I wonder why I struggle so much to get in front of the type of customers which I know I need to grow my business, maybe I am missing something, or perhaps I just don’t know them as well as I think I do!
Understanding my target customers’ interests will allow me to identify the best possible opportunities for my marketing activities. If I sell sporting equipment, I could safely assume that my target audience will be spending time watching sport related YouTube videos and reading sports related blogs, so maybe I should be approaching these channels to help me spread the word.
I should perhaps also consider that some interests have a natural cross-over with others. Running shoes for example will appeal to someone interested in fitness just as much as someone who is interested in the latest fashion, but if I were to target both of these types of people with a single general marketing message will my product or service truly resonate with either customer?
Understanding my target customers’ attitude towards my product or service is one of the single most important contributors to the success of any marketing I may do. Coffee drinkers for example have a very strong and positive attitude towards the product first thing in the morning. Last thing at night however, even the most dedicated coffee aficionado will see this product in a much more contradicting negative light due to it’s stimulating ingredients.
Car retailers also experience similar contradicting attitudes as some will be happy to be embarking on the new purchase whereas others will be having major concerns about the overall running costs. With this in mind, I should look to have different marketing messages for each of these customers.
Although from an economic point of view, value is directly attributed to the cost of a product or service I offer, in a marketing context, Value plays a much more vital and intricate role. Often, ensuring that my businesses values align with their own is far more important to potential customers than simply a question of money.
- Am I aware of their cultural/religious needs or am I including them in my Christmas campaigns?
- Do I share their environmental concerns through my own business practices?
- Do I share their social responsibility views and does my own supply chain support this?
Each and every one of these questions will help me build an incredibly strong bond with my potential audience.
Because different products and services aim to solve different problems, my potential customers will engage with my business through a very specific set of behavioural patterns.
Seasonal products such as Christmas gifts for example will be in far greater demand during the last few weeks of the year than at any other time. Financial services will see an influx in the run up to April (UK Financial Year End). Convertible cars and Holiday Breaks see a rise in sales in the weeks leading to the Summer season.
Behavioural patterns don’t stop there however, so I need to have a clear understanding on when, how often and for how long, my target audience is looking for the type of products or services I offer.
Month of the Year?
Is what I offer seasonal? Toy retailers for example see most of their sales take place during the last few weeks of the year. Also worth considering, if what you offer is a ‘considered purchase’ then leaving my marketing push to the last minute will almost certainly result in a waste of time and money as most of my competitors would have thought about this well in advance.
Week of the Month?
Do my products or services demand a considerable cost from an average monthly disposable budget? If this is the case, then chances are that my target customers will look to leave this decision for the later part of the month, once their pay cheque has come in.
Day of the Week?
If my services rely on the customer being present, then I need to make ‘Customer Availability’ a key consideration of my marketing plans – It would also pay for me to think about the day of the week my potential customers are most likely to even think about my business. Sport brands for instance, see a direct correlation between specific weekend sporting events and sales.
Time of the Day?
As per the previous sections, understanding the time of the day when my potential customers are most likely to research about my services is also very important. After all, if their only time away from work or family commitments is in the evenings, then pushing my brand out to them during the day (because that is the time when I’m thinking about my business) will not yield me the greatest results.
As well as understanding when my customers are looking for my products or services, I really ought to think about the frequency and duration of their need. People looking for a new car for example, will typically spend most evenings and weekends, for up to two-three months, researching and comparing options. Having made the purchase however, this person will not need a car again for a number of years so their change in needs should be accompanied by a change in my own marketing approach (after sales care communications for instance).