I was fortunate enough to visit Barcelona at the end of January, a fantastic city, well worth a visit if you have not been. We were lucky enough to stay at one of Marriott’s Autograph hotels, a brand that “celebrates boutique hotels which are unique in design and thoughtful in spirit” (their words not mine). The service was excellent, we felt welcomed from the moment we stepped up to the check in desk, our every need was catered for and thought of before we knew it, a real example not only of great customer service but also understanding who their target audience was and how they would like to be treated.
Small businesses often make the mistake of trying to be everything to everyone. In your initial research phase for your business or when launching a new product, it is more effective to define a very specific target audience.
Do you know who your current target audience is? Do you know where they shop? Where they like to go on holiday? What sports they play? What brands they interact with? These are all great questions to think about. Why is it important to know your customer? Well simply once you define your target audience it will then help guide your creative, tone of voice and message proposition, plus help you select the right media. For example, if you wish to speak to 18-24 year olds then Facebook is probably not the right media, but if you wish to speak to women aged 35 years + it is probably about right.
How can I define my target audience?
There are a couple of key questions to think about when you start to define your target audience, here are some thoughts to get you started:
- Ask them! If you are in business already and wish to specialise in a particular area or launching a new product, the first and most obvious way is to ask their opinion. This can be done via conducting research either through a focus group or survey. This may result in several customer types being identified, the key is to then focus on the one that is going to help you achieve the business goals and direction you have identified, not try to be everything to everyone.
- Understand what problems you solve and how you might be able to help your customer. This will enable you to craft a proposition and be able to more effectively communicate the benefits of your product, which people will want to buy.
- Visualise your ideal target audience. I have a great cartoon man which I often work through with my clients, asking them to think about their target audience, what they do in their work and personal lives. Think about where they live, how old they are, if they have a family, age, financial situation and also about their attitudes, etc.
- Where do you wish to take your business, thinking about this can also help define what kind of customers you target. For example, if you are a cake maker and you wish to specialise in wedding cakes because that is what you enjoy, then this will provide you with quite a specific target audience.
- What are your competitors doing? Looking at what your competitors have done, may also give you some guidance, not only on what to do but also what not to do.
Why is this important?
In marketing we talk a lot about building your strategy, as this is the foundation of all your activity, it will help you decide the direction for your business and how to achieve the goals you set yourself. An important part of this is defining your target audience for the reason noted above. Please CLICK HERE to discover more about marketing strategy and why you should have one. Plus also check out our articles: “Driving your small business” and “What is a marketing strategy”.
Wishing you a successful February!