Marketing Mindset: Know Your Audience

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Marketing. Even if you work in marketing every day, it can be difficult to define.  When people think of marketing, they might think of coupons, radio ads, social media, sales, emails or a whole host of other things, but it comes down to this: Marketing is anything you do to get your customers interested in something.  

Advertising in a magazine or newspaper? Marketing.

Posting pictures to social media when the delphinium comes into bloom? Marketing. 

Donating a truck full of shrubs and perennials to a local community center and taking your team over to plant everything? Marketing. 

Placing a shipping container you bought for a steal next to the highway with a floral mural your daughter painted and your logo loud and proud in the center? Yep, still marketing. 

There are a million and one ways to market a business, but where do you start? How do you know you are using the right strategies? What does a successful marketing plan look like? Well, you can’t get anywhere until you Know Your Audience

The more you know your audience, the more powerful your marketing will be. On the other hand, if you don’t know your audience, you won’t know what strategies to choose or what messages they will react to.  Once you figure out who your audience is, what they are attracted to, and how to engage them, you have the foundations for a solid marketing plan. So how do you start?

Research – Researching can be as simple as asking a customer a quick question at the register or as in-depth as setting up a series of quantitative surveys. Ask questions to figure out who your customers are: their personality traits, where they live and work, their age, their interest and values, their opinions, and more.  Knowing these demographics will help you focus your messaging and optimize your marketing budget. 

You may be thinking, “Oh, I’ve lived and worked in this community for 50+ years.  I already know my audience inside and out, so I don’t need to do any research.”  Good for you, however, be cautious in making assumptions. You are starting from a great position, but it’s always good to confirm – particularly in today’s world of fast-paced change. In almost every case, when a company surveys its customers for the first time, they find something new that was an ultimately meaningful part of their marketing plan. Research can be the difference between an average marketing plan and one that is extremely effective. 

So, after you’ve done your research, what’s next? 

Define Your Target Market– Too often, when people are asked what their target market is, their answer is “Everyone who can buy my product”.  That is not a target market. No one can be all things to all people, and it’s the same with a business.  It’s important to look at your current customers, your competitors’ customers, and utilize the research you just did to define your target market so that you can create meaningful messages that resonate with your customer, capitalize on your strengths, and lets you focus your marketing dollar.   

Create Personal Relationships. Personal relationships with customers can make or break your business, especially in horticulture.  Interact with them on social media, volunteer in the community, meet them at their business, or just take the time to thoroughly go over a new varieties’ growth requirements. Getting to know your customers on an individual basis opens up conversations, makes the customer feel valued, creates loyalty to your business and your brand, and ultimately increases sales. Traditionally, horticultural businesses do this very well because their people are passionate about the industry. 

Creating an impactful marketing plan can look like a daunting task, however getting to know your audience gives you a solid foundation to build the rest of your plan upon. Ultimately, knowing your audience will let you figure out what marketing strategies will have the greatest return on your marketing dollar and be the most impactful to your customers. 

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