No business succeeds without an effective relationship with the customer. In order to market, to grow your business, and adjust to changes in the industry, you need to be connected and truly understand your target market.
Although the 20th century often focused on mass marketing rather than individualized products and messages, we’re seeing a change. With the pressure of huge conglomerates, the only way for a new business to thrive is for it to carve out its own special corner of the world.
Narrow Your Focus
Many businesses, sales reps, and ad campaigns will state that they target anyone and everyone who’s interested. Others state that they aim at stay-at-home moms, or baby boomers. However, an effective target market is much more narrow than that. You want to identify income, age, values, and challenges. Know your customer’s motivation and how they react to fluctuations in the market. Understand their habits, and their self-image. Only then will you thrive and build something that truly adds value to others.
Tips for Research
So how do you identify this elusive crew? Here are some great places to get started:
- Reach out on social media. Talk with your followers and fans. See what others are saying about you and your brand.
- Host a focus group. Although professional focus group services can be expensive, you can do it yourself on any scale. If you’re starting small, ask your friends and family to participate, and discuss your business model to see who it appeals to the most and how it can answer the needs of diverse people.
- Survey your current customers and learn all you can about them. Look for trends and patterns in the people who buy your product or service.
- If you don’t have a huge current customer base yet, look at your competitors, or similar products and services. Who’s their audience?
- Take a good look at your company – the people who work for you and are passionate about your business. What are your strengths? What do you have specialty in? Sometimes this is regional knowledge, sometimes it’s design that makes you stand out above the rest. Sometimes it’s a finger on the pulse of what’s new and current. Sometimes it’s steadiness and reliability. Who is looking for those strengths? Whose values echo your own?
Build a Profile
Once you’ve done your research, create a detailed profile. Pretend like you’re creating a Facebook profile or a dating profile for your ideal customer. Get to know this person really well. Give them a name. Decide where they live, and how they spend their day. What are their hopes and fears? What sets them apart from others? Who’s in their immediate circle? What’s their family like? What are their values? What’s their ethnicity, income, and relationship status?
It sounds silly to create this person, when obviously, everyone is different and there are aspects of your business and your market that will develop and grow. However, defining your target is a powerful tool to help you evaluate developments in the company and in the product or service that you provide. It will help you market more effectively and not just get attention, but get attention from the right people that will help to build your company.