Business success is entirely dependent on the person who’s conducting the actions that happen behind the scenes. Acknowledge that you’re the only one capable of making real change and assume responsibility for everything that goes on with your personal life and your business organization. Make good decisions and take good actions on a consistent basis and your business success will bloom. Do the opposite and you’ll end up nowhere.
Before even attempting to sell your products, the first and most important aspect that you must focus on is the audience selection. Targeting your customers is absolutely essential for your future long-term business performance, as this process dictates how much time, energy, and money you’ll have to invest in order to reach your desired success.
In today’s post, we’re exploring a comprehensive target audience selection process that should help you establish your target market and audience once and for all.
In business terms, a market basically represents a specific group of actual or future customers of a product or service. In today’s marketplace, we have 3 distinct types of markets:
1. Consumer Market (B2C)
The consumer market, also called the business-to-customer (B2C) market, is comprised of consumers who buy goods in order to satisfy their own needs. So, when someone purchases something in order to consume the product/service and not to leverage it as a means to win profits, he/she is part of the consumer market.
2. Industrial Market (B2B)
The industrial market is comprised of organizations, groups, and individuals that purchase products/services specifically with a business purpose (creation of other products/access to helpful features through a paid software, or simply the signing of a contract).
These is the so-called business-to-business market (B2B). When you’re approaching B2B marketing, you need to tailor all your messages according to businesses, professionals, and organized companies that require high degrees of attention. Unlike in the B2C business, you will mostly need to focus on quality over quantity.
3. Reseller Market (B2B)
The reseller market is comprised of intermediaries. These middlemen purchase products at very fair prices because they’re purchasing stocks. Wholesaling and retailing are basically a form of trading. However, in today’s marketplace, buying, selling, and delivering products has become extremely accessible.
If your target market is the reseller market, you’ll have to approach the individuals/organizations the same way you’d proceed in the B2B market. These are no simple individuals that seek to satisfy their primary needs. No. In fact, these are smart entrepreneurs, marketers, and businessmen that may be as smart as you or even smarter. Therefore, your marketing and selling must be extremely personalized and should provide a lot of free value, more than it would be required for a B2C campaign.
Audience targeting should never be complicated. Let’s reduce the entire process to 2 major steps: identify your target market & define your specific target audience.
How to Identify Your Target Market
Here are the 4 main actions you’ll need to take in order to identify your target market:
- Understand the Reason Why Someone Would Purchase Your Product
- Identify the Features of Your Product
- Identify the Benefits of Your Product
- Develop a Unique Value Proposition (Brand Positioning)
Step #1 – Understand the Reason Why Someone Would Purchase Your Product
In order to effectively sell a product, you need to understand the primary motivators behind a sale. In the B2C sector, people buy stuff because they are looking to:
- Satisfy their needs (entertainment, information, connection, communication)
- Solve their problems (fear, pain, lack of certainty, medical issues, pressing matters)
- Fulfill their wants and desires (social status, achieving of a dream, purpose, or goal)
In the B2C sector, customers follow one rule: will it be useful/productive/profitable for my company/finances/ROI?
You must start contemplating on this aspect. Depending on your product’s use and purpose, identify the primary triggers that’ll influence your future audience to react to your product’s benefits and promises. Simply put, what’s in it for them?
Step #2 – Identify the Features of Your Product
The second step is the identification of features. Every product must have a list of features that should be presented to the customer at one point or another. Simply put, the features represent what a product is or can do.
For example: If you were to start a donkey milk business that would target the national community, promising to deliver rare and fresh milk to the people’s doors, your features would be the healthy ingredients and components that the donkey milk contains (vitamins, proteins, etc.)
Step #3 – Identify the Benefits of Your Product
Benefits are totally different from features. They are born from features, but they are only the result of what the product can or can’t do. When you prepare your branding, marketing strategies, and content, you need to specifically focus on benefits instead of features.
As Jane Harwood, Marketing Manager at Essay Geeks advises, “The features are indeed important, as everyone needs to clearly understand what they’re buying. However, to attract the attention of your target audience in the first place, you need to introduce the potential benefits that may arise from the use of this product.”
Following the same example, the benefits of your donkey milk will look like this:
- Because of X, Y, Z components of the milk, you will cure X, Y, Z disease.
- Your skin will look fresh, hydrated, and you’ll be glowing from distance.
- You’ll no longer have to endure X, Y, Z pain.
- Your life will improve as your health will improve.
Even though I don’t know the exact benefits, donkey milk is a miraculous, underrated health product that you should give a check. It’s pretty rare and a bit expensive, but it’s worth its seek.
Now. If you were to promote this product, you would better add proof and facts that show that your promises to deliver benefits are based on truth.
Step #4 – Develop a Unique Value Proposition and Position Your Brand
A unique value proposition (UVP) is simply the identification of the special benefits that your company is introducing in the marketplace.
Apple differentiates its products through smart branding. Their UVP states that their products are the simplest yet most effective in the entire marketplace.
Nike sells shoes and sports equipment for a long, long time, and they still do it successfully. Why? They’re UVP states that their main goal is to improve the performance of professional athletes. Deep down, every sporty person has big dreams at one point or another in life, so Nike will be the brand that fits their desires and plans best.
What does your product promise?
How are you going to be different from the rest? Why your products and not your biggest competitors’? Figure these things out you’ll be able to position your brand and products in the best manner.
Break Down the Overall Market and Define Your Specific Audience
Once you’re done defining your product’s features and benefits and once you’ve identified your product’s unique value proposition, you should be able to tell which market you’re going to target.
That’s not enough. You need to take the market, break it down further and further, look for information regarding the components of the market, which are the actual customers, and finally proceed to the establishment of your target persona. We’ll cover all this in the next subheading.
But first, here’s an insight on what it means to break down your overall market.
If you wanted to start a pregnancy online blog, your first instinct would be to think that all mothers could benefit from your advice. That may be true. Still, it would be impossible for you to even reach all of them.
You need to dig further and “niche down” the market. Targeting US people, first-time mothers, between the age of 40 to 60, with interests in X, Y, Z, and with an average income of X/per/month would be a fine choice.
Breaking your marketing into a small, specific audience comprised of these fine ladies would allow you to:
- speak how US people speak
- create content that relates to 40-60 first-time mothers
- approach all marketing strategies according to the problems/needs of these specific ladies.
How to Define Your Specific Target Audience
First, let me introduce you to the “target persona” concept. A target persona is a clear picture you create, which revolves around the ideal buyer of your product. In order not to think of an audience when marketing and selling your product, you can image a specific “Jane”, or a specific “Michael”, who is considered to be the perfect customer.
So, you need to understand everything about this Jane or Michael and note down all the details that will help you build up an effective target audience persona.
This section is not a step-by-step process. I’m going to guide you through the options you should consider when selecting your specific target audience.
1. Geographic Criteria
First off, establish where your potential customers live. Where will you have to send the products? Will they buy it from your local store, or you’re going to approach the national/regional/state/local marketplace segment? Depending on your customer’s geographic position, you’ll understand what it takes to close a sale and deliver one product.
2. Demographic Criteria
- Income level
- Professional occupation
- Marital Status
- Type of company
- Size of company
- Number of employees
- The age of the company
- Number of branches
- The professional reputation
- Number of franchises
- The annual revenue
3. Psychographic Criteria
These represent the mindset, beliefs, attitudes, emotions, and thoughts that a specific target audience/persona has.
- The hobbies
- The dreams and aspirations
- The level of ego (status seeking)
- The amount of responsibility a person assumes
- The beliefs and attitudes
- Industry leader
- Out-of-the-box thinker
- Socially responsible
- Workforce style
Now. Please understand that these were merely a few examples of characteristics that a potential target persona may possess. It’s time to play god and develop your own imaginary person. Take your time to play, think, and improvise. When you have finally crafted your target persona, you’ll be ready to start focusing on the next aspects of your business, which include branding, marketing, and selling.
If you’re just starting your business and you haven’t dealt with your audience selection process, I’d like you to pay attention to this example:
Marc is a businessman who has recently started an online store. He’s trying to sell shoes, clothes, and accessories to everyone around the world. Unfortunately, in a one-month period, Marc ran out of money and had to close his store. Why?
There could be hundreds of reasons. His primary mistake was that he positioned his online store in direct competition with Amazon. He never dug deeper into his target audience. No segmentation, no targeting, no real focus.
You see, this is not just Marc. It happens to hundreds and thousands of young wanna-be entrepreneurs, marketers, and businessmen. Why? Because they’re careless with their audience selection process.
Don’t be like Marc. Develop a clearly defined target audience and start tailoring your content and products around it no matter what.