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By: Stephen Given, stephen@thewaltongroupinc.com

A red person stands out in a crowd holding a sign reading Customers, symbolizing the targeting of consumers in a marketing campaign

Businesses have to stand out from the crowd

Sometimes entrepreneurs mistakenly believe that their business needs appeal to everyone. They are afraid to exclude anyone by having a specific focus. However, this way of thinking actually hurts business. Your company cannot be generic. In order to really reach customers, businesses have to stand out from the crowd. One way they do this is through target marketing.

Target marketing is identifying who your customers are and how you can best appeal to them. Everything in your business, including your marketing, customer service and even store layout should be focused on appealing to your target market.

Identifying Your Target Market
Identifying your target market can be difficult especially when your business has just started off. Fortunately, we live in a world full of information. Research your competitors and see who buys from them. Pay attention to who is being left out but still needs the service or product. Going after these niche markets can be hugely beneficial. Identify your market’s age, gender, geography, income and lifestyle. By researching the overall target market you can find the area that is least targeted and advertise there. Never expect people to just come to you. Make sure to narrow your target market to avoid generalizing people. You can never just assume that you know your target market without doing any research.

Missing the Market
A professor I had once told us about a business that asked for research for how they could better improve their website. They sold a special protein supplement through their website and identified their target market as muscle-building young men. The main page of their website showed a muscular, oiled up, mean looking guy. After researching the business’ customer base and the overall market, my professor found that their target market was completely off. It turned out that fitness-focused stay-at-home moms were the real customers. That is quite a difference, and without proper research, this company would have never known to go after that market.

Key to Success
Identifying your specific target market is crucial for success. Take time to really research them. Keep track of what kind of people use your product, service, or who come into your store. In the end, knowing your market will save you money and resources by allowing you to really focus your marketing efforts.

For more information about finding your target market, contact The Walton Group, Inc., a media relations and marketing firm in Provo, Utah.


What is the relationship between the media and public relations?

public relation practitioners work the media to frame news stories

Media Relations promotes organizations

A study in The Wall Street Journal by the Columbia Journalism Review noted that 45 percent of the new stories in the one edition they studied were generated from a news release.

In Provo, Utah, the local daily newspaper, The Daily Herald, doesn’t have the circulation or revenue like The Wall Street Journal, but they still have to report the news.

How do they get their news? 

With only a handful of reporters and a reduced number of reporters, daily newspapers throughout the US still rely on public relations practitioners for new stories.

What is the relationship between the media and public relations?

Editors, reporters and public relations practitioners coexist to help one another.  Their mutually beneficial relationship is vital for the reporting on the news.

Editors need stories to pitch to their reporters, and public relations practitioners need the media to tell their stories.  This fact is the same here in Provo Utah and throughout the world.

Media Relations is the act of communicating to the masses through the various media medians.  This relationship public relations practitioners have with the media is beneficial for both parties, because it serves as a way to inform the public.

Small businesses and corporations need media relations, no matter how small or large their companies are.

Media relations will help a small business stand out and increase revenue. There is more to media relations than just writing news releases.

The Walton Group, Inc. is a Media Relations & Marketing firm in Provo, Utah.  They specialize in public relations, advertising, graphic design, event coordination and much more.  For more information, or for a free estimate, contact The Walton Group, Inc.  Follow us on Twitter @TheWaltonGroup, and #WaltonTalk and on Facebook, The Walton Group.

In the field of public relations, we are often accused of spinning the truth or of withholding information. We would like to set the record straight – we do not spin the truth or withhold information at The Walton Group, Inc. Journalism is accused of the same problems.

As professionals, we know that, if a mistake is made, you come forward with the truth and an apology. That was demonstrated through recent happenings with NBC’s Brian Williams.

Williams made a statement back in 2003, that while he was covering the war in Iraq his helicopter was hit by enemy fire. However, recently Williams came forward and admitted that what he said back in 2003, was inaccurate.  It was discovered that Williams’ helicopter was following the actual targeted helicopter. This misstated story has now impacted the integrity of his entire career. This new information also led NBC to suspend Williams without pay for six months.

PR professionals that represent NBC and Brian Williams should be dedicated to telling the truth. In public relations we are in charge of bringing forth information that the public may or may not want to hear. Because of this position, PR professionals can receive whiplash from the public suggesting we are only lying for our client.

When looking at the PRSA code of ethics, it states the core values of any PR professional include:

  • Serving public interest
  • Honesty
  • Professional development
  • Objectivity
  • Faithfulness
  • Fairness

These are the principles on which PR professionals build their career.

At the Walton Group, Inc. we make it a priority to always tell the truth and to represent our client in every situation. We believe that mistakes are made by people every day, but that just because someone makes a mistake doesn’t mean that they should receive career-ending punishment. Everyone has faults. We need to see beyond those faults and learn from mistakes – education never ends.

Darts_in_a_dartboard“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.” –John Wanamaker

Wanamaker, an 1890s marketing pioneer, made that statement in a time when less sophisticated research methods existed, but also when the stakes were much lower.

Targeting the correct audience plays an even bigger role in society today as organizations have to compete amongst the clamor of every other TV spot and web advertisement.

The Super Bowl is renowned for having the most clever commercials of the entire year because 111 million people tune in. But if you’re selling panic buttons for the elderly, the majority of those 111 million people will tune your message out. If you want to advertise to children, but your commercials appear during the 6 o’clock news, you won’t reach your intended audience.

Advertising is not about reaching the largest number of people possible. It’s about reaching the right people.

Obstinate audience theory

Obviously you have to choose the correct time and channels to communicate with the right audience, but your messages must be tailor-made to appeal to them. What are your target audience’s self interests? What makes them tick?

According to the obstinate audience theory, the audience actively selects which messages to pay attention to and which messages to ignore. You may reach them, but whether it goes in one ear and out the other is another deal.

You cannot appeal to everyone, so figure out who you do want to appeal to, plan to target the right audience and implement your plan.



Quiznos recently rolled out its latest advertising campaign, Toasty.TV, a series of parody videos that have absolutely nothing to do with sandwiches.

Most viewers will see the Quiznos parodies, “House of Thrones,” “The Waze Runner” and “Mad X-Men,” among others, as they wait for their YouTube video to load. The videos provide three minutes of entertainment, then leave viewers confused as to why a sandwich shop is making parodies. Quiznos’ explanation may leave them more confused than before.

“Welcome to Toasty.TV … So what do you have here in front of you then, you ask? The latest from Quiznos – fired up entertainment, music, arts, sports and film – all served up with as much flavor as one our tasty subs. So kickback and have yourself a toasty time,” reads the Toast.TV website.

Did Quiznos advertising department specifically draw up a plan to divert attention from its actual product or was it a complete oversight?

Quiznos’ advertising has a history of going where no company has gone before. “The Consumerist” ranked Quiznos’ ‘Singimals’  commercial as runner-up for the “Worst Ad In America 2010.” Its 2004 ‘Spongemonkey’ commercial gained laughs, but did it attract or repel potential customers?

The company once enjoyed an even playing field with Subway, but stiff competition may be forcing Quiznos to play the “any press is good press” game. Quiznos declared bankruptcy in March 2014, but regained its foothold this July. The question remains, “Is its quirky advertising method actually working?”

Quiznos defended its ‘Singimals’ commercial against The Consumerist’s ranking. “Quiznos has a history of edgy advertising and is not afraid to make a bold statement … The Singimals Cats commercial attracted millions of fans who continue to enjoy the craveable tastes of Quiznos at a great value.”

Either Quiznos’ advertising efforts are the only thing keeping the company alive, or it’s the very thing keeping them from attaining success.

polls & surveys

ConsoleFollowing the same outreach program year after year, is at best called a routine and at worst, a rut.

It’s inevitable you’ll hit a wall when trying to promote your brand – that’s when it’s time to call in the professionals. Here are four signs that you need to push reset on your PR efforts. 

#1 You act based on assumptions

Research is the first step of public relations methodology. It should shape your entire campaign. If you simply formulate a plan around assumptions and stereotypes, it’s flawed from the beginning and ultimately doomed to fail.

PR research can be exuberantly expensive, but Dr. Walter K. Lindenmann of the Institute for Public Relations explains how to do it without paying through the nose in Research Doesn’t Have To Put You In The Poor House.

#2 Press releases are your default method

Editors get pummeled with hundreds of press releases every week, most of which never get read. You and your company may be bursting-at-the-seams excited about your new product release, but ask yourself, “Why should anyone else care?”

Waiting to send a press release until you actually have something to say, rather than spamming editors’ inboxes will end better for both parties. You will increase your chances of getting published and they won’t blacklist you.

Maybe you do have something newsworthy, but your release only talks about yourself. Newspapers don’t like to run stories that seem like ads; they’re more interested in issues that affect their audience. Chances are, your company doesn’t affect the public at large. Tying your news release to local and national trends will make it relevant.

#3 You’re heavy on tactics and light on strategy

Even the dullest of people can get in a circle and brainstorm out-of-this-world-creative ideas, but you don’t need the most creative idea; you need the right idea for the right time.

Your tactics must be tied to your strategies and your strategies to your objectives. If your tactics don’t connect to a bigger picture, your efforts aren’t strategic. Don’t use the shotgun method; be specific.

#4 You evaluate based on output, not outcome

If you advertised during the Super Bowl this year, 111 million people saw your ad. But how many paid attention? How many cared? How many changed their behavior? A lot fewer than 111 million did. AVE, or Advertising Value Equivalency, is not a relevant PR measurement tool.

Getting word out to as many people as possible isn’t important when your company targets a niche. Everything you do from the messages you send and the channels you send them through must be tailored to your niche’s self interests.

There are many precedents that die hard, but in the constantly changing field of public relations, conventional methods must be scrapped to make way for efficacy and relevancy.

What do Brazil, Argentina, France, Switzerland, Italy, and the U.S. all have in common? Their 2014 World Cup teams beat the opposition and moved one step closer to winning the World Cup.  To advance in the World Cup a team needs to be fast, strong, effective and diligent. However, a team of stars does not a championship make; a winning team has to work together, especially in a sport full of quick turnovers and no timeouts.

An effective soccer team must have strong players filling every position. The defenders must be able to adapt, to work together to defend the goal or delay the oppositions attack to get more players behind the ball. Midfielders have to muscle the ball up field, keeping it away from the other team while moving it closer to the strikers. Strikers must have the speed and accuracy to pass defenders and score

So how is a good soccer team like an effective marketing strategy?


Both require multiple components working together in perfect synchronization, always progressing toward a single well-defined goal. If your marketing strategy relies too heavily on only one avenue you may be missing a huge chunk of your audience, like a soccer team relying too heavily on a few key players will score less goals. In the same breath, if you are using multiple marketing avenues but they aren’t communicating a coordinated message, it’s like passing the ball to the wrong team. Your potential customers won’t understand why they should use your product and will look for another product or company to fill their need.

How to develop a winning marketing strategy

Like an effective soccer team, each part of your marketing strategy must work together to accomplish a well-defined goal. Here are four aspects of a marketing plan that are essential to the success of your company.

Media Relations – The Goalie – The Goalie can either be the hero or the villain of the game. He has to perform at his peak every game, week in and week out. The game rests on his shoulders. Likewise, media relations must be a constant factor in any marketing strategy, working to gain your company or product recognition for their successes. A good media relations team can help your company be a hero in the public’s eyes, but if your media relations team is ill-prepared, a crisis could end up portraying your company as a villain.

Advertising – The Defenders- Being a defender requires a special brand of soccer skills. You must be powerful, disciplined and focused. Defenders keep the opposition from dominating the game. They are the base of any soccer team. Powerful, focused advertising drives your message through the opposition and makes you stand out from the competition. Advertising creates a strong brand image that customers will remember.

Social Media – Midfielders – Midfielders are the link between defense and attack. They fall back and push forward as the game demands, providing the flexibility a team needs to move towards the goal but also defend their position. Effective social media is the link between you and your consumers. It provides you with a direct look at your consumer base and what they think about your company, whether they are interested in it or not.

Content Marketing – Strikers – Strikers are the stars of the game, the position every kid on a soccer team dreams of playing. They must be fast and strategic, pushing towards the goal and using their teammates to find an opening and score. Content marketing should be the star of your marketing strategy. Generating content that is important and interesting to your consumers shows that you aren’t peddling a mediocre product, but that your company has a passion for excellence and cares about your consumers.

Yesterday, baseball fans everywhere felt like a little kid on Christmas morning as the first pitches of Major League Baseball season were thrown.  Millions tuned in to watch their favorite teams start the season off on a winning note.  The unique thing about baseball is, there is no salary cap to what teams can spend; if teams are willing to pay it, players can make it.  That’s why many of the big names in baseball end up playing for teams that have serious money to spend, like the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox.   But is the big money and big market teams necessarily the best route for players to go?  Arguments can be made for both sides, but for the sake of this post, I’m going to say, no (that is unless the player is in it just for the money and not for the love of the game).


To illustrate my point, I’m going to compare two Major League Baseball teams, the Los Angeles Angles and the Oakland A’s. Over the past few years, the Los Angeles Angles organization has spent a pretty penny on bringing in high profile names in attempt to get their team to the World Series.  This season alone, the Angels have one of the highest payrolls in Major League Baseball, at almost $156 million.  The only problem is that their big spending and big names haven’t produced the winning seasons they had hoped for.  They ended up in 10th place during the 2012 season and last year they ended up 17th overall. The Oakland A’s on the other hand, who have the sixth lowest payroll in all of baseball at just over $83 million, don’t necessarily have the big names and big money, but do have the winning season.  For the last two years, the A’s have been the American League West Division Champions and they have the talent to do it again this year.  It just goes to show that bigger isn’t necessarily always better.

The same goes for PR firms.  You have your large and small PR firms, and you have to decide which will be better for your company.  While many would think that going with the large firm is the way to go, that isn’t necessarily true.  While there are definitely benefits going with a large firm, I believe there are unique qualities that small firms bring to the plate that highly benefit the client.

Those benefits include:

  • Smaller size allows for direct access to the CEO/President.
  • The people that pitch new business will also be the force behind your account.  They will have a more personal relationship with you.
  • Team members learn all aspects of the job and don’t just specialize in one category.  This allows for more versatility.
  • A smaller team allows for a more personal touch since you’re working closer with the owner and select team.
  • The team is able to be more flexible and available to work with you on your account.
  • Smaller PR firms are usually cheaper than larger firms, but can produce the same quality of work.
  • A small PR firm is like having another employee, except its cheaper and you get multiple people working on a project instead of just one.

Though there are advantages to having a big name agency working on a project, the benefits and uniqueness of a smaller firm may just be the homerun you’re hoping for.  Just as the Oakland A’s have produced wins as a small market team, a small PR firm can produce the wins necessary to help you reach your communication objectives.  It’s true what they say, great things can come in small packages.

Abducted at knife-point from her home in Salt Lake City and held captive for nine months, Elizabeth Smart faced unimaginable adversity.  Her story is one of the most followed child abduction cases of our time.  Now, 12 years later, Elizabeth will share her courageous story at Heritage school February 6th at 7 p.m.

Smart’s keynote address is part of the first annual ‘Heritage Heroes’ Fundraising Dinner.  Her speech will not only tell her personal story, but also discuss topics such as overcoming adversity, the importance and process of recovery, and not allowing your past to dictate your life’s future. Smart knows that there is nothing more important than having hope in a difficult situation.

Before Smart’s keynote address, she will be visiting with Heritage School’s “This Girl” program. The “This Girl” program was developed to empower young women receiving treatment at Heritage and to help them recognize their self worth.  Heritage has approximately 60 girls currently in the program and this year the participants of the program have chosen to focus on one topic per month.  Each month will bring different speakers, workshops, and activities focusing on the chosen topics.

Elizabeth will speak February 6, at 7 p.m. at the Loveland Performing Arts Center at Heritage School, 5600 N. Heritage School Drive, Provo.  All proceeds from the evening will benefit Heritage School’s therapeutic programs for at-risk youth.  Tickets for the fundraising dinner and keynote address can be purchased online at www.heritagertc.org/elizabethsmart  or by calling 801-226-4663.



Once again, the holidays have quickly passed by and we find ourselves in a new year. With this new year comes reflection and opportunity; reflection on the accomplishments and difficulties over the past year and how learning from them leads to new opportunities. Reflecting and looking over the past year is a way that individuals learn and grow from their successes and mistakes; it’s how they push themselves to achieve new heights. Businesses should also take time to step back and reflect on the events of the previous year that affected their company.

Running a business is no walk in the park. If you were to ask any successful business owner if they have ever made a mistake they would most definitely laugh and say “of course”. Mistakes will come naturally in a business, but it’s what you learn from those mistakes and how you correct them going forward that leads to new opportunities. The beginning of the year is a good time for companies to review and make changes where necessary. Improving upon customer engagement and creating new business development will help lead any company to a successful year. In addition, companies should continually monitor ways to connect with their key publics. This practice of an internal review helps keep things fresh and ensures the company is doing everything it can to become more profitable and visible.

To start 2014 on a high note, The Walton Group, Inc. is hosting a free seminar to help businesses develop and fine tune their strategic communication plans. The seminar will be highlighting different techniques and tools necessary to help businesses become more visible, engage with customers, and create new business opportunities. The seminar will be held at the Riverside Country Club in Provo on January 23rd, 2014. To find out more information and register for the event go to http://bit.ly/1bCt8zB