We know you’re no stranger to the idea of a target market. But do you really know what your target audience needs? When I ask clients about their target markets, they usually rattle off a demographic description—you know, age, location, income level, etc. But they often don’t go a step further to connect the solution they’re trying to sell to their target markets’ daily struggles and frustrations.
Answer some of these questions to get a read on how well you know (or don’t know) the people you’re trying to sell to:
- Who is your target market? Can you go beyond typical demographics to identify their values, interests, personal aspirations, and fears?
- What are your target audience’s most pressing problems? What specific problems can your service or product solve or make better?
- Where does your target audience hang out? Where do they get information when choosing what to buy? Facebook? LinkedIn? The local taproom? Referrals?
- When does your target market typically buy products or services like yours? Is there a trigger point?
- Why do your raving fans love your products and services?
- How do your raving fans explain what you do?
Did you trip up on some of these? If you did, you may have a disconnect between your target market’s daily struggles and the solutions you’re trying to sell. Plus, your marketing strategy could be a costly exercise in futility. One of the biggest problems I see is content that goes on and on about how cool a product is rather than how it will improve someone’s life or solve a problem. If you’ve ever looked at a tech website only to wonder after reading the first page what product they sell, you get what I’m talking about.
Ask not what your target market can do for you; ask what you can do for your target market.
How to get to know your target audience better:
Start with an in-house review.
An easy first step in a target market review should start with the in-house folks who work most directly with your customers: your sales staff and/or account managers.
Account managers are especially tuned in to your customers’ pain points. They act as your frontline problem solvers, and they’ve got ‘the spit’ on your target market’s needs.
Sales, too, are the very people selling your products or services. They’re in touch with customer questions and ways to solve their struggles. Plus, they’re more affordable than a focus group!
Make your life easier. Set up ongoing meetings with your salespeople. Ask them questions like:
- What types of calls did you get from our recent campaign(s)?
- Did our marketing tactics help you close the sale? How specifically?
- What types of questions are customers and prospects asking about our product/service?
- How much did you have to educate prospects in order to close a sale?
- Can you identify any trigger point(s) a client reached to sign on?
For B2Bs, a useful exercise is to team brainstorm all your prospects and put them in priority order based on revenue potential. It may also be helpful to list the geographical areas you serve and then prioritize.
Define your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP).
Use your positioning and value messaging to build this out. Your ideal customer profile clearly defines the perfect customer for what your business solutions provide. Perhaps it’s a fictitious company that fits the bill for your solutions.
Narrow down your target market into specific Ideal Buyer Personas (BPs).
These are semi-fictional representations of your target-market customers that account for the demographics, goals, motivators, and the daily challenges they face. Buyer personas provide structure and context for all teams in your organization, and they help marketing, sales, and support staff map out and curate far more effective content.
Again, this work will help break down any existing barriers between marketing and sales. For that reason alone, this work is worth it, but you’ll also find your marketing will be more closely matched to the needs, culture, and language of your target market.
Give us a call. Your target market will thank you.
Getting to know–really know your target market is one of the most important things you can do to improve your marketing and sales. We’ll get you focused around your customers’ unique problems, so you’ll be able to offer them solutions that they need and understand.