How Do I Find My Audience?

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Such runs a well-known philosophical question that addresses the need to be heard. Essentially, what good is a message if there is no one there to receive it?

This raises the issue of audience. Specifically, how do you identify, target, and address yours so that they’ll not only hear your call to action but heed it?

First, Know Thyself

There’s no way you’ll know your audience until you understand not only what you’re offering, but the person who is offering it – you. Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you continue to suss this out:

  • What is my core competency? How does this distinguish me from the competition?
  • What personal characteristics set me aside from my competitors?
  • What difficulties have I overcome in the name of strengthening myself personally and professionally?
  • What are my short- and long-term goals for my business? Am I someone with whom a client can grow long-term?

What Do You Provide?

Yes, this is a question about the basics of your business, but at heart it’s something more. What lies at the core of what you provide? For example, if you’re a book editor, you’re offering insight on theme, structure, and other novelistic elements – but really what you’re providing is guidance and support for emerging writers of all types. Some guiding thoughts here:

  • In five words or less, describe not what you do but what your business is.
  • Using this concept as a base, write a paragraph about what you expect your client to gain from working with you – today, in six months, and in two years.
  • How does your core concept address your potential clients’ needs?
  • Name three major advantages of choosing your services over the competition. Bonus points: name one disadvantage and how you plan to address it in the coming months/years.

Who Is Your Audience?

Don’t fool yourself: if you’re trying to talk to everyone, you’re addressing no one. Playing the numbers may work for the gawky high-school senior asking everyone who passes by to be his prom date, but that’s less effective for a professional seeking to build a solid reputation and a strong clientele. One method for honing down your target audience:

  • With your core concept in mind, write down five types of people who will benefit from your services. The more specific the better – for example, mothers living in apartments or Millennial pet owners.
  • For each type of potential client, list two social-media sites they are likely to frequent.
  • Using this list, identify a list of 2-4 major social media sites that you are most likely to use effectively.
  • Repeat this process, this time using more traditional means of contact (phone, direct mail, email) to broaden your options for targeting clientele.

Next step: creating the right content, which is the subject of our next blog post. Stay tuned.


How Do You Differentiate?

We founded On the Cusp because we believe that marketing can – and should – be done differently. It’s one thing to say it, though, and another to actively execute it.

So how does one stand out in a crowded, competitive climate? Here’s a quick step-by-step look at getting yourself noticed.

First, understand who you are at your core. We’re talking in terms of business identity here, but that also translates to who you are as a professional and a human being. A few questions to ask yourself:

  • Why did I create this company?
  • What are the main advantages I offer my clients?
  • What is my greater vision?

Then, with a stronger hold on who you are and where you stand in the business world, you’re better equipped to determine what makes you different. Ask yourself:

  • What are your core strengths?
  • How do these set you apart from the competition?
  • What are your core challenges?
  • How do you address these in ways that make you stronger as a company?
  • How can you serve your clients in ways your competition cannot?

Once you’ve figured out where you stand in relation to the rest, it’s time to get to work. Standard-issue marketing campaigns won’t reflect your unique offerings —  you need a custom plan tailored to you and your business.

Get in touch.


Why Outsource to Us?

Let’s get straight to it: getting it all done isn’t easy, especially when you’re running a small business. Why keep another item on your already-overloaded calendar?

We know that clients seek consistency, but how can you stay on message when there are a million other tasks calling your name? That blog-post-in-progress gets dropped if an emergency arises; your social media feed goes dormant when you’re on deadline. All the while your potential customers are looking for you – and finding nothing.

Putting your marketing in our hands frees you up to stay with your core competency – doing due diligence, designing your product, serving your clients. You’ll be able to do what you do with the assurance that marketing is our core competency.

Trusting your marketing to us also lets you tap into our expertise and contact list. Also, since everyone needs external feedback while they continue to build their business, we’ll be able to provide you with our advisory services on branding and platform.

And since keeping up on the latest marketing trends takes time and effort, let us worry about that. It’s our job to stay tuned in – and to keep you informed along the way.

Talk to us. We know Marketing that Matters.

What is the Meaning of Marketing?

Marketing that Matters. That’s our tagline, but it’s just the beginning.

We founded On the Cusp because we wanted to find better ways to help smart people take the next step in their professional lives. That means going beyond the tried-and-true without abandoning classic marketing methods.

Think about such celebrated companies as Apple, Nike, and Budweiser. Each plays off essential human experience – excitement, achievement, leisure – to ground its audience in universality. From there, innovation takes over.

Let’s look at an example for each.

Apple’s “Silhouette” iPod campaign

This deceptively simple series hits at the heart with a singular striking image: solid black outlines of people – iPod earphones in – rocking out against a bright background. Minimalist as it is, the ad brings up ideas of power, liberty, and excitement – all courtesy of a tiny device that could easily fit in your smallest jeans pocket.

Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign

Swoosh goes the marketing majesty: a heralded athletics retailer meets an uber-iconic image. The result: an entire brand’s purpose summed up in a single stroke and a tagline as universal as it is catchy. Just Do It was a major turning point for Nike and remains one of the most memorable of all time.

Bud Lite’s “Weego” campaign

We couldn’t write this without including one of our all-time favorites — who couldn’t love the juxtaposition of good times and a great cause? Weego is a multitalented rescue mutt who not only fetches bottles for worthy recipients, but also embodies the spirit that Anheuser Busch is trying to convey: plucky, spunky, and entirely too lovable. What’s more, the firm donated upwards of a quarter of a million dollars to Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation, making Weego one of the more significant feel-good campaigns in recent memory.

All three of these companies have found success through smart, targeted approaches to marketing. You can too.

What Is Platform?

In marketing, platform refers to the way you differentiate yourself from the competition. Put simply, it’s the way you build your brand and become better known over time.

Writer’s Digest author Christina Katz argues: “The well-known writer has influence. In order for you to build influence, you need to create and launch a platform that communicates your expertise, credibility, and integrity to others quickly and concisely.”

Your method of accomplishing this should reflect your values both as a company and an individual. Moreover, it should be realistic. You can’t tout yourself as a social-media maven if you barely know how to use Facebook, nor should you list public speaking as a specialty if you quake every time you spy a microphone.

With that in mind, here are some essential components of a marketing platform:

  • A smart, comprehensive website. Without it, you might as well not exist.
  • Email list and newsletter. Frequency matters less than consistency here.
  • Some element of social media. Start with one site and expand from there.
  • A story. How did you come into being? Humanize yourself. Your clients will love it.
  • Testimonials. Get your satisfied clientele to sing your praises loud and proud.

Here’s another platform element you can’t live without: voice. A unified, consistent tone speaks volumes about your professionalism. Curious about nailing down the right voice for your platform? Get in touch.

Beyond the Basics: Marketing that Matters

Marketing that Matters. It’s not just a saying. It’s a commitment.

These days there is no shortage of outlets that can help you communicate your message. The more pressing issue, however, is targeting the right audience by carefully choosing the channels most suited to what you’re trying to say.

That’s why we’ve committed ourselves not simply to the concept of marketing, but to honing and delivering your message through smart, focused methods that get results.

A few basics we’ve taken to heart:

  • One-size-fits-all does not apply. That’s why we treat each client as they should be treated: individually, with unique requirements and goals.
  • Robots are so last century. You’re a human being talking to other human beings. Reaching them means speaking language you both can understand, not spouting jargon that would bore C3PO to death.
  • We’re not a Xerox machine. Our goal is to differentiate, not duplicate. Creative analysis of your business gives us the insight we need to place you apart from – and above – the competition.

There’s a lot of noise out there. Marketing that matters gets signal.

Welcome to On the Cusp!

You’re at that point of change. Maybe your marketing has hit a wall, or you’re tired of your current platform. Could be that you just need some fresh blood to get business flowing faster.

You’re seeking a different approach. You’ve found us.

On the Cusp is founded on a personal leap of faith: our belief that innovation and risk matter. Embracing change and seeking out the unknown took us here.

We’d like you to join us.

Watch this space for tips, tricks, and insights on differentiating yourself through modern marketing techniques infused with classic wisdom.

Welcome to On the Cusp. Welcome to marketing that matters.