The foundation of any business is their customer, and so it stands to reason that finding and understand your company’s target market is paramount to delivering the perfect marketing strategy, and consequently growing your business.
Trying to target everyone is a very expensive way to find out that it is impossible to engage with everyone, and could even end up being too general to engage anyone. Therefore, for the most cost-effective, efficient marketing you must first identify your specific customer.
You may already have a general idea of who your product/service is designed for. This is a good start, but can be developed further in order to find the specific niche that can be most profitable for your company. This does not mean that you are excluding other potential customers, but rather that you are making the most of every dollar by targeting the people you know will buy your product or use your service. Knowing who these people are helps determine where and how you should market your company.
Example: A Sydney café which opens on Mon – Fri, 8am to 5pm. They know that most people who visit their café are around 25-40 years old. Both male and female. They all wear business clothing therefore you can determine this market as white collar professionals. If the bulk of people coming everyday are like this, you would determine them as your primary target market.
Consider your current customers
Look at the customers that you already have and try to find some common characteristics. This will help you start to form a character profile of your perfect customer. You can also asses which customers bring in the most business, either in one session or as repeat customers and change your marketing techniques to suit them.
For instance, what would these 25-40 year olds want from a café like yours? You could imagine they are time poor, some may want a place to meet with friends or clients. So you would look at one area of your café and ensure it provides super-fast service for those who are in a hurry (i.e.: coffee through a bench window to take away, pre-made sandwiches, salads and muffins. For those wanting to entertain clients and their friends at your café, another section of the café would offer a more extended menu as these people may have more time. So here you have reviewed who your current clients are and you are catering to meet their needs. That’s why they are your primary target.
However you may not want to miss out on your secondary market. You’ve noticed at least 20 customers a day are wearing orange vests and are road workers because there are always road works happening in Sydney around the café. They tend to like pies, sausage rolls and milk shakes. So you would ensure a small area to cater for their take away lunches.
The following are some key steps that will help you identify your target market
1. Understand the benefits of your product/service
First start by identifying the features of your business. A feature is an element of the product you are offering, e.g. fair-trade coffee, organic products, non-dairy and gluten free products. 70% of people that come in keep asking for natural, organic or gluten free so you optimise your product range to suit.
Secondly, note down next to each feature the benefits that this gives the customer, so the ethical and feel good qualities of fair-trade plus the excellent taste, comfort and social opportunities of coffee.
These benefits then benefit your company as they encourage customers to try your product and then become repeat buyers, ultimately increasing your revenue.
2. Analyse your competition
Assess the external environment to see who else offers a product/service that meets the same needs as yours; these are your competitors. For each one, decide who they are targeting and who their current customers are. This can help you find a gap in the market so that you can avoid targeting the same people. For instance your competition may not offer freshly squeezed juice. Why not trial this for a month?
3. Look in to the Psychographics of your target market
This is a more in depth study of the psychology of your customer, building on the customer profile you have already begun to create. This should start to outline why, how and when they will use your product and which features are most appealing to them. There are a couple of key factors you should consider:
Personality, Attitudes, Behaviour, Interests, Lifestyles and Values
These will help you tailor your marketing and selling techniques to match their buying behaviour.
4. Look at the demographics you want to target
This adds even more to your customer profile, considering factors such as:
Age, Gender, Ethnicity, Profession, Family Status (married, single, children etc.), Income Level, Education Level
Stay up to date with the trends influencing your chosen target group. You should be constantly asking yourself whether there are enough people in your market, whether they are still benefiting from your product and whether they are receiving and acting on the marketing you are doing.
To help find all this information, utilise all the resources available to you; ask your customers in person, talk to retailers or sales people to get their insights, search online, in magazines and blogs for information relating to the people you are targeting. This may include research already carried out by other businesses, or articles created by your target market themselves. This will give you an insight in to their psychographics and any trends that are affecting them.
Now that you have a good understanding of who you are targeting it will be a lot easier to decide which media and messages you want to use to market your product, and the whole process will become much more efficient.