Stage 2: Decide on target communications channels

What papers do your target customers read? Do they currently book their holidays through a high street tour operator, a niche tour operator or as a dynamic package on the internet? Is there a way I can identify a profile of these customers, for example do they tend to live in certain locations and be of a typical age? You need to ask as many real target customers these questions as you can and sketch out your best guess.

How do I get a presence in the target customers communications channels?

  • PR: Can you write or do something that a journalist will want to write about. Analyse the current target publications and decide on the themes they are currently interested in. If the environment is a theme, can you provide the material or event for a journalist to write about your business or you in the context of the environment?
  • Networking: Do you know your first customers? Do you know the people who know your first customers? Working through that can be a great way of marketing and getting feedback on the proposition. If you are selling to other businesses, then networking is a great way to meet people and talk about what you do. If the face to face networking is too daunting try online networking first
  • Direct Marketing: There is an industry out there who specialise in sending a single letter or a single email to a specific customer. It’s cheap to do at scale but the response rates tend to be low, often making it very expensive to get bookings. It is almost certainly more useful for customers you have done business with in the past. The other massive opportunity is internet search, so getting interest from people searching on Google for your proposition. If you have a web site then you can get a ready supply of leads, some you pay for (pay per click), some is free (natural search). It’s a big topic, and one to read about as you can get small amounts of leads for very specific targeted customers
  • Broadcast Marketing (sending one message to many people, for example, a magazine advert): If there are target customer publications then you can buy some ad space. Likely to be expensive for all but the most niche publication

In the example, the target customer is a 30 year old man who used to surf, but cannot surf now because of family commitments while he is on vacation. He may still read surf magazines or go into surf shops. He may use the internet to arrange family based holidays. He is highly likely to read the main press. I would use the surfing fathers I know to check my thinking.