What Makes a Business Successful? Part 3: Knowing & Understanding Your Target Market
Knowing who your targeted customer is and what their needs are is the key to marketing effectively. However, before you can target your customers, you really have to focus on what it is you are providing to them – remember you can’t be all things to all people. People want to buy from an expert and you want to be that expert!
To define who your targeted customer is – think about who would normally want or need the products or services you are selling. You may find you have multiple markets and may need to just focus on one or two for now. In the small business classes I teach, I usually tell new businesses to focus on the market they can grow the fastest. The more specific you can profile who the customer is you want to do business with, the more cost effective your marketing efforts can be – because now you can direct your marketing efforts to specific people or businesses and not to the “world.”
So how do you define your market? You need to understand:
• Who they are – the demographics of your market (age, income, gender, education, occupation for individuals; industry, sales volume, number of employees, etc. for businesses)
• Where they are – the geographics of your market (where they live, work, and shop – especially important if clients have to come to you to do business; for other businesses this could be their location, number of sites, where they do business)
• What they care about – the psychographics of your market (buying styles, how they live, likes and dislikes, hobbies, interests, and beliefs for individuals; business culture, how they do business for businesses)
• What transitional changes are happening to them – the synchrographics of your market (changes that may prompt them to buy – marriage, divorce, graduation, etc. for individuals; for other businesses this could mean where they are in their growth cycle)
Once you know who your target market is, you can determine what their wants and needs are. To do this, you can ask them directly or facilitate a focus group (or two or three) of selected customers or potential customer and pick their brain!
For an established business, I think it is important to look at your existing client base and make sure these are the people or businesses you want to do business with. In other words, are you attracting the clients you want with your marketing activities? Profile your existing clients and see if the profile matches the one you did above for the clients you want to have. If you are not attracting the customer you want, it is probably for one of two reasons: you are not reaching the customer you want with your marketing efforts and/or your products or services are not wanted or needed by the market you want to do business with.