How to reach your target audiences effectively in order to create interest in what you are selling
My phone was recently stolen while out and about with my family. While a bit disappointed (perhaps distraught and considering filing a missing person’s report), I decided to look at purchasing a new phone. While I am typically not the type of person who jumps on the latest tech innovation for the sake of it, and I am not necessarily a trend follower, I do look for things with the mindset of making the best investment possible. So the $10 upgrade plan at T-Mobile was probably not going to cut it. At the same time, the latest, greatest Galaxy s$ and the iPhone 5 weren’t going to cut it…not interested in paying for bells and whistles.
So where does that leave me? Who in the marketplace is actually speaking to me? Which phone will fit my needs, presently and into the near future? Certainly BlackBerry seems like the standard industry standby, plus their new phones look pretty sleek and features seem to work…but I am not feeling as confident in that brand. Nokia…interesting phone, but both Nokia and Windows have also had a history of issues. Back to the iPhone…not interested in learning a new operating system – plus I have Android apps I have invested in. HTC – love their stuff (my old phone was the HTC One S – fantastic phone!), but it is missing a few hardware features and doesn’t support the level of customization I am looking for…
These are the types of conversations that go through a buyer’s head when they are thinking about purchasing from you. Price, product, benefits, brand equity, perceived value…all part of the complex nature of buying. Your job, as a business leader, is to ensure that there is a good match between what your consumers understand about your product or service and what you are offering, and that you are communicating that to your target audience in a way that creates interest, the desire to test and eventually purchase what you are selling.
Here is a take on how customers buy:
- Starts with a need: I need a new phone
- Why does that need exist? My old phone was stolen
- What features do I need? I use my phone to conduct business through talking, text and email, plus can provide internet for my laptop and tablet
- What is the “bundle of services” I am looking for? Obviously, the phone without service is no good. I also would like to be protected in the event “there is some unplanned separation between myself and my phone.”
- How do I intend to purchase this? I am going to look at providers that I am familiar with, look at reviews on their phones and performance, compare different products, etc.
- How do I narrow down the possibilities? I go to a store – a BestBuy or the T-Mo store, test the products I am interested in and leave.
- Finally, I look for specific features – color, enhancements, etc.
- When I find the phone that fits my needs, it is then that I will make the purchase.
Notice that the purchase process didn’t start out with the product the features or the brand…it started out with a need. Once the need was defined, then I began to clarify the need and what I felt a fair exchange of value might look like, meaning that I will pay money if I feel that the set of features I will be sold will allow me to accomplish my need within my budget. At the point where I knew how I wanted my need fulfilled (a list of features, the price I am willing to pay), then, and only then, I will begin to look at what is available on the market.
This can be applied to just about anything. Think about it:
Why the need exists
What I want
|I want something to eat||I am hungry||Crunchy, salty, tasty||Chips!|
|I want to do something||I am bored||Exciting, adrenaline boosting||Bungee Jumping!|
|I need to unwind||I am tired and tense||Mindless, requires no energy||Watch TV/Movie|
Your prospects and customers go through no less of a buying process, whether purchasing lawn care services, eating at your restaurant or purchasing consulting services. Walking through this process asking why your customers purchase, what features are they looking for and how you can position your company to meet those needs is an invaluable exercise.
Remember – one size does not fit all; use a targeted marketing approach and be prepared to have different conversations with each of your target markets.
Thanks for reading. Your comments are always welcome and appreciated.
Rick Meekins is the Managing Consultant at Aepiphanni, a Business Consultancy that provides Management Consulting, Implementation and Managed Services to business leaders and entrepreneurs seeking to improve or expand operations. We are the trusted advisor to those seeking forward-thinking operational and strategic solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth.
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