customer targeting step-by-step

the first principle of marketing is know
your customer it’s the key to having a sustainable business only when you know
in some detail who your customer is what they think what they like where they’re
most likely to hang out you can find the best ways to reach them and do business
together you need to know understand and satisfy their wants and needs in fact
that’s the very definition of marketing from the Chartered Institute of
marketing when someone seeks to do business buy our products and services
there’s a rational and emotional element to their decision making and marketing
communications need to appeal to the way they might feel and think about our
company and its products and services we need to understand the emotions involved
the information required to reach a purchase decision and get that emotional
rational mix just rights this can of course depend entirely on your product
or service and the one or need that it satisfies for your customer is it for
example to satisfy a basic human need for survival food and water or is it for
a greater need such as health and safety is it to satisfy a want rather than the
need as a marketer there are many decisions to make but it’s only when you
understand your customer that you can make the best judgments on what will
help them to decide to purchase your product or service to clarify the
terminology here segmentation is about creating groups of customers with
similar characteristics targeting is the decision about which segments or
segments a business decides to prioritize with sales and marketing
efforts customers don’t fit neatly into a box
that would make a marketer’s roll far too easy broadly speaking we have three
types of customer prospective customers existing customers and lapsed customers
all three are important to our business and although the characteristics may be
similar they require a different marketing plan because they all go
through a different journey the prospective customer needs to become
aware of us before they buy the existing customer needs regular contact and to
know about your full range of products and services before they buy more from
you and the Lapps customer needs a reminder to come back for lapse
customers you need to understand why they left or switch to a competitor and
know how you can win them back can you clearly identify these three types of
customers for your business and do you have a plan for each when you believe in your product or
service it can be difficult to understand they’re not everyone in the
world will want to purchase from you could you for further demand if they did
your customer can’t be everyone everyone is just too broad and no generic
marketing message can appeal to the emotional and rational criteria in the
decision-making process your product or service just might not be suitable it
might not be affordable it might just not be relevant at a point in time
marketers need to understand who a product or service is relevant for and
all the nuances such as needs and timing that trigger demand it’s important to
have a very clear focus on the people you do want to target with information
about your product or service this doesn’t stop people from outside those
criteria speaking to you or buying from you but targeting a specific group or
groups allows you to focus and use your marketing resources most effectively
throwing muder a wall hoping something will stick or putting out loads of
content that just becomes noise and is ignored is not only wasteful it can be
damaging to your brand and reputation as consumers were exposed to over 5,000
marketing messages a day with focus we can break through the clutter and show
relevance to the people that matter most to a business when you have that focus
and make best use of your resources you will not only increase your return on
investment but you will see happier customers customers who have their needs
met by your products and services and who will advocate to their friends and
peers a major part of buying behavior is a
purchase decision process and this is what we’re seeking to understand when
we’re planning our approach to marketing to our chosen target group of customers
some of the decisions may be made on impulse while others need some time for
information gathering and deliberation at its core there are five stages to the
decision-making process problem recognition information search
evaluation of alternatives purchase and then post-purchase evaluation a customer
must decide whether or not they’re satisfied with the decision they made if
they’ll buy again or if they’ll recommend your product or services to
others if your marketing b2c think about the purchase decision your customers are
taken when they select your product or service is it an impulse purchase does
it require more consideration what information is required to each of these
five stages let’s take a quick look at some example
b2c customer characteristics and consider how they may impact our
marketing activity geographical reasons if you have a bricks and mortar business
retail stores health clubs well-being practitioners etc you need to find
customers that live or work locally who can visit you easily demographic factors
such as age and gender might be relevant to the decision to buy your products and
services family makeup – for example is your customer newly married do they have
a young family or are they preparing for their children to leave home these could
all impact on the decision to buy your product and service and also the
criteria they use to make that decision psychographic characteristics are less
tangible but nevertheless important lifestyle people’s values their social
class and personality can all be relevant to the decision to choose your
product and service over another so what do you need to know about the
characteristics of your customers what else do you need to find out hit pause
and write it down influencing decision-making lies at the
core of all marketing efforts with subject to thousands of marketing
messages every day everywhere we turn so how do we know which ones will break
through and how our potential customers are influenced by many factors from
their own knowledge and experience to the knowledge and experience shared when
they ask their friends family and peers situational factors can influence a
purchase decision impending bad weather can encourage people to stock up on food
items good weather can encourage spending on items for the garden
situations can also stimulate a need for products such as when a television set
breaks down or a child starts new school lots of factors which again can be
influenced by knowledge experience friends family and colleagues purchase
decisions are also influenced by marketing many organizations are on
regular awareness-building campaigns as well as running specific promotional
offers when a problem is recognized and the information search stage begins we
hope to be recalled or to be found more often than not this now means online
understanding the criteria being evaluated is important for many
consumers this is where perception and attitudes come into play some may have
environmental concerns and ethical reasons to select one organization their
products over another some may be stimulated by certain packaging key
messages and celebrity endorsements as you can see there are lots of factors to
consider when you next go around the supermarket think about how you decide
what products to put in your basket think back to the last big purchase you
made for your home and note down the factors you considered then put yourself
in your customers shoes and make a list of all the factors the who the what the
why the how and the when that might influence their decision making this is
the start of creating a buyer persona the promotional element of the marketing
mix covers advertising public relations personal selling direct marketing and
sales promotion this is where marketing is part science once you have some
information about your customers you can research media options and find out the
best matches for your customer profile traditional media holds information
about their audience and use this as their sales talk to potential
advertisers they produce media packs detailing the profile of their readers
whatever titles are good for advertising are good for public relations to imagine
if you can get featured in a product review in the national press at no
financial cost of course not all promotional options will be feasible but
the research will be valuable and they may become relevant in the future you
might be surprised to find an outdoor poster site is the perfect location for
people on their way to your new store or that you can advertise your event in a
magazine that gets distributed through letter boxes in the local community at
just the right time you might run specific promotions to trigger a need
for your product or service for example flowers are popular gifts on
Valentine’s or Mother’s Day so you may wish to update your marketing activity
just before these dates don’t forget to ask your customers how they heard about
you check out the activity of your key competitors check your sources of
website traffic look at your facebook Insights Instagram insights Twitter
analytics LinkedIn company page analytics to check the demographics of
your social media audiences subscribe to the publication’s your target audience
by knowing your customer and their media habits is knowing how to best reach them
once you’ve reached your customer you need to capture their desire for your
product and encourage them to take action to buy this won’t happen in one
hit in fact it takes seven or more touchpoints to happen so think long term
rather than quick fix here’s some top tips to help make buying from you a
simple decision show people like them using the product or service show you
how the product or service is used by people like them illustrate your
customers within your marketing activity use the language that they use ditch the
jargon create a sense of FOMO fear of missing out include happy customer
testimonials promote scarcity use of time-sensitive or limited availability
offer this is where you can use data and insight to get creative
and you reach or BTC customer by knowing where they are what they read what
they’re doing that’s how you find them a buyer persona is a research-based
representation of a particular customer segment and they used to help you
understand your chosen target market specifically their needs what goals
they’re trying to achieve their pain points their challenges how you can help
and their communication preferences a buyer persona includes all the factors
you need to address to get them to buy your product or service they help you to
connect with the people you’re targeting when you plan your marketing activities
you will focus entirely on your buyer personas some people even give them a
name and set out an empty chair for them in planning meetings it’s a way to bring
the data to life and humanize your research
after all it’s real people who spend money so let’s find out how to create
these buyer personas if you want to know how your buyers make
decisions you need to ask them to tell you their story encourage them to talk
to you about their decision-making process the alternatives they considered
the key criteria they were assessing your product or service against there
are a number of approaches to preparing personas you can ask internal
stakeholders such as sales and customer support colleagues you can refer to
published reports and survey findings but it’s only by interviewing that you
can probe deeper and gather real insights do your own research and
advance and use other data to support the interviews including your website
analytics where people have visited from what keywords they used to find you what
they did once they’re on your website etc if you don’t yet have your own
customer data perhaps you don’t sell directly to end-users you’re a business
startup or you’re looking to expand into a new market or launching a new product
then look for external sources online or in a library external sources can also
add valuable insight to your own research min tells market reports are
just one example global Web index has a global panel of over 18 million
consumers across 40 countries and can be used to export insights across different
audience data sets and another example of useful external data is TGI from
cancer media TGI collects information from a representative sample of adults
ask questions about attitudes motivations media habits and purchase
behavior it’s used a lot by media owners and agencies to help them understand how
best to reach their audiences you should carry out between eight and ten
interviews this should be enough for you to find some patterns in behavior and
common characteristics that will allow you to identify specific segments of
customers create a discussion guide and explore them during the session probe
the responses you receive with more questions such as how did you decide to
tell me more about and what was important about you could then take the
interview findings and validate them with a larger survey for example an
online questionnaire the more research you could apply to the creation of a
persona the more accurate they become and the better you know your customer
the better you’ll be at making marketing decisions it’s unlikely that you will
know exactly how many buyer personas you need until you start creating them until
you start speaking to your customers you may not be able to identify the
characteristics they have in common it’s unlikely that personas are simply based
on demographic criteria it’s more likely that you’ll have buyer
personas based on the trigger for need in your product or service once you have
your buyer personas it’s important to revisit them regularly at least once a
year to ensure they’re up to date the time it takes to profile your customers
is time and resource saved later on you

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