Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Your Audience, Up Close and Personal

In real estate it's location, location, location. In marketing it's customer, customer, customer. 

Let's zero in on your market. Everything begins and ends with the customer. You gave some thought and maybe did a little research on your customers in our Where Do I Start? (2/14) blog, so now let's dig a little deeper. Beyond gender, age, education, geography and other basic demographics, how much do you know? And, how much can you project?

• The number one question is always: What do they want when they are shopping for my product or service?

And by that, I mean What do they REALLY want? They shop for a dress for a party because they want to look amazing. They shop for an accountant because they are tired of wondering if they are really getting all of their tax deductions. They shop for a great wine because they want to impress their friends, or become more knowledgable, or savor a wine experience.

So what is that deep reason they might choose what you offer?

• Once you have determined that, the number two question is: What can you do to help them choose your product or service?

Special offers, certifications, discounts, guarantees, gift-with-purchase, sweepstakes, loyalty discounts ... these and about a million more are all other ways companies in tight markets try to increase their edge over the competition.

Frequently, education is a good choice. Offer some fashion or accessorizing tips to the dress shopper. Show your expertise with an unusual deduction for an accountant shopper. And the obvious, wine and pairings tips for your wine shopper. 

What kind of an edge will work best with your customer?

• Are there generalizations you can make about age, income, gender, interests, etc.?

Of course your product or service can apply to a broad spectrum of customers. But when you squint a little and think about them, does a certain "type" come to mind? Your language, your offers, your overall marketing plan should be aimed directly at them and their likes and aspirations.

If you deal primarily with small business people when they are thinking about their business objectives, that is the profile you want to keep in mind. But also recognize that you are still connecting to people – not businesses. They respond to human motivators. Aim your marketing at their business objectives, but talk to them like they are people you know. Still women (or men), still busy (or not busy enough), still wanting to succeed.

• What other groups might be interested in your product or service?

Visualize your favorite customer groups and figure out how to get more. Look at what draws your current customers to you and think of other groups with those needs in common. Do you have a camping equipment store or site and most of your customers are young men? What could you do to attract area scout troops? Group discounts? A special event? Ladies camp. What could you offer that might be inviting to women? 

• How can you expand your offering? 

What do your best customers like (or want) in addition to what you offer now? Could you offer perfumes in your boutique? Do your tax customers need bookkeeping help? Would your wine customers like to also shop for a selection of hors d'oeuvres or cheeses? Are your campers interested in biking? or canoeing? Can you slide over into some specific sporting goods?

• Who would be a good partner? 

Can you introduce your customers to something new? Would a make-up artist like to host a workshop in your boutique? Do you keep a mutual referral network with other professionals? Is there a local chef who could give a little demonstration in your shop and you give a tasting in their restaurant? Is there a fishing guru, outdoor travel agency or lodge who would like to host a seminar for your customers?

Take a little time.

Let your customers needs and wants swirl around in your head for a few days and write down ideas that pop into your head. Adopt the McDonald's Think Tank policy and write down everything, no matter how lame or far-fetched it may seem. Bad ideas spark good ideas.

Next: Tell Me a Story - and Make it a Good One!

For more samples of our work go to: http://www.n8marketing.com

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