Devil is in the details
Marc L. Goldberg
SCORE certified mentor
Question: How can I be more efficient in reaching my target customers so they come to me versus me always having to reach out to them?
Answer: In today’s complex environment there are 7 P’s in the marketing mix: Price, Place, Product, Physical environment, Promotion, Process and People. All of these come into play when identifying and reaching out to your target market. The first step in answering this question, however, is to clearly define who your target audience is so you can focus on needs, wants and desires of those customers — and, then, how you will communicate your message.
In marketing, shotgun shooting means everyone is treated the same and is communicated the same message, regardless of their uniqueness. Target shooting is when we identify each specific customer segment and what differentiates them so we can customize a message to them. We do this so they will connect with your call to action and do what you desire them to do, such as contact you. Based on some research undertaken by Kick-Frame, you should specifically define elements on the “targeting opportunity map” that can help you focus your marketing investments.
Profile: Can you specifically define your target customers based on their characteristics in the population at large? Age, gender, education, profession, income. Your target might be women 55-70, single or married, middle income. They might be 14- to 18year-old females interested in the grunge look. Or they might be 50-plus men, upper income. Then you can segment them even further — 55- to 70year-old women interested in skin care, 50-plus men who love fast sports cars. By segmenting you can extend their profile so you can more efficiently locate and target them. And, lastly, can you use some specific milestone to further target them — 65th birthday, high school graduation, 50th anniversary?
Can you target your audience based on their level, focus or type of education? Does their industry, experience or job title more fully define them for targeting? If a potential target is a retail shop owner, is that a more focused target than a retail manager? And does their experience make a difference? If they are newbies, are they more viable a target than those more mature in
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their roles and positions? Another element of the target profile is their buying behavior. What keywords do they use to find you and how often do they do a search? What does it take to get a buyer to “click through” on a website or an email? Are they app users? If so, what apps can be linked to you?
Interests: Is there a way to target a buyer based on their goals or objectives, such as finishing the Boston Marathon, driving an autocross, becoming a manager? Or can you further define your targets by topics that may interest them? Cars, sports, politics, the environment, beaching, kayaking? If they have an affinity for a subject, and your marketing can tie into it, then you might have a bridge for having your message resonate. You then can look at preferences, digital vs. traditional communications, daily vs. weekly, digital vs. print formatting. All these elements help define your target audience so you can more effectively reach them.
Social: The third part of the validation of your marketing plan is what channels of communications your target audiences tune into. How can you connect with them? Where are they connected? Where are they fans, friends or followers? What is their activity level? Are they passive or active? What is the level of their engagement? And are they joiners? Do they just read and internalize, or do they tend to join affinity or interest groups? If they are joiners, will they actively engage you if they are invited to connect with you? With social media and digital marketing, physical distance or location doesn’t play as important a role as it did in the past, but knowing the geographic location of your target audience is important so you can target the prospect on a specific day of the week and time of day. And knowing their location plays into how weather affects their buying behavior.
Commerce: One needs to understand the relationship the buyer has with the seller. Are they a current or past customer? Are they a customer of a competitor? Were they a past customer who now buys from a competitor? Knowing this will also play out in their frequency of purchase as well as the range of value per sale. One way of looking at the profile of a buyer is the lifetime customer value. Are they a high, medium or low lifetime value? This will help to determine the strategies and tactics that will be used to win or maintain their customer status.
Technology: Finally, what technology will be applied to communicate with the targeted customer? Desktop, smartphone, iPad? Will you have to adjust your tactics based on the various operating systems on the market? If you are using your website as the portal for business, you have to consider the web browser through which prospects and customers will connect.
Buyers change. Buying behavior changes. Needs, wants and desires change. Be vigilant in the maintenance of your outreach practices to stay at least a step ahead of the wave of change.
Contributed by Marc L. Goldberg, certified mentor. Source: KickFrame, www.kickframe.com. For free and confidential mentoring, contact SCORE Cape Cod and the Islands for an appointment at www.capecod.score.org, capecodscore.org, 508-775-4884. We go where you are. Download the free e-book “Tips from SCORE, Vol. II” at www.amazon.com/dp/ B08QPR7G35.