February 25, 2019


My Marketing Management System relies on thorough knowledge of your core Audience.

I can remember the moment when Audience became important to me. I was sitting in the office of my boss ... she was the Chief Marketing Officer. My company (Nordstrom) was about to shut down the catalog division. I was trying to defend the rural customer in North Dakota who didn't have access to a Nordstrom store, a customer who adored the merchandise offered in the catalog. When the catalog went away, the merchandise offered in the catalog was also going to go away. Those customers, customers who loved the catalog, were not going to be served anymore.

I wanted my boss to have a solution for these customers.

My boss had a solution. She said:
  • "We don't want those customers. We have plenty of market share that we can earn from our core customer audience."
Oh, I was angry. "We don't want those customers???" It wasn't the first time my boss told me she didn't want customers. How could she possibly not want customers?

The key word, of course, was "those" ... as in "those customers". Customers who were outside of our Audience.

My team prepared reports that showed we only captured "x" percent of the wallet of our core audience. The Management Team decided that it was better to try to earn more spend from our core Audience than it was to cast a wider Audience net.

Guess what?

My boss (as usual) was right. She knew her Audience. She defined the Audience for the rest of the company. And she was able to get those customers to spend more (something I had not previously observed).

The vast majority of my client base does not understand who their Audience is. Oh, they give answers ... "she's a convenience shopper". But they don't define the Audience, they don't define what the Audience spends, and they don't define how much of that spend they can earn.

If your audience is "Fashion Forward Women earning $100,000 a year or more in Suburban or Urban areas" and you know these women spend $7,500 a year in your wheelhouse and you are already capturing $500, then you know that you have just under 7% of the share of wallet of your core customer. You have room to grow. Now you implement programs within the remainder of the Great Eight to get 10% of the share of wallet of your core customer.

Mind you, you aren't trying to get the customer to spend more ... the customer CANNOT spend more. But the customer can reallocate. You want dollars that go elsewhere.

So that's the moment in my career that Audience became important. When in your career did the idea of "Audience" become important in your Marketing Management System?

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