Talking to the Wind

When my wife and I visited Italy, we had a tour guide (Fabrizio) who would always try and get our attention by asking “Am I talking to the wind?”. It made me think about how frustrating it is when no matter how loud you speak, nobody is listening to your message. Like Fabrizio, do you ever feel that you are talking to the wind when you are trying to market your community?

Part of the challenge is ensuring you are talking to the right people. Fabrizio was always able to capture our attention because we had an interest in and need for the information he was sharing. Finding the right people to share your community story with is the purpose of segmentation (or targeting).

There are a few types of targets for you to consider –

  1. Strategic target (sometimes referred to as primary target). These are people who share a common set of preferences or needs that your location is uniquely able to address. This is the most basic segmentation level and necessary for guiding development of an effective place branding effort. Often, place marketers do not go beyond segmenting the market on this basis.
  2. Prime Prospect target – This is a subset of your strategic target and represents people who you believe have a disproportionate probability of considering your location for a capital investment. Typically, place marketers make a “heavy-up” promotional investment in communicating with these people.
  3. Secondary target – This is a group of people who are outside your strategic target but you feel represent a high enough probability of considering your location that you simply can’t ignore them.

One goal of an effective place marketing effort is to balance your communication investment choices so you achieve adequate reach and frequency among a pre-determined target audience that has a high potential of selecting your location for consideration when making a capital investment decision. Taking the time to determine your strategic target, prime prospects and (if necessary) secondary targets is a way to help ensure your investment is being directed in a way that can deliver maximum communication impact. It dramatically increases your odds of success.

Defining targets is one way you can avoid speaking to the wind. Like Fabrizio, you will be able to get the attention of the people you want to hear your message. As long as you have a heart and mind opening message when you have their attention, you will be able to more successfully compete for capital investment and close more deals as a result.


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2 Comments so far

  1. Meheer Thakare

    November 19, 2009

    I agree with you Ed. Tours surely help. Singapore does this very well, I reckon.

    At Changi Airport they have specific city tours especially designed for Transit passengers. When you sign-up for these tours they assist you with the visas. Further then, through out the tour they travel along some fabulous infrastructures and promote the Green side of their roads which amounts to a cooler climate (while dismissing HongKong for its heat). They also explain the housing trends of the city.

    The tour is design so that at the end of the tour, the passenger feels good about the city and consequently becomes a potential lead towards investment. Anyways, it is evidently noticaeble that the investements they target vary from corporate to housing (wide range).

  2. Robin Terry

    November 21, 2009

    Boy, do I agree! Recently, during a very frustrating period of time when I was trying to get Economic Development Committee members to understand my point of view, I ate lunch at a local Chinese restaurant. The fortune in the cookie I received? “Today, your mouth might be moving but no one is listening.” Enough said.

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