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Marketing Challenges When Targeting Aspirational Prospects

Updated on February 15, 2019
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Heidi Thorne is an author and business speaker specializing in sales and marketing topics for coaches, consultants, and solopreneurs.


Aspirational Ants

You've got a product or service that would be purchased as one moves toward achieving some significant personal or business goal. Just one big problem: Up until this watershed moment that they move toward this goal, they may not exhibit any behaviors that demonstrate their interest. Their intentions are all in their heads.

While this could be said of almost any product or service, there are some situations where this is more likely to occur and drive sales and marketing people crazy:

  • Employees who think they can do their employer's job cheaper, better or faster by going into business for themselves someday.
  • Couples who are thinking about getting married, divorced or having a child.
  • Those who are thinking about going back to college to train for a completely different career path.
  • Homeowners who are thinking about moving and selling their homes.
  • A budding entrepreneur who's developing a great new product in his garage.
  • An adult caregiver who wants to find a safe and comfortable home for an aging or ill parent, spouse or loved one.

These are all common scenarios in the general population. Yet note how all these aspirational thoughts and actions are typically occurring in private. Also note that each will need to invest in various products and services—often lots of them!—to accomplish their goals.

Sadly, for marketers, these people will rarely show up on any demographic radar because they may only discuss their dreams with a handful of friends and family if they discuss it publicly at all.

Aspirational prospects are like ants. They're everywhere. But if forced to go an find one ant, it could be quite a task!

Aspirational prospects are like ants. They're everywhere. But if forced to go an find one ant, it could be quite a task!

— Heidi Thorne

One-Hit Wonders

Compounding the marketing challenges with this crowd is that the products and services to serve them are often "one-hit wonder" purchases, in other words, they're purchased once (or only a few times) in a lifetime. An example would be wedding dresses.

So the marketing trick is being able to be at the right place at that magical moment when they flip from aspirers to buyers.

Internet Advertising and SEO Keywords to the Rescue!

Luckily for today's marketers, it's getting easier to reach these previously unreachable folks. Why? Because aspirational prospects such as brides-to-be, parents-to-be, wannabe business owners, troubled couples, adult caregivers and the college bound will likely turn to their best "friend" to get answers to their private questions and concerns: The Internet.

Internet advertising fueled by targeting highly relevant SEO keywords can be effective. Plus, with remarketing, those who search for specific terms and keywords can be targeted to receive multiple views of ads that relate to their search. But key to these efforts is selecting the right SEO keywords. Tools such as Google AdWords Keyword Planner can help home in on those keywords and phrases that could be good candidates.

In addition to advertising, business' websites need to include these target SEO keywords in their content and meta tags to get indexed by Google and other search engines for organic search purposes. This can be a very effective and cost-effective marketing effort to lure elusive aspirational prospects.

Get Your Marketing Story Straight

Regardless of whether marketing to aspirational types is done online or offline, ALL marketing efforts must have a consistent message that speaks to emotional needs. Each of the example scenarios are significant life decisions with strong emotional motivators. Psychographic analysis of target prospect pools can be helpful in developing a marketing "story" that appeals to these people's internal dialogue and desires.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2015 Heidi Thorne


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