Think like a consumer
Our Strategic Approach On Campaign Development

By: Rebekah Essick, Group Account Director

The ad business is all about coming up with the next crazy viral campaign, right? Well, not exactly. We have fun with out-of-the-box thinking, but the coolest idea in the world isn’t worth anything if it doesn’t drive business. And to drive business, we need to develop campaigns that speak to our target audience in a meaningful way. Doing that requires understanding the consumer on a deep level.

My father has been in the ad business for many years, and he likes to tell a story about his early days on Madison Avenue working with Proctor & Gamble. He was an Account Executive, fresh out of college, working with a team full of ivy league graduates. As he says: “I thought they would eat my lunch.” In the end, those guys didn’t last very long in the business. While they had prestigious educations, they were disconnected from the average consumer. They hadn’t spent time shopping like most people shop; thinking how they think; understanding how they interact with the world. The result: strategies that didn’t resonate with the general public.

We can spend all the time in the world developing what we think is a stellar ad campaign, but if it isn’t built using basic brand positioning, the odds of success with the target audience is very shopping like most people shop; thinking how they think; understanding how they interact with the world. The result: strategies that didn’t resonate with the general public.


One of the best things you can do to understand your target audience is to put yourself in their shoes. You’ll gain an understanding of their world and what they might be looking for from your brand. Consider your product. What do you offer? What is your consumer touchpoint? Consider these questions to see how you can meet the customer’s needs.

For example: if you provide a product that is sold in a grocery store, make sure you’re regularly grocery shopping. Pay attention to the experience and how you interact with not only your own brand, but others. Look for gaps in your experience, new areas where you can fill a need.

If you own and operate a restaurant, make sure you’re regularly exploring other local restaurants.

If you’re a retailer – local shopping experiences.

The list goes on.

You can’t best serve your target market until you understand your brand’s consumer touchpoints. Plus, gaining hands-on experience can lead to interesting insights that’ll aid in the creation of brand extensions that serve consumer needs.


Research is one of the most valuable steps in any marketing plan. It allows you to gain information directly from your audience on what resonates from them, what their needs are, and what they want to see from your brand. Any sound marketing strategy includes some level of research. Ideally, you can conduct primary research to gather tailored information about your business questions. But if that isn’t in the cards, secondary research also provides valuable insights to help craft your messaging.

Research and gather as much data as you can. Use this information to make decisions about how you will direct your concept. Align your concept with your research. That is how you develop a winning strategy that will effectively touch your target audience.


This is often a hard pill for marketers to swallow. If you’re not the target audience, it doesn’t matter if you like the concept. Sure, it matters that you feel comfortable with what your brand is putting out there. But generational and demographic differences exist. If you don’t fall in love with a concept that is meant to target a completely different demographic from you, take a step back and try to think about the messaging from the perspective of your target audience. Review the campaign goals and ground yourself in research. If it aligns with your goals while utilizing the research, take a deep breath, put your personal opinions aside, and step out of your comfort zone. You’ll be encouraged by the results.

Understanding the mind of the consumer segment is essential to what we do. It’s why we go through a lengthy discovery process while conducting primary and secondary research before creating a marketing strategy. As the oldest, largest independently owned agency in Florida, we’ve been navigating obstacles in advertising for generations. If you find it challenging to understand your target audience, we have the expertise to you’re looking for. Just reach out! –

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