Targeting Your Customers

When you’re running a business, one of the most important things you can do is ensure you’re targeting your customer specifically. This overarching aim can be expressed in all sorts of ways at different levels of your business and in different departments. Getting specific with identifying the different groups of people who constitute your customers (the technical term for this is ‘market segmentation’) means you can ensure you’re offering what they want in precisely the way that they’ll find most persuasive.

This process begins with a demographic workup of your audience. There are two ways to approach this: reactive and pro-active. A reactive assessment of your demographics means looking at the people who are buying your products right now: reacting to the reality of your existing customers.

A pro-active approach to demographics means deciding who you want your customers to be – making products and marketing them to a demographic you’re hoping to attract rather who’s already buying them.

Of course, in the messy world of reality your approach is going to be a mix of the two, driven by your specific needs. New businesses tend towards the pro-active approach because they don’t have existing customers while established businesses need to react to the loyal customers they have. That said, new businesses need to do some research to discover which people are interested in their products and have the money to spend on them, otherwise they won’t be able to secure enough revenue to keep going. Established businesses, meanwhile, need to find new markets if they want to grow, so picking a new group of potential customers to add to the fold is one of the most valuable things you can do.

Once you’ve established who your customers are (or selected a group that you want them to be), there are all sorts of ways you can try to optimise what you have to offer to their needs. If you have direct control over the products you sell, you can optimise those designs for your market. If you know that a lot of customers are older, making the products you’re selling them a little easier to hold, instructions more legible and easy to understand they’ll soon be converted into loyal, repeat consumers.

A quicker way to put these learnings into practice is to use them to optimise your marketing. Knowing your market means you can get the best out of your marketing budget by ensuring it’s not just creatively designed to appeal to your customers but placed to catch their attention as well. If you know where your market gets their news from, then you know whether an ad in the Guardian is going find them, or if you’d be better off spending your money with the Telegraph, or Twitter or Instagram.

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