What Most Businesses DON’T Do Before Putting Together a Marketing Campaign (You Do NOT Want to Fall into This Trap)

Brand Identity & Messaging

May 22, 2021

Young male professional in a Portland, Oregon business looking at brainstorm wall of dream buyer attributes.

You’ve decided that you need to do some marketing to gain more customers and grow your business.


Perhaps you’re thinking that you’d like to do some paid advertising on LinkedIn or Facebook. Or perhaps you have a decent database of prospect emails and you’d like to put together an email campaign with a content offer to send to your list.

Fantastic! You’re ready to go. Right?


The Most Important Thing Most Businesses Don’t Do Before Getting Started

Most businesses who decide to do some marketing never do this one thing before getting started. And that has to do with answering a single question…


I’m not talking about determining demographics such as your target audience’s age, gender or location. Although those are definitely important to know. What I’m talking about is really getting to KNOW your target audience.

What do they do for work?

Where do they hang out when they’re not working?

What are their hopes, dreams and desires?

What keeps them up in the middle of the night?

What does a day in their life look like?

And these are just a few questions that must be answered to get an idea of who it is you will be talking to.

Why You Should Intimately Know Your Dream Buyer

Magnifying glass showing close-up view of wood blocks that represent different types of dream buyers in Portland, Oregon.

Email notifications. YouTube videos. Instagram notifications. LinkedIn invites. Text messages. And on and on and on.

Your dream buyer gets bombarded by thousands of messages every day. Thanks to smart phones, it’s very difficult for any of us to get away from all the noise. As a marketer trying to break through all that noise to be one of the few messages out of a thousand that a prospect actually reads and acts upon, you’d better get it right the first time.

Think about how long it took you to read the headline of this post, and then decide whether you would continue reading or just “peace out” (rude).

You have 2.7 seconds to capture a reader’s attention. No pressure!

I Don’t Actually Know My Dream Buyer So How Do I Get to Know Them Intimately?

In order to be able to capture your dream buyer’s attention, you need to hook them in the first few words of your marketing message. This means that it has to hit right at the heart of what the reader is desiring, fearing or wishing for. In order to know what that is and how to draw them in within 2.7 seconds, you kind of have to be a voyeur and get inside the head of this person. I know, kind of creepy, huh?

Lucky for you, we are going to lay out the process of doing this in a way that doesn’t make you creepy. And your prospects will never really know that you did a little stalking before talking to them. It will just come across like you talk their talk, walk their walk and know exactly what it is they are looking for.

Five Easy Steps to Creating a Dream Buyer Avatar

Yep, you read that right. We are actually going to create a “person” who will be part of our marketing strategy. This avatar will have a name and a face, and we will understand everything that makes this person tick.

1. Walk Their Walk & Talk Their Talk
To determine what questions your avatar is asking, go hang out where they hang out and become one of their peers. I don’t mean literally go hang out with them (although you can if you want). I mean go where they live online.

Look at online forums where they gather and discuss hot topics, ask questions and help each other out with problems. Check out their Amazon reviews. Join Facebook groups. Become a prospect and join email lists. You get the picture. This one step will help you learn a lot about your avatar.

2. Have a Real Conversation and Listen
Ideally, you would have a few people on your team divide and conquer in order to get a diverse sampling of information. Make a list of 4-5 people in your own personal network who would qualify as a dream buyer of your product or service. Ask them to spend 30-45 minutes with you having a conversation and answering a few simple questions.

But be sure to get specific in your discussion about each question. Good to know that your avatar ‘hangs out on Facebook.’ Even better to specify that he ‘hangs out in the Weekend Warrior Bikers Facebook group.’ Or ‘likes the outdoors’ compared to ‘walks to the park every Saturday with her husband and two kids.’ You get the idea. Ask the follow-up questions to really nail it. *Download our list of questions below to get started.

3. Compile and Streamline
Pull together the information you gathered in your interviews, preferably in a spreadsheet to organize it into categories. As you look over your organized data, you will start to notice patterns and commonalities. Highlight them. Those are the nuggets that will make up your avatar.

4. Give Your New Friend a Name and a Face
I’m serious. You will be more likely to really understand how to talk to this person if you can imagine what they look like, how old they are, how they dress, what their name is and how they fit into their environment. Find a photo to use, and put down on paper this person’s name, age (range is okay), and occupation.

5. Create a One-Page Avatar Sheet
Put this person’s image at the top, followed by their name, age and profession. Fit on one page all of the nuggets that you have now gathered, broken out into the following sections:

    • Overview
    • A Day in the Life
    • Hopes & Dreams
    • Frustrations/Challenges/Fears
    • Communication Preferences

You Now Have the Foundation of Every Marketing Campaign You Will Ever Create


This is your go-to document, the foundation of every piece of marketing that you ever create. Getting clear on your Dream Buyer, and then relentlessly focusing on them, will bring clarity to everything you do in your marketing. It will position your message as having much higher potential to connect in 2.7 seconds to your target audience. Don’t jump to just writing some copy about how great your product or service is.

Marketing channels change. This timeless strategy of learning what your Dream Buyer wants, understanding exactly how you can help them, and then telling them in the most persuasive way, has worked for decades. And it will continue to work even as technology and marketing channels change. Because, at the end of the day, you are communicating with another human, not a machine. So market like you’re talking to a human – one whom you have taken the time to get to know well.

There is no better investment than going through this process before you start spending money on marketing – money that will most certainly be wasted if your message isn’t right. Most businesses skip this important step because it seems like a lot of work, and it is.

Trust me. Do the work ahead of time to position yourself out in front of the masses by showing your prospects that you understand them, you know they are human, and, most importantly, you know their desires and fears and you know how to help.

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