As I talk to people about marketing, I hear a variety of different ideas as to what marketing they do and why. Some people have their target market defined and are getting in front of them in creative ways, and some are doing what their buddy suggested and it doesn’t work that well, but it’s comfortable.

best-marketing-mediumPeople always ask me what’s the best medium to use for marketing. Should I do billboards? Should I produce a TV commercial or a radio spot? Does direct mail still work? Too many people today are asking the wrong questions and wondering why they’re frustrated with marketing.

You have to start any marketing campaign by asking: “Who is my best client?” Are they a man or woman; young or old; consumer or business; owner or renter; fat or thin; high, middle, or low income…who are they, really? Then, “What do those people do, where do they go, who do they associate with?” If you’re a restaurant, “everyone” isn’t your target market just because everyone eats. If you’re a sushi restaurant, you have a different crowd then a chain pancake house, and different still than a supper club.

Once you’ve answered that, you need to know: “Why do they buy from me?” Is it the atmosphere; the knowledge of the staff; the quality of the product; the ease of purchasing; the time your product saves? What is your competitive advantage or X-factor?

Only after you’ve answered that question can you define the best medium to use. It doesn’t stop there, because then you have to know what they want and when they want it.

So start at the beginning, define your customer, find some creative, smart ways to get your message to them and your frustration with marketing will melt away.