I am pondering whether to tell you that I am sitting in the Florida Keys, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, as Pittsburgh endures another mid-winter northerner.
I am not telling you this to be sadistic, but because the Florida Keys Tourism Board taught me a valuable marketing lesson that I must share. The only reason Ive come to Florida recently is to visit my parents, who live here six months of the year, or because work brings me here.
I would never choose to come here for pleasures sake ... until now. My impression is that it is crowded, nobody knows how to drive, and the weather is unpredictable. So why go to Florida?
It was a 60-second commercial on television four months ago that convinced me that marketing works. It was a spoof of my stereotype of the Sunshine State.
The camera shot was from behind a car in Miami Beach. All you saw were two hands on the wheel and the car gliding along a four-lane road at about 15 miles per hour. The camera cut to Daytona Beach, where a teen-ager sitting atop a van toasted the camera with a beer as she turned away to vomit.
The caption (paraphrasing): The Florida Keys ... Unlike what you would expect in the rest of the state. It was funny, and it caught my attention and, ultimately, my pocketbook.
That same day, the Florida Keys Tourism Board had another, shorter ad. It showed a man sitting in a hole he had dug on the beach as if he were building sand castles. His wife and children played in the surf. He waved, then turned his attention to his building.
The camera pans behind him and displays a laptop and telephone in the hole. The caption: Nobody needs to know youre still open for business ... the Florida Keys.
It doesnt sound like a marketing coup, but I realized what the tourism board had done. Its something we call the new age of marketing. No longer can we look at a one-size-fits-all marketing approach in our businesses. As these ads showed, we must consider that there are four distinct markets.
If your advertising, your businesss physical environment, and every marketing effort dont appeal to every one of these styles either individually or as a group you are losing out on potential customers.
I have developed nicknames for the four groups of potential clients. Consider the following:
Fred wants just the facts. This potential customer simply wants to know the benefit of doing business with you or of using your product or service. He cant be bothered with the details.
Remember the man building sand castles? This appeals to Factoid Fred because he can get away with his family and still be in touch when he needs to be. When you market to Fred, keep it short and to the point.
Entertain Me Edna
Edna is the prospect to whom most sales organizations appeal. She likes fun anyway you can package it. The spoof of the Florida stereotype appeals to all of your Entertain Me Ednas because of its lighthearted approach.
As with Factoid Fred, dont bother Edna with details ... not because she cant be bothered, but because she is less organized and more likely to forget. Give Edna a cute 800 number that spells out something. Let her know you will take care of the details.
Even Steven likes to know that everything will go smoothly in using what you are offering. He is a team player in his work environment and translates team to mean family. When marketing to Steven, consider his family values, as well as how your solution will help the team/organization.
Steven requires more details than the first two and an up-front plan if things should go wrong. Steven loves 1-800-HELP lines that are available 24 hours and money-back guarantees. Ensure him that things will go evenly.
She is the one most marketing minds seem to ignore. Doris is so unlike you that you that you tend to isolate her. Detail Doris needs just that details.
Like Factoid Fred, she is a no-bull, get-down-to-business type. But unlike Fred, she requires information overload. One of the most effective means of targeting her would be that final ad I observed on that cold November day.
The entire commercial simply showed a spreadsheet divided in two. On one side were the pros of taking a vacation to the Florida Keys, on the other, the cons. The camera then pulled back to show a woman in her office with her walls papered in graphs, charts and spreadsheets, all relating to the possibility of indulging in a Florida Keys vacation.
The voice-over: All the facts point toward the Florida Keys for your next family vacation. This hits at the very persona of Detail Doris.
I realize this is a superficial look at the four segments of our marketing population, but if I can get you to rethink your marketing focus for 2000, I will have achieved one of my New Years resolutions.
In the meantime ... Pass me another pina colada.
A certified speaking professional, Jeff Tobe thrives on helping businesses develop outside-the-lines marketing approaches to set them apart from the competition and build brand awareness. Reach him at (412) 373-6592 or visit www.jefftobe.com.