Every business everywhere needs customers. The first step in getting those customers through the doors, whether those doors are virtual or physical, is to define your target audience.
What Is A Target Audience?
Many companies I work with think the best way to get customers is to try to reach as many people as possible. This is called spaghetti marketing and it isn’t the way to go. You know the saying that instructs you to throw a piece of spaghetti at the wall if it sticks it’s done? By the way, I hope you’re not doing that with your spaghetti … Gordon Ramsay would flip out!
Trying to reach everyone is the same thing as throwing your marketing message against the wall and hoping something sticks. You will waste money by reaching the wrong people. You have to know who your audience is, what they need, how they shop, where they live, and be able to define the benefits you have that will solve whatever problem they’re experiencing.
Who Is Your Target Audience?
To answer this question, you have to answer 5 questions:
- How old are your customers?
- What is their life stage? (college students, young adults, new parents, retirees)
- What language do they speak?
- What is their spending power? (i.e., How much money do they make?)
- What do they like to do in their spare time?
This is where great competitor analysis comes into play. A good place to start doing competitor analysis is on social media. By performing even a cursory competitor analysis using social media you can learn who your customers are, what pricing they’re used to seeing, and identify some of the problems they have.
Marketing 101: Marketers Meet Needs
One of the first things my marketing professor said on the first day of class was “Marketers Meed Needs.” Once you’ve performed your competitor analysis and have an idea of the problems your customers face, you have to start defining the benefits you offer that answer to their needs.
I once had a job interview once where the interviewer took his ink pen out of his pocket and said, “Sell me this pen.” Of course, it was later that I found out he was mooching lines from the Wolf of Wall Street, which I gave him a lot of grief over. By finding out what he was looking for in a pen, whether he wanted the pen to be a fashion piece in his pocket or just be functional, and discussing his writing style I was able to explain the benefits. He didn’t care about the brand nor did he care where it was manufactured. All he cared was that it looked great in his pocket and he could use it to sign insurance contracts with his clients.
Create a Target Market Statement For Each Product/Service You Offer
Now that you have a better understanding of your target market, write it down. You’ll notice the heading for this section mentions that you should define your target market for each product and/or service? You can group products and services into similar categories but by and large, each one will have its own target audience.
Our target market consists of [males/females] between the ages of [# and #].
They live in a/an [apartment/house/condo/townhome] in a/an [urban/rural/suburb].
During their spare time, customers are [boating/camping/hiking/jogging/reading/cooking/watching TV].
The biggest problem they face as it relates to our offerings is/are [this/that/the other].
Craft Your Positioning Statement
This is the pièce de résistance. It is the part of your marketing plan that identifies your place in the market. There are several steps to this including how you want to deliver your point of view, how you’ll show that you’re different from your competitors, and define your promise to customers. The positioning statement is also the first place to start building trust with your audience. You have to prove your claims and then follow through with them.
I know all this sounds like a lot and can be a little confusing. Let me know if you need help.