Reaching Your Customer Through Story, According To A Marketing Pro
Running the day to day of a business can be all-consuming but taking the time to step back and think about your marketing strategy can save you time and money down the road (while attracting more customers to your brand!). As part of our collaboration with Office Depot, Wesley Brinkhurst, VP Head of Marketing at Office Depot joined our Selfmade spring session to share some insights on how to hone in on your target audience (or audiences) and create a story tailored to them.
"One of my favorite things within marketing is the storytelling and the emotional connectivity, and really getting to the root of how your customers feel successful in their day-to-day lives, and what you are doing that can allow them to feel more successful," Brinkhurst told Selfmade students. Here are steps she outlined to help you get there.
Define Your Purpose. "Understanding your target audience layers back to who you are as a brand and what you want to stand for in the marketplace," said Brinkhurst. First step, level set on your brand position, your why. "This is that vision of the change that you want to see in the world."
Define Your Promise. How will you achieve that purpose? What are you promising to your customer? "Our promise is really to be that trusted platform that our customers rely on to start, manage, and grow their business," offered Brinkhurst as an example.
Define Your Brand Position. This is the what you are offering your customer at a high level. "Our target audience is really businesses of all sizes and all facets. Ultimately, it's our positioning to be an essential business partner that gives you the freedom to accomplish more," said Brinkhurst.
Create a Target Persona. Now that you're firm on your purpose, promise, and positioning, you can start to think about the person you are most trying to target. Office Depot, which has 28 million active customers, has identified six audience segments. If you're just starting out, you may just have one primary persona.
"Whether you call it a persona, which is a specific buying personality or, in some cases, if you're activating through certain digital channels, you may call it a micro segmentation," said Brinkhurst. "But this is the ability to tap in at a more granular level to identify a smaller group so you can more actively and appropriately engage." This is anywhere from demographics (age, race, gender if applicable) to their core values (their passions, emotional triggers) to how and what they consume (websites, apps, magazines, favorite brands, for example).
Wesley Brinkhurst, VP Head of Marketing at Office Depot
If you're short on marketing budget to pull in-depth data on your customer, you can get a lot of data from your social platforms. Run surveys, polls, ask questions directly in your feeds. "This is going to be critically important as you think about where you're going to place investments and where your marketing strategy is going to start to come to life," said Brinkhurst.
Create a Story. Once you have this profile of your target customer, you'll start to think about how to leverage it, making sure that this persona is at the heart of how you develop messaging and engagement strategies, said Brinkhurst. First, what will resonate most with this persona? "Do we need to talk about products? Is it an attribute of a product that's going to resonate or is it the experience that they're going to have? In my case, we like to tap into the outcomes that we're going to provide for our target audiences," said Brinkhurst. "Everyone has outcomes that they want to accomplish."
For Office Depot, those outcomes include everyone's desire to be more productive, to want to drive efficiency in their day to day, to want to grow their business. "So how do you position yourself and create these points of engagement; these moments in your relationship where you're demonstrating as a business and as a brand that you can create that outcome for your customers, which is critically important."
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Head to Office Depot's Selfmade page to check out even more amazing business resources (and discounts!) to help you accomplish more on your entrepreneurial journey. Want to join the next Selfmade cohort this summer? Check out all of the scholarship details right here.
Theresa Gonzalez is a content creator based in San Francisco and the author of Sunday Sews. She's a lover of all things design and spends most of her days momming her little one Matilda.