How to define and market to your target market with Isabel Smith
If you’ve ever read anything I have written, heard me speak at any event or met me (even in passing) you will know that I bang on about target market a lot! When it comes to marketing, I am a firm believer in knowing exactly who it is you want to reach. After all, what is the point in getting yourself a four page spread in a national magazine or an advert on local radio if your brides are reading the local papers and turning to Twitter instead of tuning their radios? In my book, any marketing activity that isn’t 100% targeted to the brides you want, is a complete waste of time, money and effort.
So, before you write your marketing strategy, think about the types of brides your venue will attract. The best place to start is by figuring out what your clients are likely to spend on their wedding as a whole. This sounds difficult but actually, taking your fees and extrapolating the rest of the budget from there is pretty simple; most couples spend 50% of their total wedding budget on their venue (excluding guest accommodation), food and beverage. For marquee events it is often more like 60%.
Let’s say you charge £2,500 for your premises, your main marquee company charges around £4,500 for a mid-range marquee for 100 or so people, and your main caterer charges a total of £6,500 for their services for a similar number of guests. You get a total of £13,500. On that basis, your clients will be spending around £25,000 to £27,500 on their weddings. With me so far? This is very helpful information for getting to know your client base, but also for checking your offering against your competitors and for making sure your partner suppliers are in a similar price band.
Another helpful rule of thumb is that most couples spend around half of their annual household income on their weddings. So, a couple spending £25,000 on their wedding are likely to be earning around £25,000 each per year. With this information to hand, profiling your ideal client gets really interesting!
Think about the couples who, within your geographical area of operating, might be earning that figure. Are your target market bankers, CEOs and high net worth couples? Or perhaps teachers, nurses and other professionals? Or does your pricing appeal more to unskilled or minimum wage workers? It really doesn’t matter who your target market is (we will take anyone’s money after all!), it is just important that you know so that you can market effectively.
From here, you can get as detailed as you might like with your profiling. The more thorough the better:
- How old are they?
- What do they look like?
- Do they have children?
- Where do they work?
- Where do they live? (locally or abroad?)
- Do they rent or own?
- Where do they do their food shop (Waitrose versus Lidl)?
- What do they spend their disposable income on? Is it all about luxury holidays and private school fees or is a ‘dine in for two’ meal more of a treat?
I know. It seems crazy to spend time finding the answers to so many personal questions since each client is so different, but don’t hold back. The better you know your clients, the easier it is to answer the key questions which will tell you how and where to market to them:
Q: What are they looking for in their wedding?
A: If they are design-led and the type to endlessly search blogs/Pinterest for inspiration, focus your marketing on visuals (Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook etc.)
A: If they are more into food or entertainment or something else, advice-based PR will serve you well.
Q: What sort of suppliers might they want to work with?
A: Make sure you have those suppliers on your PSL. How do they market? Seek some inspiration there.
Q: Who is paying for the wedding?
A: If Mum and Dad are likely to be big financial contributors to the wedding then they will have a lot of say in the planning. More traditional marketing aimed at them might pay off (eg. local radio/newspaper, parish magazine etc.)
Q: Which wedding magazines do they read?
A: ‘Brides’ and ‘Wedding Ideas’ magazines have very different audiences. Make sure your PR efforts are aimed at the right media outlets.
Q: Are they social media users?
A: Facebook is popular with older couples (30+) but less and less relevant to a younger audience.
Do you see? It is a bit of a process but it is so utterly essential in ensuring that your marketing (and indeed your product offering and service level) is effective and appropriate.
Don’t panic if you have more than one key target market – most venues will do. For example, it may be that your venue does well for younger couples wanting outdoor festival weddings because of your wide open spaces and flexibility, but perhaps you also have a smaller, more manicured/less child friendly garden which might appeal to the ‘second time around’ market. You will want to be selling to both audiences so you might need to undertake a wider variety of marketing activities. Just make sure that the ‘awesome festival party’ photos make it to Instagram and the ‘elegant dinner party’ photos make it to the local glossy magazine. You see – the right content in the right place for the right client.
Try and focus on no more than your top three ideal clients, any more and you might as well be marketing to everyone! Essentially, you should have your top target market clients in mind every single time you do anything marketing related. If you struggle to keep them in the forefront of your planning, there is some great advice I was once told by true marketing expert Tamsin Fox-Davis (currently employed by epic company www.hibob.com): Flick through a few wedding magazines and find a photo of a couple (a real one or models) that represents your target market (or one photo for each market) and display these around your work space. You may think it sounds a tad childish but checking in with a visual prompt like this each and every time you tweet, post an image or draft a press release really does ensure your marketing is razor sharp.
Now you really know who you’re trying to reach and have thought through where to reach them. All you have to do now is make sure that you market in such a way as to appeal to them. Is that link really of interest to your target market? Are you getting the tone right for your audience?
All in all, it sounds pretty complicated but actually, if you do it right in the first place and clearly define your target market, it becomes second nature to think about your perfect client before undertaking any marketing activity.
About the Author
Isabel Smith has 10 years in the wedding industry behind her as one of the UK’s top wedding planners and business consultants to venues and other suppliers. Isabel’s expertise spans marketing, sales and operations as she helps new vendors launch as well as assisting established businesses should they find their sales fallings. www.isabelsmithconsulting.co.uk / www.isabelsmithweddings.co.uk