Would you believe that one of the many mistakes a business makes is they target the wrong audience?  Don’t believe me? Well, it’s true. Over the years, I’ve worked with some incredible businesses; some start-ups all the way up to Fortune 200 companies and off the top of my head I can recall numerous instances where the target audience was all wrong.  *Shakes head*  Believe it or not, it happen—seven with the best of brands. Why? Well, it could be for multiple reasons such as a company is growing too fast or technology is moving too fast. Even blatant arrogance and possibly ignorance can lead a business towards poor targeting.  Today, I titled the post “Know thy Target” because, in the current business climate, it’s all about targeting the right way.

Honestly, there’s nothing difficult about understanding who your target base is. The challenge I’ve found is most businesses don’t take the time to find their primary target customers and then they end up targeting the wrong base because they haven’t narrowed down who their core customer.  This causes them to target everyone.  Before I start, let’s start with some basic insight into your business. One of my favorite quotes that bears repeating.

“Everyone is not your customer.”  Seth Godin

When you’re planning or executing a marketing strategy whether it’s traditional or digital, you can’t think of every person as your customer. Even with an infinite marketing budget, building a customer base from the “kitchen sink” strategy can burn through your budget and make you feel frustrated with your results. Finding and nurturing your core targets can make or break you, even more so in the digital world. Do you have a website? Great. Do you know who you should be talking to or what your content should say? Do you know where your customers live? Where they hang out? What do they like to do? If you can’t answer these types of minor questions, then I promise you, your targeting will be all over the place and so will your marketing.

Try not to swim against the current.

By not fine-tuning your target, you might as well be swimming against a current. Times are changing, and online tech giants expect businesses to get on board…or else. One of the trends you’ll see continuing to evolve in the digital world is targeting.  For example, organizations like Google will continue to develop and launch new initiatives to enable businesses to find the right customers. Why? Because better target allows for better results. Aside from Google’s search engine, look at their geo-search capabilities. If you’re a retail shop, a feature like this enables users to find what they need fast.  And if you’re a business and you’ve got your ideal customer defined correctly, Google makes things easier and faster for you to access these new customers.

Customers & Competition

If you have a business and you’re struggling with overspending with your marketing, then try this exercise. Define your perfect customer by starting with the basics. Review your monthly sales and see who is buying? Why are they buying? What do your customers say about you? How is your business reviewed online? After you complete this exercise, evaluate a successful and comparable competitor in your area. What products or services do they offer that you don’t? Review their online reviews and identify at least three to five things they do well that you don’t. Let’s say you have a product or service such as a dry-cleaning business. Do you know how many dry-cleaners there are in your city, town or zip code? Knowing your competition inside an out is important and helps you isolate your target customers a lot quicker. How so? If there are three dry cleaners in a 5-mile radius, chances are not all cleaners are alike. Their differences could be price, quality, and my favorite, location, location, location. Understanding your competition can help you understand more about the right customer for you.

Testing, Testing…1,2,3

After you’ve identified who you think your customers are, start evaluating ways to target them. Many businesses today usually look to platforms like Facebook for advertising or even Google ad words to market their businesses. If that’s your goal, then both offer solutions to enable businesses to target their audience better. The key to using these marketing methods (and others) effectively is by testing. Test your preferred audience and review the results and keep tweaking. And depending on your product or service, you need to spend a fair amount of time testing all your marketing tactics with your new target base. Plan, test, market and then repeat.

To recap, knowing who to target is the first step to cultivating your client base and growing your business. There are many outside factors that could impact your customer base and your business so don’t skip this important targeting step in the beginning and from time to time, you will need to revisit your targets.

If you’re having a difficult isolating your target market or even frustrated with your marketing methods, comment or send us an email. For more information about the types of services we offer with market planning, visit our marketing strategy page.

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