Optimize My Brand

Strategy, tactics, ideas and tips from Creative Company.

Essential marketing questions: No. 5 of 5

Your target audience has plenty of options when they’re deciding to buy or not. This series of essential marketing questions will help you focus your marketing for today’s environment, today’s target audiences, and how they choose.

We’re not addressing marketing process. Or technology options. Or even flow and sequence of messages. Yet the answers to these questions will transform your marketing and branding results.

Essential marketing question No. 5 …

target audience easy to choose

 We are buried in choices every day

Wouldn’t it be nice if it was as simple as the picture? Just one choice. No others. No options. No variations. For today’s target audiences that’s not the way it is.


I’m sure you’ve read about the overwhelm we all experience … so much information, so many ads, so many expectations. We are time-starved and attention-deficit. The world is glance and grab and sound bites. Beware:

May 22, 2013 — A full 90% of all the data in the world has been generated over the last two years.

Information overload is growing exponentially. We’re all dealing with the daily firehose of information … how do you help your audiences choose what you have to offer? Should you give them more information?

Hmmm … maybe not.

Too many options means people won’t choose

Studies have shown that too many choices makes it hard to choose. And … when an organization helps instead of sells … provides resources that helps target audiences understand, learn more and make a choice … sales increase. That’s because today’s target audiences, on average, use more than 16 different sources of information before they contact a company.

There are “triggers” for your category and your target audiences, specific actions or contacts that will move audiences forward in their decision path. What situation, message or communication has generated positive response?

  • For some companies and products a demo works best.
  • For colleges a campus visit is a game changer.
  • The right package design drives an in-store purchase.
  • An online video presentation helps answer frequently asked questions.

Where do your audiences respond? It might be at the end of a series of actions (the sales funnel) or points of choice … beginning on your website, through downloads, emails, social media, a webinar and a conversation. (That’s the path for inbound marketing.)

The focus for today’s short-attention-span, technology-driven target audiences is: Bright. Short. Quick. Easy. At a glance. Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.

When there are fewer choices, it’s easier to choose (limit options to 3 whenever possible).

When there’s an obvious next step (like a bold call to action button on a web page) more people will take that step.

Don’t forget the brand

target audiences brand choiceWe choose emotionally more than logically. We choose with our eyes.

What stands out? What’s memorable and recognizable? What does the brand stand for? What ideas does it inspire? What memories does it trigger?

A great brand is visual and verbal.

  • The visual system is distinctive and recognizable.
  • The color palette enhances the brand and stands out.
  • The meaning and look of the logo is supported in all touch points.
  • The message is clear.
  • The experience is consistent.
  • It’s quickly apparent “what’s in it for me?” from the target audiences’ perspective.

And … a great brand holds a position in the mind of the target audience. It elevates perceptions beyond price comparisons or a feature by feature match. It has meaning beyond function. It has value beyond price. That’s why it helps people choose.

Got it? Keep it simple and direct. Establish who you are at a glance and why your target audiences should care. Use color and visuals to emphasize quick and easy. Build a context around your brand that lifts you above the chaos and clearly separates what you offer from the other choices. Build a great brand that’s visual and verbal.

Review all 5 essential marketing questions:

1. If someone is looking for what you offer, where are they looking?

2. If they find you, what will they see? 

3. Will you stand out in 3?

4. Can they quickly see “what’s in it for me?”

5. Is it easy to choose? (this post)

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About the author

Jennifer Larsen Morrow

Jennifer's four decades of work in the industry, starting as a designer and adding marketing, copywriting and digital marketing, has generated response for clients since 1978.

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