The Secret Tool of Effective Marketing to Actually Reach Your Target Audience

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We don’t really hear the word “transformation” anymore unless we’re talking about spiritual principles, butterflies, or the Transformer franchise.



But it’s such a great word! Transformation is exactly what should happen when your target audience comes in contact with your company, products, and services. And in reality, that’s what often happens! However, if your target audience doesn’t know that before they’re your clients, you may miss out on the opportunity to start the conversation. 

So if you’re still reading this because you want to know how to reach your target audience effectively, I’m here to introduce you to 8 Signal’s favorite ad copy tool: the Before/After Transformation Grid. 

What is the Before/After Transformation Grid? 

The Before/After Transformation Grid is a strategic marketing tool that uncovers the significant wants and needs of your target audience. Then, it shows how your products and services eliminate or satisfy those needs, thus transforming your client’s lives — clever, right? 


So how does the The Before/After Transformation Model really help you connect with and engage your potential clients? Great question! It uncovers the deepening layers of how your products and services revolutionize your client’s lives, therefore transforming them into raving fans of your company. Like onions. Onions have layers. But so does tiramisu. 

It sounds simple enough, right? So simple that you might be asking, Why do you need to tell me this?

(Okay, rude question, but point taken.) 

Most businesses don’t market the actual value their products are providing for their customers. Instead, they focus on the features, amenities, and surface-level benefits of their products, completely missing the opportunity for compelling messaging and potential sales. No matter how amazing the features of your products and services are, your target audience will lose interest if they don’t see how it addresses their underlying needs. 

That’s why you need the Before/After Transformation Grid.

The Before/After Transformation Grid helps guide your interactions with your target audience by focusing on this simple principle for how to reach your target audience: 

“Create compelling content that highlights how your products and services satisfy the deepest needs and unspoken desires of your target audience.” 

Or in other words… 

“Talk less about you (your products and services) and more about them (how you see their needs and are ready to solve them).”

As you progress down each deepening layers of the Before/After Transformation Grid, you discover the true motivations that make your products and services compelling to your target audience. Then, you communicate those compelling solutions to them — that’s how to reach your ideal buyers. 

How do I build a Before/After Transformation Grid?

The best way to start building a Before/After Transformation Grid is to create it alongside your Buyer Persona, since that document will give you ample insight into the needs and wants of your target audience. Then, hop down to the bottom of this post (or click here) to download our free Before/After Transformation Workbook to get started. 

Gather your A-team (again!)

Speaking of our previous blog post on the Buyer Persona, you’ll see that this is the same starting point for creating your Buyer Persona. No, that’s not cause we’re lazy (I didn’t copy & paste ANY of this, thank you very much!). 

The benefits of collaboration are just too great to ignore when creating strategic documents like the Buyer Persona and the Before/After Transformation Grid. So, in addition to your leadership team, we recommend that you gather the team members that are on the first line of customer interaction (e.g. sales, customer support) in your company. This is the #1 way to get accurate, multi-perspective feedback on what your customers’ needs are. 

Brainstorm your product’s transformational value

While brainstorming your Before/After Transformation Model (ideally at the same time as your Buyer Persona), ask probing questions to understand how your products and services serve your client’s intrinsic needs and desires. 

Here are some great questions to get the brainstorming started:

  • What sales pitches and/or ad content is really working for us right now? What’s not? What are the key attributes of each that our target audience is connecting/disconnecting with? 
  • What aspect of our products and services do customers complain about? How is our product failing to transform their life for the better? 
  • How long do clients stay will us, and why do they leave? 

Keep it concise

While you’re writing out the before/after stages, summarize each section in one to two sentences, if possible. You want this Before/After Transformation Model to be a short-and-sweet summary of how your business changes your customer’s lives for the better. 

If you can’t explain the before state or after state of each level in a maximum of two sentences, chances are you’re trying to combine elements that belong in two or three different levels. Try breaking them apart until you fill out each level in two sentences or less. 

Put it to the test!

If you’re creating a Before/After Transformation Grid to find how to reach your target audience, it’s time to check and see if your hard work is finished or if it needs refinement. Start weaving the content from the lower levels, (particularly the Status and Good Vs. Evil levels), as talking points with leads and ad campaigns and monitor the effect it has on your sales conversion rate. 

If you’re still struggling to create a Before/After Transformation Grid after walking through the steps in this blog post, be sure you download our FREE Before/After Transformation Grid! And if you’re still confused, here’s a straightforward how-to video from our friends at Digital Marketer. Now get brainstorming!