Who’s the Customer?

Last month I heard a radio commercial for my old company. The one that fired me. My first reaction was that of surprise. Surprise that the president of the company would pony up the money to buy radio spots. Then I started to wonder, “Exactly who are they advertising to?”

The company is a typical defense contractor in this area. They offer software engineering services. The radio station I heard the ad on is a talk station geared toward the male, 18 to 50 age demographic. Their customers, government middle managers and larger government contracting companies (Lockheed, General Dynamics, etc), don’t usually hire subcontractors from radio commercials. When I left, the company president was not at all enthused, actually downright hostile, to working for commercial interests.

The more I think about it, the more it is clear that they really wasted their marketing dollars on that ad campaign. They did consider who they wanted to receive their message. The first question they should have asked themselves is, “Who is our customer?” Their customers are who I mentioned above, the government and larger contracting companies. Once that is figured out, then the right media to use can be determined. They would have been better served taking out some print ads in regional business journals. Even better, they should have went the direct marketing route by sending someone to call on prospective clients. They lost a good business development guy when Roger left and I do not believe they ever replaced him. I remember hearing that the exec VP was going to take up the BD duties but he really is not personable enough to do sales. Maybe that is why they went the radio route.

Basic marketing. Who is your customer?

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