I’ve got a confession to make. I love Lego.
In reality, it’s not much of a “confession” – I’m loud and proud of my fondness for Danish construction toys and if you’ve ever been into our office you’ll know that I’ve got a variety of Lego-related memorabilia all over my desk. It certainly keeps a smile on my face during those cold winter mornings.
I guess I’ve just always liked making things, and since I was a little kid, Lego has been my go-to construction pastime. (Although it’s probably drawing with sales funnels these days).
Gone are the days when I’m actually buying buckets of the stuff to make, but it’s still rare for a year to go by without one of my nearest and dearest buying me some sort of Lego branded product as a gift.
That’s just the way it is. I’m a fan. Not of the Lego show at the NEC though, that was rubbish.
This year, I got the pièce de résistance – the Lego advent calendar. And without exaggeration, it’s changed the complexion of my December mornings.
Each day I roll into work, and while the kettle’s boiling I open up my next toy. I’ve had a Christmas tree, a sprig of holly and – a little disconcertingly – a burglar, which I’m not quite sure fits under the heading of ‘Christmas spirit’.
My mum bought me the calendar, and she’s really hit the spot with it.
Anyway, there’s a point here somewhere. And it’s all about the power of knowing your audience.
Over the years, my closest friends and family have seen firsthand how pleased I am to receive a Lego-related gift, and consequently they know that if they want to elicit a positive response from me, buying Lego is the way to go.
If they didn’t know that fact about me, then there’s a much greater chance that the gifts they get me wouldn’t have the impact that they do.
Sure, they might get it right from time to time, but if they do, it’s more likely to be by luck than judgment.
They know what will be well received, and the smart ones stick to giving that; knowing that they’ll experience an overwhelming dose of ‘Smithy gratitude’.
It’s the same with the markets we operate in. We’ve all done the ‘customer avatar’ to death, but the reality is that when most of us are creating our marketing, that avatar can often be pushed to one side.
Rather than rigidly and scientifically producing marketing that we KNOW will appeal to our avatar based on what we know about them and what’s been successful in the past, we go off piste, crafting something that might work but might fall flat on its face too.
There’s a reason why “market” is the first of “the three M’s’. Because without it, the other two are nothing.
You might have the most sparkly and interactive new media and the best copywriter in the world crafting a message for you, but if you don’t know your market, then what you produce won’t resonate with them, and you’ll make significantly less sales as a result.
And when it comes to “getting to know your market”, there really is no limit to what you should want to know.
Some businesses can get away with “women in the UK” or “people in London”, but the majority of us need to really dial into who our prospects are, where they live, what drives them, what keeps them up at night, what their true desires are, and of course, which brand of construction toys they prefer.
The more you know, the more you can tailor your communication, and the greater chance you’ll have of success.
Just think about it for a second: if I was your ideal customer, knowing what you know now, how much easier would it be to engage with me? What would be your failsafe way of securing readership?
If you were smart, you’d use the Lego. Whether you sent me a little toy as part of a lumpy mail campaign or invited me to Legoland to discuss your proposition, knowing that intricate and specific detail about my interests would put you about a hundred steps further on than the rest of the marketers vying for my attention.
Typically, the further you drill down into your ‘ideal customer’, the less prospects you’ll have to go after, but the more specific and investment-heavy your marketing can be, and if you get it right, the higher your success rate will be too.
If you’re sending to a thousand people, you probably won’t send them a pack of a Lego each, but if you want to have 10 conversations with 10 CEOs about a high value product or service, sending something specific to their interests that’ll make them sit up and take notice would be well worth it.
Of course, my advent calendar’s only got a few more days left in it, so at that point I’ll be looking for my next Lego fix, and I’ve always wanted the airport – I look forward to hearing from you…