If you have children, know someone who does, or have ever bought a toy as a gift for a child, you’re probably aware of the age range the company gives on the packaging to let the customer know for what age the toy is appropriate. Toy companies have it made in some ways. It’s easier for them to determine their target market based on good research prior to product build, and savvy marketing that engages kids while reassuring parents and adults that the toy is appropriate and safe.
However, for those in the technology field, determining your target may not be that simple. Not everyone is going to fit into your target market, although there are many VARs out there who still believe that mass mailings and broad marketing campaigns that are designed to encompass everyone are still the way to stimulate interest in their products and services. But realistically, you’re not chasing the sale from every IT person because one solution does not fit all. Just because a large company has a bottomless budget (rare in these economic times anyway) does not mean they will spend those extra dollars with you. You can’t hope to appeal to a broad-based group because a 20-something in the industry may have a very different perspective on a new trend than a 50-something.
How do you develop marketing campaigns and programs that are geared toward specific audiences that matter to your business, instead of hitting “Send” to a paid email list of 50,000 “potential” (but not yet qualified) new customers? Part of your success rate with your marketing initiatives will actually be a result of how well you sell and market to each segment you have determined to be viable. In other words, just capturing sales from “some” of a specific market may be okay, but really to be able to measure your marketing effectiveness within a particular group or demographic, you should be able to reach 100 percent of each specific market. So how do you determine those target markets and then how do you know if you have the right matches to your business’ offerings? Let’s take a look:
– Know your exact targets. This is the hardest part of target marketing, actually determining correctly whom you should be going after. If you aren’t sure where to look for customers or are having trouble closing the sale on existing leads and customers, chances are those leads do not fit within your specific target markets because they don’t need your products and services. You ultimately end up wasting time trying to get them to buy in to something they don’t need or want, instead of finding those true customers who really need you for what you have to offer. Take a look at your existing database (you should already be doing this regularly anyway). Look for common traits among active customers and group them accordingly. Voila – your target markets! Now think about where you could find new leads that would fit into these categories. Finally, develop your marketing campaign based on each group’s specific traits.
– Test each segment. Now that you know who you want to approach, instead of jumping in feet first, test the waters. Talk to some of your more loyal customers and ask them why they do business with you, versus your competition. Is it the quick, 24-hour response you provide or perhaps the way you stay on top of the latest trends and innovations? Will they give you a testimonial to use in your marketing materials? If you know what your top customers think in each target market, you can tailor your marketing campaigns around those ideas, attracting new leads within each demographic.
– Include your customers’ customers’ buying personas in your target markets. Selling to your customers is one thing, but showing them that you can provide end-to-end solutions is something completely different. Including end-user demographic information in your target market research will allow you to create marketing messages and ideas that show your customers that you understand their customers. Just you provide great service to your existing customers doesn’t necessarily benefit their end user. Show your customer how your end user benefits will benefit him. If you can relate to the end-user, your customer will connect with you much faster.
Effective target marketing requires dedicated thinking to your target customer. By putting careful thought into who you want to reach and why – and who would want to do business with you and why – you can craft specific messages that will resonate with each group. Take the time to do the research. In the long run, you potentially could reach hundreds more customers than if you don’t.