One of the precepts of marketing, whether it’s formal or informal and regardless of how much we spend to do it (even if it’s free), is that it must connect with the intended audience. For marketing messages – as good or clever as they may be – to be seen by eyes that cannot use what we are offering (or heard by those ears) is a misplaced effort in attracting new business.
Marketing is not static. The way we release and publish our messages and our content (and the platforms or media we use) changes over time. While many people still rely on getting their news or advertisements in their daily newspaper, the majority of people do not and likely have not done so in recent memory. Does this mean that we don’t advertise in newspapers, magazines, yellow pages, and directories? The short answer is that these formats probably are not for us when we weigh the limited funds we have and the coverage we are trying to achieve. For some markets and demographics, they are still quite useful. For others, not at all or not so much.
The first thing we need to determine as aging in place professionals is where we want to publicize the services or products we offer – after first deciding exactly what those are (as narrowly as possible). People used to enjoy shopping in department stores because essentially everything they needed in non-perishables could be found under one roof – often located on several floors within a single building. It was the forerunner to the shopping mall only instead of having several specialty stores that one could visit, all of that business was contained in a single building requiring only one entry from the parking area or sidewalk.
Many people might think that they like working with generalists (whatever the field of endeavor) because they can ask a myriad of questions and likely get some response; however, they really are craving a very detailed, knowledgeable response to a very specific issue or question. The world today has very specialized professions. The days of the generalist are largely past. There still are some people who provide a general range or scope of services, but mostly, people specialize and become very good at a specific topic or level of experience.
This specialization, in turn, affects the marketing that we do because we no longer need to broadcast our message to a wide range of needs and abilities because we are focusing on a specific type of client or customer to work with us. Television and radio networks used to rely on appealing to the masses – everyone essentially. The traditional networks still do this with their new programming, but the rest of their programming is aimed at various demographics. Additionally, there is a cable network for just about any interest from fishing, shopping, do-it-yourself, cooking, mysteries, romance, religion, games, sports, and more. Radios have talk programming, sports, and music aimed at dozens of genres.
This provides a lesson for us on how we appeal to the marketplace. We can use radio, TV, and print media, but we have a choice over where we place our message. We can align what we want to promote with who is the most likely to see or hear that message. We can reach beyond the traditional media to take advantage of the internet and social media. We will need to have a website. Every business has one, and it is the first place anyone will look to determine if they like us and that we are a legitimate business. Then they will determine if they want to work with us.
While social media is quite popular, just having a profile on various sites may not help us reach, attract, or engage our preferred audience. People need to see us before our profile has any value so we need to on sites where potential clients and customers will see us. If they expect to see us on a particular platform and we are not there, we are missing a major opportunity. If we are on a site where our clients don’t expect us to be, don’t use to find services like we offer, or can’t find us, that is not a good use of our time and resources.
Not only do we need to be specific in the type of service we offer, the client we intend to serve, the scope of the work we are proficient at doing (including a typical price point), but we have to select advertising or marketing venues for us that are going to be seen by the people we want to work with and attract and just the world in general.