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Effective Marketers Sell to Customers on Both the Product and the Brand Each perspective fills a different need for your market.

By Jim Joseph

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I always say that a marketer's job is never done. There's no way that it could ever be done, if you think about it.

Keeping up with your target market alone is a full-time job, and it never ends. As marketers we need to stay on the pulse of the attitudes and behaviors of our target market, yet those very attitudes and behaviors are constantly in flux. Marketing is a never-ending job to just keep up with your customers.

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But we need to do more than just "keep up," we actually need to understand them!

So in this series on dissecting the difference between a product and a brand, we are going to double the work when it comes to targeting. We are going to look at targeting times two. We are going to look at targeting from a product perspective, and then from a brand perspective. Because in this day of interactive, social marketing, you have to do both jobs to really understand and engage with your target market.

From a product perspective

You have to know who your target audience is demographically and who in the population needs your product benefits. Demographics are the facts and figures about your target market that make them especially attracted to your product because of what it offers.

Demographics include sex, age, geography, income, education, etc. Demographics are the elements you need to know about your target audience to see if your product and its benefits make sense for them.

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From a brand perspective

You also need to know who your target audience is psychographically to know if your brand is as good of a match as your product. Psychographics are measures of how a target audience feels or behaves. While demographics are the facts and figures, psychographics are the emotions.

How a brand connects emotionally to a target market is largely built on the audience's psychographics -- how they feel and/or behave around a given topic, in this case a topic closely related to your brand.

It's important to look at your targeting both ways, demographically and psychographically, if you are going to be an effective marketer.

If I were to continue my Starbucks example from the first post in this series, demographics would provide information about the type of person who frequents a Starbucks store: average income, education level, geographic location and perhaps a mix of gender and ethnicity. All the factors a Starbucks marketer would need to understand to sell coffee.

Psychographic information, however, goes much deeper into how the Starbucks customer feels about community, socio-political issues, relationships and spending time during the week and on weekends. This information is vital to building the Starbucks brand, far beyond the coffee, as it directs how to interact with customers past just what a cup of caffeine can offer. It directs how to get them to fall in love with the brand.

Which is why, as a good marketer managing both products and brands, you need to look at targeting two ways. It's the two dimensions that allow you to fulfill on both sides of the targeting equation, and do a better job engaging with your customers as a result.

Related: Enchant Customers With the Story Behind Your Brand

Jim Joseph

Marketing Master - Author - Blogger - Dad

Jim Joseph is a commentator on the marketing industry. He is Global President of the marketing communications agency BCW, author of The Experience Effect series and an adjunct instructor at New York University.

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