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The Importance of Knowing your Audience

Posted on 29 Nov 2012 | Author Stefanie | Comments 1 comment | Tags

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The Importance of Knowing your AudienceI found this funny website with Crazy Translations and it got me to thinking about why it’s so crucial to understand your target market.

Picture this: You’re a big-shot marketing honcho at General Motors in the ‘70s.  One of the global car retailer’s best-selling models is the Chevy Nova.  Comfortable, conservatively stylish for its day, it’s a car that’s on the move – so to speak.  Your territory is Latin America and you’re excited to offer this fine vehicle to our neighbors to the south.  You hop a flight from Detroit south of the border because you just can’t wait for the dealers to greet you like the conquering hero you know you are.  You walk proudly into the first dealership and ask the manager about Nova sales.  “Nunca (none),” he says.  You’re sure “nunca” is the word for “thousands.”  You ask the interpreter for a translation.  “None,” he says, “the dealer has not sold one Nova.”  What?! How can that be possible?!  In the states, dealers can scarcely keep enough on the showroom floor!  Why haven’t they sold any?

“Well,” explains the interpreter sheepishly, “No-va in Spanish means: Doesn’t go.”

The morale of this famous business blunder is clear: know your customers, know your niche target market. And, this is important, know them before you spend millions in research, development, production and marketing!

Being successful in a business venture takes more than a knowledge of the market, it starts with a knowledge of people – the buyers, the final customer –  Each person plays a unique role in your ultimate success – as well as a unique perspective on your product or service’s plusses and minuses based on the observations from where they sit.  Talk with them.  Visit them.  Listen to them.  Communication  is key.

Things to think about:
• Think outside the norm. Who could benefit from your info, but no-one is teaching them?
• Where do they hang out & their lifestyle? (Locate companies that reach your target market)
• What are the commonalities of why customers come to you for help?
• Find out if there is a market for your product by seeing how many people search for your keywords.

Just ask the Scandinavian manufacturer Electrolux who once launched their newest vacuum in the U.S. with the slogan: “Nothing Sucks Like an Electrolux.”

You bet.

Other Big Marketing Brands and Funny Translations:

Clairol introduced the “Mist Stick,” a curling iron, into Germany only to find out that “mist” is slang for manure. Not too many people had use for the “Manure Stick.”

Coors put its slogan, “Turn It Loose,” into Spanish, where it was read as “Suffer From Diarrhea.”

Pepsi’s “Come Alive With the Pepsi Generation” translated into “Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back From the Grave” in Chinese.

When Gerber started selling baby food in Africa, they used the same packaging as in the US, with the smiling baby on the label. Later they learned that in Africa, companies routinely put pictures on the labels of what’s inside, since many people can’t read.

Colgate introduced a toothpaste in France called Cue, the name of a notorious porno magazine

When American Airlines wanted to advertise its new leather first class seats in the Mexican market, it translated its “Fly In Leather” campaign literally, which meant “Fly Naked” (vuela en cuero) in Spanish.

An American T-shirt maker in Miami printed shirts for the Spanish market which promoted the Pope’s visit. Instead of “I saw the Pope” (el Papa), the shirts read “I Saw the Potato” (la papa).

The Dairy Association’s huge success with the campaign “Got Milk?” prompted them to expand advertising to Mexico. It was soon brought to their attention the Spanish translation read “Are You Lactating?”

The Coca-Cola name in China was first read as “Kekoukela”, meaning “Bite the Wax Tadpole” or “Female Horse Stuffed with Wax”, depending on the dialect. Coke then researched 40,000 characters to find a phonetic equivalent “kokoukole”, translating into “Happiness in the Mouth.”

Article Written by Stefanie Hartman www.stefaniehartman.com
Photo source: Microsoft Clip Art

2011 ©  Stefanie Hartman Enterprises Inc.  You may republish this article, if you keep the article intact as is and credit the authors name and website: “Stefanie Hartman” and website: www.stefaniehartman.com.  Thank you.

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