targeting 24-year-olds? Or you want to look at the ‘20 something’ market because you think there is there a market opportunity there – you think there’s an opportunity in that age group to buy your product that it’s not currently tapping into. Okay.

Think of someone you know who is about that age. Your sister, your daughter, your neighbour and think by name.

Get real people into your head.

Think say, ‘Sarah’ 26, someone you might know.

Now ask yourself, what’s Sarah’s attitude to society? To religion, to sex, to smoking, to digital, to drugs, to children, to politics.

What’s her attitude to money? Spender/Saver? likes a night out (How often? When? Where? With whom?)

What’s her attitude to relationships? Married soon? married later/never? hates dating?

What’s her Media choices? What Social Media does she likely use and when? Instagram at night?

What Radio stations does Sarah listen to, or what TV programmes does she watch?

What’s her day like? Think about Sarah from when she wakes, dresses, drives to work, and right throughout the day because then you’ll then see the best media opportunity when best you can talk to her.

How you can interrupt her day but with the least (and therefore the most opportune) interruption.

You want to reach out to ‘Sarah’ when she’s most receptive and not when she’ll find your advertising interruptingly annoying. Not when her kids are screaming in the car’s back seat as she brings them from one school to another in the early morning rush hour commute! Do you think she wants to hear about how to get her shirts cleaner then? Or hey, isn’t it time your dishes got sparkling clean? Not a chance, but Advertisers do it all the time.

Don’t speak to people when they don’t want to be spoken to. Advertising works best when people are most receptive to it in their lives.

So, get into Sarah’s head as a person.

Literally think what she does from when she awakens. Showers, Dresses, Eat breakfast? If so what? What car she drives to where and for how long? Radio on or off? Parks where? Works where? What does she work at? Does she look a media during the day?

When would she be most receptive to your messaging? On her way to work? On her way home? In the evening?

And we don’t mean the media opportunities ‘daypart’ as they call it, rather we mean when she is more likely to be in the mood to act on your message.

When is Sarah most receptive to your Advertising? Exactly what time of day and what day of the week. Is she thinking grocery shopping on a Monday or a Friday? What are her needs? What can you do for her that you think she needs? When should your Advertising reach out to her?

And then think of 10 or 50 people/Sarah’s. The more people you work through, the clearer your thinking will be.

You need to understand the person you’re building your brand for, very, very clearly because it will affect your brand name, your brand identity (design), advertising style and perhaps, your product innovation, your ingredients. And don’t shoehorn your brand in either, but rather, hear Sarah’s objections in your own head and understand her, because it will open your eyes as to how to tweak what you’re doing.

Always ask why? And why not?

It’s a dramatic old advertising trick to think about real people that really helps you get inside the customer and to understand them. And stop referring to Sarah as a ‘cluster’ or a ‘demographic’. She’s not; she’s a real person whose purchase you will forever value. Sarah is not a moron.

Tom Fishburne on Target Marketing: “A target market is not the same as anyone who could conceivably buy you product. It’s not a catch-all classification. A target market is deliberately exclusive — that’s what gives it teeth. It is what compels consumers to identify with your brand. It is what gives you insight to speak to them so clearly.”