Stop Putting The Cart Before The Horse

I’ve previously written that marketers often commit the sin of putting the cart before the horse. Meaning, they design or write content before fully understanding the purpose and audience. And then wonder why their marketing campaigns fail.

Think about it: If you’re unable to engage and convince your audience to do something (buy, donate, volunteer, request information, etc.) then your marketing isn’t working.

To add to the challenge, your audience probably isn’t identical. Rather, it will consist of different audience types having various needs and trigger points.

Marketers who try to craft a one-size-fits-all message to appeal to all audiences will likely miss a key audience type or, worse, find that their watered-down message doesn’t resonate with anyone.

To succeed, you need to develop what marketing guru David Meerman Scott refers to as buyer personas.

In my current project, I am helping the YMCA of Central Virginia market a charity bicycling event that features a choice of 35, 65 (Metric) and 100 (Century) miles routes. I describe how we developed rider personas in a previous post.

Clearly, the person considering the 35 mile loop will respond to a different appeal than the rider who will choose the Century. That includes words and phrases as well as communication media.

Compare the introductory content for the 35 ande 100 miles rides:

Looking for a challenge?

Then join your friends and fellow cyclists on a 35-mile tour over rolling hills and along meandering back roads.
Enjoy breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and the tranquility of cool, running streams as you pedal at your own pace on safe and lightly-travelled roads.

Don’t worry, we’ve thought of everything! Highly visible route directions. Fully-stocked rest stops with bathrooms. Mechanical help. Event staff driving the route to check on you. Even perfect weather. (Okay, we can’t guarantee that!)


9000 feet of climbing. Technical descents. Long stretches of rollers. Need we say more?

You’ll earn every mile along the epic 100-mile Storming of Thunder Ridge route.

We’ve got you covered with an awesome, well-marked course and well-stocked rest stops.

See the difference when content is designed for each audience type?

Are you developing buyer personas? Tell me about your experiences and how it’s working in the comment section below.

Thanks for reading!

(Image: two2miles)



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