“If you don’t see yourself as a winner, then you cannot perform as a winner.” – Zig Ziglar
“How do you market your business?” Many small business owners focus on creating the best products or services based on their skills, knowledge, and abilities, then find customers who need or want what they have to offer. The services are created, for instance, on what they would want or what they believe other people would need. Structure is then built around these ideas, marketing messages are created, a website is built, and off they go – feeling like they’re going to change the world. Then reality sets in. Few prospective customers visit their website and there are few incoming calls about their offerings.
If the business owners do not get discouraged and give up, they often either go looking for a business coach or take courses in marketing and copyrighting to empower them to grow their businesses. In turn they get sold on the idea that if they were more clear in their marketing messages, people would flock to their businesses. While it’s not a poor plan to use a business coach or focus on your copyrighting, this does not always relate to selling more of your products and services and making more money. The real advice here is to have the plan in place (the get ready), determine how you are going to market this new idea (the get set), and roll out the implementation of the new idea of products or services to meet customers’ needs (the go!).
Before a business can realistically or effectively begin any marketing campaign, two vital questions must be addressed – (1) What is the target market? and (2) What does the target market want or need that the business can provide? Without detailed and precise answers, a marketing strategy and an effective sales and marketing plan are difficult to put in place.
It’s worth recalling the classic tale of two shoe sales representatives out exploring opportunities in a country in which their company had yet to establish a market for their shoes. The first sales representative sent back an initial first report stating, “Everyone goes barefoot in this country; no market here at all.” The second sales representative’s first report, however, was somewhat different, “Everyone goes barefoot, and there is a massive opportunity for us.” Which sales representative was right?
This story illustrates the necessity for a business to understand the needs of its target customers accurately, in terms of (1) knowing enough about them and (2) gathering sufficient relevant information about what they really want. Without this precise understanding, efforts to market products and services won’t be effective.
A question small business owners ask themselves is “What does the target audience know they need?” This is the key to marketing – finding out what the target audience knows they need. Not just what they need, but what they know they need! Is there any reason not to develop products and services around what the audience knows they need? It’s not enough to be familiar with these terms, but one must understand how these components work together.
The target market is the group to which marketing efforts are made. This is the group of individuals or businesses to which a company wants to sell. They have an interest in what is offered. The target market can be broken down into segments that can include demographics, psychographics, income levels, and age levels. Target marketing involves breaking a market into segments and then concentrating marketing efforts on one or a few key segments. Target Marketing = Target Audience = People to whom products and services are sold. Target marketing is about applied psychology and understanding human behavior. What your product or service has to offer is less important than what is motivating the target audience to purchase your product or service. For example, people do not buy perfume merely because of the aroma. They are buying the marketing behind it, whether that is romance, athletics, or success.
Let’s break it down even more. The target audience is a group of people or companies with a set of common characteristics. A primary target market is the group that accounts for more than 30 percent of sales volume. This is the most important group of purchasers for your product or service and will be the mainstay of business. Target segmentation is the selection process that divides the broad market into manageable groups with common characteristics, for developing secondary markets. These markets provide additional sales and/or influence on sales beyond a primary target market. You can also break this into two broad segments within which to develop additional flanker segments to target. Focus on current customers and those not currently doing business or those you feel have potential to do more business.