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Prospect Targeting Basics | DeWinter Marketing & PR | Denver Colorado

Prospect Targeting Basics for Marketing & Sales

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In the world of marketing & promoting products or services, there is no room for inaccurate prospect targeting. However, I continue to find egregious examples of sloppy prospect targeting, including multiple instances of this in the past month alone.

Regardless of the size of your organization, no business or non-profit can afford to waste money sending pitches to consumers or companies that will never need or want your product or service. Whether you’re pushing selling messages to prospects via email marketing, telemarketing, direct mail, or face-to-face communications, the cost of the marketing campaign often is on a per-piece basis. In other words, each email, telemarketing call, direct mail piece, or person-to-person communication costs money. When your prospect targeting is non-existent, or inaccurate, you’re wasting marketing dollars and you’re wasting time.

Here are several examples of disastrous prospect targeting that DeWinter Marketing has encountered in the past 2 weeks alone:

Sloppy Prospect Targeting Example 1: Telemarketing With Bad Lists

Last week, we received a call from a telemarketer who wanted to help us market our “accounting services.” We explained politely that we are not a CPA firm; we are a marketing agency. The telemarketer literally did not believe us and asked 3 times: “Are you sure you’re not a CPA firm?” Ugh. This is an example of a company that bought a bad marketing list.

Sloppy Prospect Targeting Example 2: Email Marketing of Irrelevant Products

Prospect Targeting Basics | DeWinter Marketing & PR | Denver ColoradoTwo weeks ago, the agency received a marketing email from a machine manufacturer who wants to sell us “high-production bandsaws.” What does a marketing agency need with an industrial-grade bandsaw used on the floor of a manufacturing plant? This showcases a complete lack of “vetting” of a marketing list. In our business, we call this “throwing-spaghetti-at-the-wall marketing.” (In other words, this industrial machinery manufacturer is sending their marketing email to anyone and everyone to see if the marketing message “sticks” anywhere.) We did them a favor and unsubscribed. But most email marketing platforms charge you by the number of emails you send out, at certain thresholds such as 500 emails a month or 1,000 emails a month. The more emails you send, the more you pay. Given the complete lack of targeting evidenced from this blast email, it’s likely this company is paying far more than they should for their email marketing.

What Is Prospect Targeting?

Prospect targeting is a lead-generation tactic that involves targeting your ideal buyer and then sending promotional or sales communications directly to that ideal buyer.

How To Deploy Proper Prospect Targeting

There are two key activities that all businesses should be deploying to ensure that they are using best practices in their targeting of prospects who would be interested in a product or service.

  • Customer Profiling
  • Buying Lists from Reputable List Brokers

Customer Profiling involves creating a demographic portrait of your ideal customer (age, gender, income levels) and psychographics (psychological make-up of your potential customer).

List Purchases should always be done with a reputable list broker that updates their lists each year. The top 2 sources of reputable lists are:

  • National, well-known list brokers such as Data Axle (formerly InfoUSA)
  • Industry associations who sometimes will sell access to their membership list.

Buyer Alert: Cold call solicitations from people selling lists usually means the list will be garbage.

The bottom line is that no business or non-profit should ever waste their time & money on promotional campaigns that don’t include accurate prospect targeting. You need to know who wants or needs your product or service before you ever deploy a campaign promoting that product or service.

Need help building a Customer Profile or Strengthening Your Prospect Targeting? Contact DeWinter Marketing & PR to help!

Courtney DeWinter

Courtney DeWinter is the president & founder of Denver-based DeWinter Marketing & PR in Denver, Colorado. She is a marketing & PR consultant with 25+ years of experience in branding, marketing, public relations, websites & journalism.

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