I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in meetings with clients in which they’ve told me their number one objective is to educate the public about their product or service. They believe once their audience knows about them, they’ll definitely succeed in the marketplace, and they often have valid reasons why (such as lower prices, better customer service, etc).
However, social and behavioral science has taught us that often, education isn’t enough. There are many other variables that affect peoples behavior. Examples include:
- Cost vs. Rewards: Don’t assume you know their personal costs versus their personal rewards
- Social Influence: What are those around them doing?
So when developing your marketing strategy, you can’t rely on education alone. I’m not saying it isn’t important, but you don’t want your plan to end there.
Research your target audience to see what might stand in the way of their choice to buy, even if they were educated about the many benefits of your product or service. For example, your service might be cheaper, but the location is too far away. This is something you might not find out unless you talk to the people you’re targeting (and an example of how your idea of cost vs. rewards might differ from that of your target audience).
Also remember to use your research in your outreach. Sure, you want to educate your target audience about your product or service, but if at the same time you can speak to potential barriers you discovered during your research, it makes you that much more effective at motivating them to elaborate on the issue further.
So the next time you’re thinking about marketing your product or service to your target audience, think beyond just educating them. Do your research and find out how what you make fits within their lives, and include that in your outreach as well.