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Are you talkin’ to me?

We all know this classic Robert Di Niro line from “Taxi Driver.” What many marketers overlook is how this line points to the first step in analyzing results that aren’t up to par.

Sales dropping? It must be price. Members not renewing? It must be the value proposition. Response rate lower than expected? It must be the sales vehicle.

Maybe, and maybe not. Before you jump to conclusions like price or message delivery method, step back and look at who you’re talking to. The answer is often as basic as making sure you’re addressing the proper audience.

Audience is key. Marketing 101 students learn about Segmenting, Targeting and Positioning, and following these steps gives a marketer the tools to shape and sharpen a message. But, without knowing who your audience is, there is no market to segment, no “best fit” customer to target and no person for whom to position an offering.

You may have a perfect product or service, one that will revolutionize your industry or will make positive changes in people’s lives. But, if you don’t know who is likely to buy that product, or who will benefit from that service, your message will just whistle in the wind.

Here’s how focusing on the audience helped The Ritterbusch Group client Association of Nutrition and Foodservice Professionals develop a strategy for growing its membership base.

“Travis Bickle / Robert De Niro / Taxi Driver” flickr photo by MEDIODESCOCIDO shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license