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Target Audience Personas & Marketing with Bill Gelgota 

March 29, 202438 min read

The target persona in your marketing is maybe the most critical piece of your business foundations. It’s simply not possible to have a business and make the message appeal to everyone. But how do you determine your target market when you’re newer to business? Can you switch your target personas later on? And how does a SWOT analysis factor in here? We are answering all this and more in today's episode with my guest, Bill Gelgota. 

With over 40 years of marketing experience, I’m thrilled to have Bill on the show for this topic! From demographics to sociographics, psychographics to geographics, Bill shares how to use that data to help you discover your target audience, talk to them, and build lasting relationships with them. Stick around for the rapid fire “but, Bill” questions and to see if this week’s Colorful Question is yours!


In this episode, we cover:

  • Why having a target audience matters when you're starting or running your business

  • The least-discussed marketing segment and why it’s critical to your marketing efforts

  • How to use demographics, sociographics, psychographics, and geographics to help you discover your target audience

  • The importance of keeping your target persona top of mind in marketing

  • How to discover and keep up with your target market's wants and needs

  • How and why you need a SWOT analysis of your business

  • An example of a SWOT analysis for a design firm

  • How to know if you should continue with the same target audience or pivot in a new direction

Did this conversation give you clarity around your target market? Let us know—find us on social, we’d love to hear from you!

More about Bill Gelgota

Bill Gelgota is a former marketing practitioner working in advertising agencies—client side and consultant—for more than 40 years. He is now giving back to the marketing community as a faculty member at Southern New Hampshire University.

Links and Mentioned Resources

The Studio

Coaching Strategy Session

Census Data


Futurist Predictions for Design & Business with Rebecca Ryan

S.W.O.T. Analysis Journal

Marketing: Target Client Persona Interactive Guide

Connect with Bill Gelgota


This episode is brought to you by Nello Marelli

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More about Colorful Conversations with Katie

Welcome to “Colorful Conversations with Katie”! Join us for a vibrant webcast where we seamlessly blend the realms of design and business in a fun and professional setting. Available on YouTube or any of your favorite podcast platforms!

Hosted by the dynamic Katie, a seasoned expert with nearly 20 years of experience in both fields, this engaging series promises to ignite your creative spark and sharpen your entrepreneurial acumen. From exploring the latest design trends to uncovering strategies for building successful ventures, we dive deep into the colorful world where aesthetics meet profitability.

Whether you’re a budding designer or a savvy entrepreneur, this webcast is your go-to source for inspiration, insights, and a dash of lively conversation. Tune in and let your imagination, business and life take flight!

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This episode of Colorful Conversations with Katie is brought to you in partnership with Leah Bryant Co.

The unedited podcast transcript for this episode of the Colorful Conversations with Katie podcast follows

Katie (00:02.378)

Hey, Bill, welcome to the show.

Bill Gelgota (00:04.436)

Thank you, Katie. Glad to be here.

Katie (00:06.29)

We're so excited that you are, and especially with your level of expertise as we're working through our starting and growing a business series and want to talk to you target market. I always like to say that if you're trying to be everything to everyone, you're nothing to no one. But why does target market matter when you're starting out in business? Or even if you're a few months in and you're like, I just don't know where I'm going or what I'm doing here.

Bill Gelgota (00:32.212)

Well, part of the problem, or to me, one of the problems is we use the word target market interchangeably for a variety of things. Target market, to be honest, is anybody that is interested in your product or service. That sounds great. A lot of people. One of the maxims that I learned over the years is that the essence of marketing is sacrifice.

Katie (00:50.946)


Katie (00:57.631)


Bill Gelgota (00:57.772)

Sounds ominous. It's not really. It's very practical. A little backstory. In my agency experience and as a marketing and advertising client, I handled multi-million dollar budgets and there was never enough budget to go around. Marketers are always trying to find ways to stretch the marketing dollars. So that's why target market, which is everyone, gets cut down further into target audience or target customer.

So what you're really trying to do is boil it down to the best possible groups. Not that you're ignoring everyone, but you're concentrating your dollars where the best chances are. The marketing, the target audience, the target consumer.

Katie (01:45.462)

So I wanna ask the why and the how. Let's start with the why is that important?

Bill Gelgota (01:54.704)

You can't reach, like you said, if you're trying to reach everyone, you're not hitting everyone. You have to stretch dollars wherever possible. So what you're doing is putting the money where your mouth is. You are concentrating on the most likely people and by having a message that is more relevant, more personalized to those groups, that's why you cut it down into smaller groups, bite-sized portions that you can relate to.

Katie (01:55.243)

Always budget.

Katie (02:21.366)

How? How do we do this? Especially to those folks who, you know, in our audience who don't have an MBA and are going, oh my gosh, this sounds so ominous. What do we do with this? How do I know who I'm supposed to be going after?

Bill Gelgota (02:37.152)

To get there, you have to do a couple steps. It's called market segmentation, where you're dividing that target market into those smaller groups. And what you do, there's, again, a matter of misused terms. We tend to use the word demographics for everything. But in reality, there are a variety of segmentation variables. There's geographic.

There's demographic, there's psychographic, also two others that are not so commonly in conversation, but often used, behavioral obviously, but also firmographics. And I'll go through those quickly. Geographics, that's location, location. I mean.

Katie (03:14.21)

Hmm. Please do.

Bill Gelgota (03:20.392)

Where do you find your customers? That's real simple. I mean, if you are set up to be local, that's easy. Can your staff handle a larger area? Different geographic considerations. So that's one thing. That's one segmentation that you will find customers or vary through them. Demographics, everybody knows, everybody uses in conversations. Age, gender, education, income, family status, et cetera.

the more popular those

categories and demographics are income level. In order to have a market, you need to be able to not only desire the product or have interest in the product, you have to be able to afford it. Like, for example, I'd love to have a Lamborghini, but that's not happening and showing up in my garage anytime soon. So it's a simple thing, but income level is a very consideration, is a very important consideration for anybody trying to do marketing.

age. Now, we've talked boomers, Gen X, millennials, et cetera, et cetera. But age is a good tool to use to decide where your customers are coming from. They could be children to adolescents. They could be working age. They could be older age. In fact, you just did a paper recently about the silver tsunami. Do you want to add any reference to demographics? Because you've had a great deal of story right there.

Katie (04:50.19)

Oh, you're so kind Bill. Yeah, it's interesting to see the silver tsunami because we've known.

that we were going to have a huge wave in aging population, right? And to anyone who thinks that, oh, the silver tsunami is coming. Yeah, no judgment. There's a lot of hair dye going on up here so that you don't see my own silver tsunami. Let's just be completely honest. But yeah, if you think that that's coming, you've already missed it. It's here. The silver tsunami is here. And we're seeing, knowing what that elderly demographic wants

Bill Gelgota (05:01.012)

Take a look at the hair.

Katie (05:24.76)

talk about in a bit, but it's so important because it's gonna be very different than say someone who's 18 and has a whole different mindset and is off to college for their first year, right? And so yeah, demographics to me are everything.

Bill Gelgota (05:41.856)

age, and that's a good starting point. But that gets you into the next of the segmentations called psychographics. And that's a lot more, whereas demographics are objective, psychographics are far more subjective and would require more research. And I'll touch on, in fact, give a couple research tools that anybody can use for free, operative word. But psychographics are lifestyle. These are the values. These are the attitudes, beliefs. These are very important.

Katie (06:03.755)


Bill Gelgota (06:10.92)

To me, these are the key to understanding how to communicate best with your consumers. It's the way to understand the mindset so you can really do a good job on the wants and needs and address these in your marketing messages. I mentioned two others, firmographics.

Katie (06:18.413)


Katie (06:28.398)

I love that you said wants and needs. Yep, keep going, you're due.

Bill Gelgota (06:33.32)

Without that, I mean, let's face it, once in needs, the whole purpose is defining not just what you can deliver, but how to reach those consumers once in needs, how to address their once in needs. And that's how you build that relationship. That's how you build a connection.

I mentioned demographics in the beginning. That's for individuals. Firmographics are the same thing, only now you've moved into the corporate side or the business side, including the roles, et cetera. But you're doing more B2B now, so therefore, that would be more in what you're doing, rather than some of your other listeners who will be having a consumer-driven business. So that's where demographics and firmographics are the same thing, just slightly different

But again, those are targeting segments, as you can see. The last one I mentioned was behavioral, and this one is important because

As I said, you need research to do all this stuff, but behavioral is great because it can draw on the existing customer base that you have. These are the purchase patterns, the usage patterns of your existing consumer base. Don't underestimate the value of your own consumer base, your customer base rather, and your web analytics. That's a wealth of information. Now, I've touched on geographic, I've touched on demographics and psychographics.

Katie (07:40.586)


Bill Gelgota (08:01.09)

Take your customer base and go through that and deep dive. Is there a geographic pattern to your people? You've got a geographic segmentation thing going on. Is there an age difference? Are you dealing with younger people or older people? You've got your demographic starch.

Are your people eco-centric? Are they into sustainability? There's your life stage. Are they active people, et cetera, et cetera. So you've got all that data in your customer base, and that's a wonderful starting point, because you said, how do they start out? There you go. You've already got data. You just may not have taken the time to cut and analyze it as you go forward.

I said I'd have a couple freebies, if you will. The US Census data,, is a wonderful resource for demographic data, economic data, et cetera, et cetera. They also have a neat little thing called the, excuse me, this is the.

Consumer Business Bureau. They have a, CBB is a nice little tool that you can use. It's, you find it on census data, or, and it'll get you into more business related economic data, and you can do maps and trends, et cetera, right there on the census. So that's a great start. Another one that you can use for free, and remember, it's only the free side.

Katie (09:24.034)

That's cool.

Bill Gelgota (09:35.226)

You can actually use the tapestry tool for free. Just go to

drill down to where it tells you to add in a zip code, and then you can access free consumer groups. Now, there is demographic data, but it is generalized over somewhat to that geographic region, but more generalized. But you can get socioeconomic data, and that's your psychographic. So those are two free, very worthwhile tools that you can take advantage of to start the process. But as I said, to do it good justice,

have to do research and that means you're gonna have to go out and contact a research firm and dig deeper but this is a great starting point but now that you have the data

Katie (10:19.818)

I think it's a great starting point. Yeah, well, and I want to say too that if you missed any of that, it will be in the show notes. So know that if you're driving or whatnot, we will throw it in the show notes. But yeah, you were saying once you have the data, because this is, I mean, this sounds like very pie in the sky concepts in many ways, but all we're doing is giving you the ability to create basically an avatar.

of what your target mark's gonna be and you can name that thing and then say, well, does this appeal to Judy or not? Where is Judy? Is Judy out shopping for this? Is Judy living this lifestyle? Is Judy this age? And it really helps. I don't wanna steal your thunder, so please keep going.

Bill Gelgota (10:58.268)

No, no, no. You're absolutely right, because what you have are a lot of tools, but what do you do with it?

One of the other marketing maxims that I picked up over the years, I worked with an agency, DDB Worldwide, whose founder, Bill Birnbach, advertising legend, he's the groups that created the great Volkswagen advertising in the 1950s, 1960s, came up with an interesting maxim for the creative team. But I think it's useful for this marketing exercise. And it's know your product inside and out before you start working, and then relate that knowledge

to the customer's needs. So what you've got to do now, and I know this is a buzz for you as well, a SWOT analysis. The easiest way to understand what your business is, is to dig out that SWOT analysis and walk your way through it again. And the sad thing is many businesses think a SWOT analysis is a once and done. You did it for the business plan, you're done. It isn't.

Katie (11:38.507)


Katie (11:54.135)


Bill Gelgota (12:03.204)

Marketing is dynamic, the market is dynamic, economy changes, the consumer demands change, the competitors change, you've got to keep that. Bingo. I mean, who could have anticipated COVID happening on anybody's radar screen? Not likely. But that's where the SWOT analysis is going to dig in and help you go forward. I mean, again, like you said,

Katie (12:10.51)

COVID happens. Yeah, massive shifts. No, no.


Bill Gelgota (12:32.192)

talking to people assuming that not everybody has everything on the top of their mind about a SWOT analysis, strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Strengths and weaknesses are the internals. These are the things your company has direct control over or influence on. Now strengths, equally important, are the features and benefits that your company has. Now that you know a little bit about who you're targeting, you've got to translate that into things

demonstrate to these consumers how your company has the capabilities to address their needs, their wants, their problems. How are you going to solve them? That's why knowing what your strengths are and translating that to each of those little consumer groups that you've created, makes a difference because it's not just what you think. Okay.

Katie (13:24.686)

Can you give us an example of that?

Bill Gelgota (13:32.)

No matter what process, you have your job. Okay, you're into color matching, color design. As a designer, you need to understand what the consumer needs. You know the price point of the consumer. If the price point of the consumer, you're used to doing high-end stuff, but you have a consumer that can't afford it.

Katie (13:50.346)


Bill Gelgota (13:57.272)

Is it worth spending the marketing dollars to try and reach and stay with that consumer? Unless you can bring it to that consumer's point of view, your strength doesn't match their need. So your capabilities aren't what they're looking for. Okay, is that a fair analogy for you or do you want something more?

Katie (14:10.731)



I think no, I think that's an absolutely great one. And I think sometimes as business owners too, especially if you're just starting out, you can say, do I even have any strengths? Like I'm just starting at this game. I'm not even sure what my strengths are. How do I tease that out? And I would push back and say, you're always gonna have strengths even out of the gate, such as.

Oh my gosh, what kind of customer service are people gonna get? Because you are just starting out. What if they are your first client? That's amazing, you're your first handful of clients. You know, they're gonna be able to reach you very readily. That can be a strength.

Bill Gelgota (14:49.18)

If there you go, customer service is one of the things that's an unsung strength by many people and it's also a weakness and that's the second internal that I mentioned. The danger of customer service. I dealt with the auto business for most of my career. One of my best dealers told me that the first client, the first purchase will come from advertising. Fine.

Katie (14:55.159)


Katie (15:14.868)



Bill Gelgota (15:18.096)

Every repeat purchase comes from customer satisfaction, customer service. If you're not servicing that client's needs, they're not gonna come back. And if you're a once in... Once in a lifetime,

Katie (15:22.847)

every time.

Katie (15:28.638)

Yeah, and not just their needs, their wants. And sometimes they can't differentiate. Sometimes they just come to you and they're like, I want this, this. It's like, well, I hear that you really want that to be a turquoise such and such, but is that really gonna work? Like, is that just a want or do you actually need that? I mean, are you trying to resell the home? Like, let's talk through that. Sometimes I think that's our job too as designers is educating.

or demographic and walking through, not in a condescending way, but just to help them fair it out. What are your needs and wants? And sometimes they don't even know.

Bill Gelgota (16:03.476)

that would be a strength. The ability to talk to the consumer and explain what it is they want because having been in a situation with buying some windows recently for our home, sitting with the people and having them answer and answer questions that I didn't even know to ask.

Katie (16:17.016)


Bill Gelgota (16:23.804)

That was a major benefit with the company that we ended up going with. So having that ability is a wonderful strength that you should capitalize on. And if you're somebody just starting out, knowing your ability is a wonderful strength that you should capitalize on.

Katie (16:28.738)


Katie (16:43.55)

Well, and I think too, we're often afraid to identify our weaknesses, but you have to identify your weaknesses because we have nothing to work toward at that point. And admitting them, you don't have to share this document on your website or put it out on social media. We're not asking for that. We're just asking for an honest self-assessment. Yeah, that's a great point.

Bill Gelgota (16:44.892)

and if you did.

Bill Gelgota (16:57.404)

No, but your customers will. I'm sorry for stepping over you. The customers will. If you have customers, that's a great source to find out. Are they complaining about you? Have they said there are shortcomings? Have there been things posted on your social media site which you're raising questions? If you're not addressing those, if you're not looking at those and putting them on that weakness list,

you're doing yourself a disservice because you're going to miss something that is there. That often happens. I mean, I was guilty of it as well over the years because you don't want to put the bad stuff down there just to remind yourself. But you're going to stumble and fall and your customers will be the first ones to raise it. The other two, we've dealt with internals. Now, I'm going to move on to the externals. These are the opportunities and threats.

Katie (17:42.702)

That's a great point.

Bill Gelgota (17:51.636)

These often become convoluted because something can be an opportunity and a threat. It all depends. And opportunity are things that are positive that you can take advantage of for your business.

Katie (17:57.31)

at the same time. Yeah.

Bill Gelgota (18:05.292)

something that's negative is a threat that you're going to need to want monitor and figure out how to deal with. You mentioned COVID earlier. COVID was both a threat and an opportunity. There are a lot of companies that figured out how to change their business practices strength. You know the a lot of the brick and mortar stores like Target, they went and added you know online ordering, curbside delivery, all those things.

Katie (18:30.862)

Curbside pickup. Goll that changed the game for me.

Bill Gelgota (18:33.672)

Bingo, they saw that as an opportunity to take care of the problem. The threat was COVID. Everybody faced it. They saw a way of taking that and turning it into an advantage based on their ability. So it can be plus or minus. Competition can be a threat or it can be an opportunity. In your market, is your competition weak?

in your field is your competition week, that's an opportunity. Hey, I can, you know, make hey, well the sunshine. On the other hand, if they're strong, how are you going? You've got to recognize that. How are you going to deal with it? How are you going to take advantage of it? Are there things that your competition is doing that you should or could be doing?

Katie (19:16.726)


Bill Gelgota (19:17.032)

You got to monitor your competition. And failure to do that, because I'm no best, again, I dealt with the auto industry. And I dealt with the auto industry in Detroit. And I dealt with corporate people that said, way back when, because I earned the gray hair along the way, the Asian markets, now they're not that critical. We don't have to worry about them. And they had their lunch taken. Absolutely.

Katie (19:40.106)

Are you kidding me? They dominate. Yeah. Really?

Bill Gelgota (19:45.32)

But that was an attitude, that was a prevailing attitude, that they didn't have to worry about it. So you can't ignore the competition. Monitor the competition, because that'll also give you some ideas of what you can take advantage of. Things that you may have not, you're going back to your other example, you didn't see it as a strength, but your competition is ignoring it. Wow, that just boosts something up the ladder right there.

Katie (20:12.194)

Well, and it's interesting what you're sharing is exactly what Rebecca Ryan, our futurist who we had on the show talked about. And she's like, if you went out of business tomorrow, what are the three things that your competition would immediately come in and do? And then why aren't you doing those right now? And I thought.

Bill Gelgota (20:19.461)

Oh, excellent.

Katie (20:27.862)

Gosh, that's so good. That's exactly what we should be doing. Think about what you need to be doing to stay ahead of that. And that's a huge opportunity. Because to your point, I think it's very easy in business to either stick your head in the sand and say, I'm just gonna do what I do and do it well. And there's nothing wrong with that. But there's also some relevance in understanding what your competition is doing in like, underline, highlight, and bold that statement. Because otherwise you're going to end up being an artifact of a bygone era.

Bill Gelgota (20:58.74)

And that's why I said earlier, you can't treat the SWOT analysis as a once and done activity. The market is dynamic. Exactly what you and your futurist identified, things change, people change, competition changes. At a minimum, in my experience, an annual SWOT analysis is probably a smart business practice.

Katie (21:06.158)


Bill Gelgota (21:22.36)

and monitoring all the way through and updating when necessary. Nobody could have anticipated COVID and it happened. So, yeah, that's a big threat that you better update and monitor and figure out how to address here. And now you can't wait for that annual event. So.

Katie (21:37.866)

I so agree. Every time there's a major shift, whether it's a socio, geo, whatever event it is, it's worth going back to your SWAT and saying, how does this impact what I'm doing today? And you can say, Oh, Katie, it's just little old me over here, like trying to figure this out. Like it doesn't impact me. And I would say, sit back for one hot minute, pour yourself a glass of beautiful wine, and then think, I bet it impacts you.

Or if it doesn't, there's an opportunity to be found in it. And a lot of people just aren't creative enough or gutsy enough to do that. But that's where you get that, I love it, a woman on our team coined this term, you guys have seen Diana on our webcast and she's just fabulous, but it's the extra 5%. If you will do the extra 5%, it's the differentiator between you and your competition. And sitting back to say, okay, there's been a shift in the market.

I'm gonna do the extra 5% of sitting with my SWAT and saying what opportunities do I perceive out of this? What threats do I perceive? And then acting accordingly can be a game changer if you're just willing to do it.

Bill Gelgota (22:44.212)

favorite quote of mine from an American humorist and somebody that you will probably enjoy because he was once called Oklahoma's favorite son, Will Rogers, is even if you're on the right track you'll get run over if you just sit there. And that's exactly what you're saying. Oh it's a it's a great one.

Katie (22:53.071)

Oh, good old Will Rogers.

Katie (23:00.03)

That's classic. It's so true. That's a great one. The one I love to always say is you can't steer a parked car. You got to get moving.

And sometimes in life, we get this paralysis of analysis. We can go into denial about things. We just don't want to deal with it. And the reality is, you can't choose a direction, because you're not even moving, sister. We've got to get this train of moving before we can even, yeah, exact same idea. I want to go back to that idea of roping this all and bringing this all together of the avatar. Once you've completed your demographic psychographic, you have an idea of what this individual would

Bill Gelgota (23:11.945)


Katie (23:40.936)

be like from your obviously very respected and professional opinion as both an educator and a practitioner is their value in creating an avatar and literally posting that avatar up on the wall of your studio so that you understand what you were doing and why or do you feel that is cliche

Bill Gelgota (23:42.164)


Bill Gelgota (24:02.412)

I happen to like it and marketing, we have a ton of buzzwords and that one's called a target persona. Oh, absolutely. So what you've done is, OK, we've gotten the target market. We've gone to the target audience and the persona is a subset of that audience.

Katie (24:08.83)

We love buzzwords. Yep.

Bill Gelgota (24:24.244)

They're based on demographic information and psychographic. So you have somebody that you can visualize. If you think about selling, or my background on the creative side, think about developing a creative ad. You're communicating with a person. The best communications are personalized, individualized. The persona allows you to create.

that ideal individual that you're going to communicate with and look to create the messages, the marketing messages that best resonate and reach and connect with that person. So yes, I think it's a very useful thing. People do visual boards with pictures of the person, the lifestyle, and all that. If that works for you, great. If you're that kind of visual person, fine. I can do well with the data set of that individual.

But I know that it's this individual with this background, not this one over here, which I'm going to talk to in a different way. So it's very important and it allows you to connect with the people when you need to.

Katie (25:34.942)

It's so incredibly important. For the sake of this conversation, we're going to name our target persona Bill. So let's just say we've got our target persona. We've narrowed down. It's Bill in Atlanta. And how do I as a designer, especially when you're starting out, I think you're starting out. But we're 10 years in. We're five years in. Maybe we're even 15 or almost 20 years, because like I said, there's a lot of hair to hide in the gray here.

Bill Gelgota (25:45.455)


Katie (26:03.414)

How do you keep apprised as to what your target market wants and needs are? Because they are constantly shifting. And I feel like they're shifting faster and faster and faster because we're getting marketed to more and more and more. And thanks to Pinterest and Instagram and Reels and TikTok and all these things, it's changing our perceptions faster, which as an industry can make it really hard to keep up. How have you found that you keep up with what is going on with your target market,

we're working in a visually based medium and world in what we do. And really most the world for that matter.

Bill Gelgota (26:40.2)

You've touched on several, I mean, I've mentioned in the past the importance of market research. You do focus groups, et cetera, et cetera. But you can also cheat the system a little bit and use those things that you were just citing, social media.

Where are you getting your information? Where you're seeing changes. It's your business. It's your industry. You know the things that you're looking at and reading. That tells you what's out there as a current. And then start looking on your website or your social media site. What are some of the inquiries that are coming from your customers? What are their competition doing? If you see these kind of things, I mean, you're trying to pick into somebody's brain.

Katie (26:58.839)


Katie (27:16.503)


Katie (27:24.886)


Bill Gelgota (27:25.29)

group where you're sitting down and listening to these people. And you can do it simple. MailChimp, there's a lot of other systems out there where you can do for modest costs.

conduct surveys, conduct research. But what you really have to do is be monitoring what people are saying in the social situations, in the social media. And if you've got a customer base, like you said, five, 10 years out, you've got a customer base, talk to them.

That's, I'm not going to say free research, but you can do your own focus groups that way. Years ago, we used a focus group set up by Wall Street Journal because they had an ongoing program with their people, had their own patterns of behaviors, and we would tap into that now and then.

Katie (27:59.079)

So true.

Bill Gelgota (28:19.336)

You've got a data set with your own web analytics, with your own customers. Ask them. The people that will respond, they will give you some information. And then what you have to do is list to that as opposed to what some of the other. I mean, it's always subjective. You're going to have to make the decisions. You're going to have to weigh the pros and cons. But it's something that you're going to want to do.

Katie (28:26.392)


Katie (28:39.51)


Katie (28:46.718)

Yeah, I think going back, especially to that existing customer base, I often joke, we collect clients, we like to keep them and not let go of them. Because if you do treat that client, right, which is, you know, mentioned earlier, like they will keep coming back for more, you do want to keep collecting those clients, but then they want to see you succeed too. Because the best relationships are the ones that feel like win wins, right? Whether it's personal, professional, it doesn't matter.

Bill Gelgota (29:02.581)


Katie (29:13.502)

If everybody feels like they're winning, it's a really fun relationship to be in, right? And so they're gonna wanna see you succeed, especially if you've helped them in their house, doing and building and helping them, quote unquote, succeed in their personal life, they're gonna be grateful for that. It's also a good top of consciousness thing, which we talk about a lot in marketing, but being top of consciousness to that target persona is really critical.

Bill Gelgota (29:18.848)


Bill Gelgota (29:40.388)

Yeah, I mean, what you want is an advocate, not just a customer, but an advocate for your brand. The way you do that is to continue a relationship. I mean, we talked behavioral segmentation where you've got, you know, usage patterns. How are they using? Are they a frequent buyer? You want them to be returning and talking about your brand, and you do that by continuing the relationship.

Katie (29:44.546)


Bill Gelgota (30:06.776)

So send out the email, send out even if it's an inquiry that says, hey, I value your opinion. Tell me you were happy with me. I want to hear more from you.

Katie (30:15.124)


I think that's so valuable, especially the emails. And this kind of goes down into the conversation to have just taking care of clients but, and back to collecting them. But once you found that target client, yes, nurture them. It is a delicate relationship and it's one that warrants your time. And it's always amazing to me too, how often in business in general, thank you notes are left out of the equation or a, hey, we really enjoy doing business with you on this. Thanks so much. Like that always surprises me.

Because I think it's such a lovely touch of a bygone era that people love. Yeah.

Bill Gelgota (30:48.125)

It's a relationship.

Bill Gelgota (30:53.608)

I mean, you're trying to build a relationship. You're trying to individualize and personalize your relationship with that customer and all your customers. That's a simple fix. But you reminded me something else. We've talked about the segmentation. You talked about your customer base that you currently have, and you've looked at the age, you've looked at the income.

Katie (31:08.663)


Bill Gelgota (31:17.636)

If you're happy with more of the same, then keep doing what you're doing. If you want to change, you now know where you are, where do you want to go? So if going, if you're, you know, at the work

Katie (31:28.194)

That's brilliant.

Bill Gelgota (31:33.008)

working era, you know, the 18 to 45, 60 age range, and you want to go bigger, that tells you, you got to start going 65 plus. So you've got data things. It all depends what you want to do with it.

Katie (31:48.694)

Well, and then when you go to spend those marketing dollars, you can ask, hey, who's your target market for such and such? I don't want to say publication because we don't do publications much anymore. But who's your audience? Who is your audience? What are their ages? What are they spending? What are their gender? I mean, you can ask for that. And then it's so easy to say, oh, well, I have Bill in Atlanta over here as my avatar. And does this match what Bill in Atlanta, what I know about Bill in Atlanta?

All of a sudden that becomes a very easy way to make a business decision about whether or not you should or should not be spending these marketing dollars in this place, yes or no? I mean, I think it just, it's a game changer because it's gonna give you the tool you need to then know where to go to spend those hard earned marketing dollars.

Bill Gelgota (32:35.816)

and you've touched on a key point, it's not what's easiest media-wise choice for you, it's where you're going to find that customer. If that's where your avatar bill is getting the information, if that avatar is on Instagram or Pinterest or Facebook, that's where you're going to want to be, so you can connect with them. It's not gonna do you any good if you're not there. Just like you're on LinkedIn, which is wonderful.

Katie (32:57.799)


Where do you see? Yeah, I love LinkedIn. I'm not going to lie. And it's interesting as we're seeing more and more residential designers start to wander into that arena too. I'm starting to see more of it. And I think it makes complete sense.

Bill Gelgota (33:15.648)

Sure. You were going to ask a question.

Katie (33:17.194)

So where do you see, yeah, solopreneurs, or I'm starting out in my business, where does this go off the rails for them? Is it the fear of starting? Is it that I'm not checking in on my target market often enough and conducting my SWOT analysis once a year, which sounds arduous and it's not. In fact, we're gonna provide some tools for that over on our site, but.

How do you, I mean, where do you see this going wrong? Is it the intimidation factor? Or is it that we just don't know what we just don't know?

Bill Gelgota (33:52.636)

It could be paralysis through analysis, something that you've touched on, where they think, oh my gosh, I've got to get tons of information before I can make that first step. That may be true, but chances are, get a good start and take that first step. You've got to begin somewhere. It goes back to the Will Rogers. If you just sit there, nothing is ever going to happen. So you have to take that first step.

Katie (34:11.608)



Bill Gelgota (34:22.652)

You have to get over, sure there's a fear, but you've already conquered that fear by starting the business in the beginning. I mean, you've made that commitment. Now you've got to fulfill on the commitment that you've already made. It's a matter of taking that first step. And everything that old saw, every journey begins with a single step. That's your first step.

Katie (34:45.534)

It's so true. Okay, I'm gonna throw out common marketing objections and you can shoot them down with one-liners. We'll do a little bit of fun rapid fire here. It's gonna be but Bill. But Bill, I don't want to spend the money because I just started my business.

Bill Gelgota (35:04.464)

If you don't spend the money for marketing, you're not going to have a business to worry about because your competition will be out there. They will be spending. They will be aggressive. You've got to do something to make sure that you are there. Awareness is the first step in a purchase process. If you're not, if your customers, your potential customers aren't aware you exist and you get that by doing marketing efforts, you aren't going to exist.

Katie (35:35.35)

But Bill, what if I get this wrong?

Bill Gelgota (35:40.628)

then you change. I mean, marketers do business, beta test, all sorts of things all the time. If you get it wrong, you learn from that and you move on. If you don't, again, it gets back to if you don't do anything, you're not going to get anywhere. If you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there. So if you have an idea, try that. And if that's not the right road, back up.

Katie (36:01.3)


Bill Gelgota (36:10.704)

the next one and so on. It's trial and error in many cases true but you've got to keep moving forward.

Katie (36:18.514)

Okay, and my last one is, but Bill, I'm scared to spend the money, but I'm just genuinely, I'm not a professional marketer. Are you sure I can do this?

Bill Gelgota (36:36.048)

I worked at agencies, I was a consultant. So, I mean, my bias is you can always tap into professionals. Okay. But on an individual basis, do the research, get yourself up to speed and give it a try. Again, social media is an inexpensive way to get your message out there, but it still takes effort. It's not.

Katie (36:43.828)


Bill Gelgota (37:04.036)

It's free once you've got it rolling and people are filling in for you. But to make it successful, you've got to put the time, sometimes that means the money of buying the people that are helping you post, creating the videos, etc. It all depends on your expertise, but you've got to put it out there so you can be seen. If nobody knows you're there, nobody's going to consider your business.

Katie (37:31.154)

I totally agree with you. The thing that pains my heart the most is when I see someone who's brave enough to hang out their own shingle and start their own business, and they think that because they've done that, people are going to show up. And one thing we always talk about in marketing is you have to tell them, hey, I'm going to hang out a shingle. And then, oh, hey, this is the day I'm going to hang out the shingle. And then, oh, I would like you to come and I'm going to give you an incentive to come, whether it's financial or we're doing a really bougie happy hour. Oh, and then once you come, I'm going to give you a reason to use my services.

And then I'm gonna give you a reason to use my services again. There's this whole process to it. And it used to be, you know, hundreds of years ago, you hung out a shingle and, oh my gosh, this is so great, we have this business and people would come find you out of necessity, right? It is a whole new world and if you're not out there, you know, singing from the rafters about what you're up to and how you can help people and what you wanna do, you're just gonna end up to your point, getting run over on the tracks.

Bill Gelgota (38:26.664)

Absolutely right. In the old days, maybe if you built a better mousetrap, they would beat the door and find it. Not anymore, because there's a lot of very good mousetraps out there. And if they don't know yours exist, those others will do just fine. So you've got to tell them why your mousetrap is better than their mousetrap and beat that drum.

Katie (38:48.758)

100% a great conversation bill. Thank you so much for your time. It means more than you know, we really appreciate it

Bill Gelgota (38:54.452)

Thank you, Katie. My pleasure. Thanks, Katie.

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