Ten we determine how we plan to measure the success of our advertising
strategy: the specifc amount of increased sales, market share, top-line revenue,
bottom-line profts, volume, referrals, attendees, and so on.
Next, we defne the time frame in which we expect to achieve that growth
goal. Tis helps align expectations and create a sense of urgency.
Ten, perhaps most importantly, we defne the type of customer we are
targeting. For Nick in What Women Want, the target market was female
customers. Your target market may be a certain segment of prospective
customers or a type of current customer.
Finally, we defne the key competition to our growth. Who is your
competition in the mind of your customer? It may be companies like you with
similar oferings, or it may be another option available to customers . . . like just
Tis is key, because your growth is dependent on customers choosing you.
And when you ask customers what impacts their choice (i.e., what they want),
you have to recognize that customers make choices from the competing
options available to them.
OK, so with all of these components, your fnal goal statement might look
something like this: “Our goal is to grow sales for ABC Dental Company by
12% in six months by creating more value for pediatric dentists than does XYZ
Dental Company.” Tat’s pretty clear, right?
Some of the greatest advertisements of all time were successful because they
established a goal and then set out to understand exactly what the consumer
wanted to hear. In other words, they gathered insight into how the customer’s
mind worked and then used that to create a winning strategy.
I’m an Apple fan. One of my favorite commercials is Apple’s “Get-A-Mac”
campaign. It shows two male actors who represent a Mac and a PC. Te
Mac guy is a youthful, confdent hunk, while the PC is an awkward nerd
in uncomfortable clothing. Over the years, Apple created dozens of these
In one example, the message depicted the PC guy coughing, sneezing, and
wiping his nose, then saying, “I think I’m going to crash.” If you were a PC
user when these commercials came out, you related immediately—this was
familiar language in familiar context.
Prior to the launch of these ads in 2006, Apple’s sales were down. Apple set a
growth goal and starting digging into the minds of their consumers. Te result
was extremely successful. Only one month from the release of the campaigns,
Apple sold 200,000 Macs and grew 39% that fscal year.1 Apple won by leveraging
their understanding of what customers wanted and how they viewed the key
Unfortunately most of us can’t read people’s minds. Most companies also
don’t have the budget to hire expensive ad agencies, like Apple or like Nike in
the movie What Women Want. But it doesn’t take magic and millions of dollars
to launch an efective campaign. Success starts with setting a goal. And once
you have that, then you can ask your customers and prospective customers
what they want.
With both of those in place, you can successfully craft that perfect message.
1. Rhoads K. Get-A-Mac Campaign
Analysis.pdf?123. Published January
10, 2007. Accessed December 2,
Rachel Mele is a
dental executive, au-
thor, and international
speaker. She runs
the dental division
at Vennli, a cloud plat-
form for creating and executing growth
strategy by understanding customer
choice. She can be reached at
email@example.com or at