Profiling Prospects is Critical to New Business

ad agency target audience

Profiling ensures you’re deploying your time, energy and resources on high probability targets.

The advertising industry has dramatically changed over the past five years. This change has had a tremendous impact on lead generation and prospecting. The power has shifted to decision-makers due to the vast amount of information found online.

Instead of chasing new business, it is now more important to be found by your best prospects.

But, identifying those prospects has been a major challenge for small to midsize agencies. This inability to define their prospects has many agencies floundering when it comes to lead generation.

Agencies must have a better understanding of their target audience. This is a starting point for developing a successful new business program.

When you ask most agency owners who their target audience is, they usually respond by saying something like, C-level execs of midsize companies, with an annual budget of …”.  But, this type of information doesn’t provide what you need to really reach your prospects.

Creating a useful customer profile, or persona, will help you to identify and acquire a better understanding of your target market. It can become a guide for reaching your premium prospects.

You can begin this process through a ‘persona exercise’. The goal here is to build a clear picture of this person that everyone can recognize. You can keep this simple or make it as comprehensive as needed.

Here’s a template to help develop your agency’s prospective client profiles:

1. Give your targets an identify

A good place to start is to give your personas a name that match up with their distinct and identifiable personalities. You should also use stock photography to help visualize them.

Here’s an excellent example, the RAIN Group developed the following 8 Buyer Personas to help sales people recognize different buying styles and preferences, and learn the skills to facilitate success with each of the personas:

  • Decisive Danielle is directive. She solves problems in a decisive, active, and assertive manner. She’s proactive, results driven, and wants to win.
  • Collaborative Claire likes to solve problems with other people. She’s deliberative, tactful, diplomatic, and adaptable.
  • Relationship Renee is interactive. Social interaction and engagement are important to her. She’s enthusiastic, a creative problem solver, a team player, and (of course) a relationship-builder.
  • Skeptical Steve is introspective. He’s a reserved critical thinker. He won’t embellish and doesn’t want you to do so either.
  • Gradual Greg embodies (and prefers) stability and security. He’s a dependable team player. He is patient, empathetic, and service- oriented. He sees himself as the steward of his organization. Boat rocking is not his thing.
  • Warp 9 Walt wants it done yesterday. Doesn’t matter what “it” is. Walt’s a change agent. He has a strong sense of urgency, makes decisions quickly, and often spontaneously. He’s open to taking risk.
  • Analytical Al prefers the way it’s been done in the past. Established methods, and data are important. It takes a lot of processing for Al to take a leap of faith. He follows rules, procedures, and established standards.
  • Innovator Irene could care less when it comes to rules, procedures and how things were done before. Innovator Irene develops ideas and strategies independent of rules. She’s informal and solves problems creatively.

2. Gather demographic information

  • Where do they live?
  • How old are they?
  • What is their gender?
  • What is their income?
  • What is their marital status?
  • Do they have children?
  • How well educated are they?
  • What is their job and what industry?
  • Is this person a decision maker or influencer?

3. Know their attitudes, behaviour and motivations

  • How do they spend their free time?
  • What TV shows do they watch?
  • What are their hobbies?
  • What special events do they attend?
  • What types of entertainment do they enjoy?
  • What kind of car do they drive?
  • What are their values?

4. Understand their challenges, goals and objectives

What are the questions, concerns and challenges that are top-of-mind of your prospects?

There are plenty of online sources to help you identify the primary pain points and struggles of your target audience. For instance, in a recent IBM study of more than 1,700 chief marketing officers, there are four key challenges that CMOs everywhere are confronting:

  • The explosion of data – 90% of the world’s data today has been created in the last two years alone.
  • The rise of social media – 56% of CMOs view social media as a key engagement channel.
  • Channel and device choices – The growing number of new marketing channels and devices, from smartphones to tablets, is quickly becoming a priority for CMOs.
  • Shifting demographics – New global markets and the influx of younger generations with different patterns of information access and consumption, are changing the face of the marketplace.

5.  Know where to find your prospects and how they will find you

  • What services do they look for?
  • What search terms do they use?
  • What websites to they frequent?
  • What blogs do they read?
  • What are their industry publications?
  • What industry events do they attend?
  • What associations are they affiliated with?
  • What type of content do they find appealing and helpful?
  • What social media networks do they prefer?

Please let me know if you have questions or any additions to this list.

photo credit: via photopin cc

About Michael Gass

Consultant | Trainer | Author | Speaker

Since 2007, he has been pioneering the use of social media, inbound and content marketing strategies specifically for agency new business.

He is the founder of Fuel Lines Business Development, LLC, a firm which provides business development training and consulting services to advertising, digital, media and PR agencies.

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