Rick Meekins is the Managing Partner at Aepiphanni, a Business Consultancy, an Atlanta, GA based small business consultancy that provides Management Consulting, Implementation and Managed Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations.
Aiming for Impact: Dimes or Dollars? | Extraordinary Business
Targeting the right audience for the greatest return on your marketing dollars
One of the biggest challenges many business owners have is – getting more business. While there are a number of factors that play into getting more business, one factor is targeting the right customers.
“Your target market is the group of consumers [those who would purchase your stuff] at which a company aims its products and services.” – Entrepreneur Magazine.
Why target? If you only have one dollar, do you think your marketing activities would have a greater impact if you did 10 different things for a dime each or one thing for the dollar? You could compare this to using a shotgun versus a rifle: the shotgun will most likely hit a target, but with very little impact, where a rifle, aimed properly, will hit the target with a more remarkable impact.
The question then becomes “who is my target market?” and “how do I define them?”
This will depend completely on your company and what you are selling. It may be easier to start with the question, “who is NOT in my target market?”
If you are in bookkeeping, and you use a small business bookkeeping solution like QuickBooks, you may find that at a certain revenue level, QuickBooks isn’t the preferred software. At the same time, you may find that businesses under a certain size (revenue) may not be able to support a service like yours. This gives you upper and lower boundaries for who you might target.
Keep in mind: Defining your target market doesn’t mean that only those in your target market are the ones who will purchase your goods, but rather, they are the ones at whom you aim your marketing activities.
Once you’ve created your upper and lower boundaries, if you are marketing to businesses, look at vertical or horizontal markets. Vertical markets are industries, professions, trades, etc., for example, marketing firms or attorneys. Horizontal markets might be small businesses that are of the creative nature, which might include marketing firms, but also, writers, painters, graphic designers, etc. Again, you may wish to use the exclusive approach “I know I don’t want to work with creative firms” or the inclusive approach “I only want to work with pediatricians.”
If you are marketing to consumers, you might wish to use demographic data or some other trait or class (veterans, for example) to help narrow down or discover the market you are after. Those you target should have the interest and ability to purchase your goods and services.
In either case, further refine your market by other characteristics, such as geography, purchasing habits, company structure, family size or structure, etc. All of this information can be gathered from a list service such as infoUSA, which will allow you to specify your criteria and the size of the list. For some industries, social media will be another good source of refinement and leads.
Don’t put all of your eggs into one basket! Target several markets. Targeting multiple markets will give you some flexibility as markets go through seasonality; if one of your markets is slow, your secondary market may be (should be) picking up, so that your revenues can be steadier.
Keep in mind that your different targets may have different perceptions of value (benefits). You will need to craft different messages for each market in order to gain their interest. Consumer behavior – the actions a person takes in purchasing and using products and services – will vary by target.
Finally, your target market’s needs, interests and buying patterns will change over time. It is important that you stay abreast of those changes. Being involved with them will allow you to understand those trends and adjust or create offerings to meet their needs and interests as they change. If you are seeking to CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD an extraordinary business, this will be part of your company’s DNA.
Aepiphanni Business Consulting is an Atlanta, Georgia based Operations Management and Business Strategy Consulting Firm dedicated to serving the needs of small to medium sized business leaders. We help business leaders DESIGN | CREATE | BUILD extraordinary businesses.
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