Knowing Your Audience is the Key to a Strong Advertising Message

It’s a fact that many laundromat owners love to advertise. And it’s equally true that several of these operators, unfortunately, do so incorrectly – thus, spending large sums of money for very little return.

It’s economic insanity. And here’s why:

Simply put, most owners don’t know – or pay attention to – who is actually reading their ads. So, they create a generic advertisement and hope it works.

By “works,” I mean that it makes more money for the owner than it cost to produce and run. After all, that’s the only valid motivation to advertise.

Like everything else, advertising changes as a function of societal changes – or at least it should. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

People are creatures of habits. We tend to do things the same way over and over again because it’s more mentally comfortable to do so. The human species detests change, because it makes them uncomfortable. However, this can be costly when it comes to advertising your business.

The biggest reason advertising has changed is because we are now a multi-cultural, multi-generational country – not a homogeneous, one-size-fits-all group of people.

Diversification has drastically changed advertising, both in delivery methods and content contained within the messages. According to demographic research, the major race and ethnicity components of the United States will change dramatically in coming years.

The current population in the United States is estimated to be 328.2 million and is projected to rise to approximately 428 million by 2050. What’s more, the population breakdown based on race and ethnic background is expected to change greatly. The takeaway is that change is a constant and, therefore, your marketing methods must take this into consideration.

Each ethnic and cultural group perceives your laundromat through its own eyes, as shaped by its specific background. Therefore, projecting your own values into your advertising is a mistake. Always remember that you’re not advertising to yourself.

But don’t forget about generational changes as well, because each generation features specific values and behavior patterns that you must understand. And generational metrics also vary over time, so be sure to add this demographic to your research.

Your research should be about discovering what matters most to people, relative to the kind of product or service you’re selling. And, believe me, there is a ton of material online about multicultural and generational marketing.

Here’s the next step: define your target audience by cultural and ethnic group, as well as generational status, and familiarize yourself with your customers’ values when it comes to doing laundry.

Once you know your audience, organize a focus group of individuals from each cultural, ethnic and generational group, and interview them to determine their views and values with regard to your laundry business.

As a result, you may end up, for example, choosing to advertise in a language with which you’re unfamiliar. Your goal is to establish trust and credibility with your target audience, so be extremely careful with ads written in a language you don’t fully understand.

In fact, I suggest consulting a language professor at your local college to be certain your advertisement includes the proper linguistic form, with regard to your potential customers’ point of view. If this sounds like overkill, consider what occurred to the Green Giant brand of frozen vegetables as it tried to break into a Middle Eastern marketplace. Apparently, the company incorrectly translated “Jolly Green Giant” into Arabic, and it literally read, “Intimidating Green Monster.”

Lastly, don’t forget to use testimonials from local members of your target groups. This form of word-of-mouth promotion can be highly effective, if used correctly.

All in all, impactful advertising requires serious effort on your part. But failing to do so can be quite costly to your business in the long run.

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