Composing the right marketing message is the difference between success and failure. And what about USPs? What is your company's Unique Selling Proposition and is it something your best prospects actually care about? It’s time to work out who is your best target audience (or target audiences) and find out what they really think so in this article we will have a look at how to find your target audience and their true beliefs or reactions:
Let’s start off with a definition of the term research.
Research defined is:
The systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions.
Let me set up a couple of examples here that we can use as we move forward both in this and the rest of these articles.
I am going to give you a couple of real-world examples from my company: Stampede Branding.
What we do for our clients is exactly what we are talking about here.
We help businesses figure out what market they are serving, or which market is the most profitable for them, and then do the investigation into that market: how does this audience think, what problems do they have, what will they spend money on – in other words, how they can deliver what the members of these markets actually want.
For our first example, we will talk about metabolism guru and author, Frank Suarez.
Frank authored a book for the diet market. It’s called The Power of Your Metabolism
Frank is extremely popular in Puerto Rico, Mexico and South America. He has facilities where his staff serves his clients. So, Frank had the idea of serving clients in Florida and he reached out to us to help him reach what he called the “Gringo Market.” When asked what a Gringo was, Frank said that a Gringo is a term for a white guy, and he needed help understanding this audience to help him break into the Florida and USA market and have his books picked up in major bookstores such as Barnes and Noble.
We decided that we needed to develop a cover for it that would appeal to his target market of USA Gringos.
Frank is marketing a weight loss plan, based on the work in his weight loss clinics. This is a big market. Studies are now showing that in America 1 out of 5 people are considered obese.
This book helps people lose weight by helping them master and correct their metabolism. It’s a terrific book that is definitely worth reading.
What we did with Frank’s Book was come up with a few different versions of the cover and make some mock-up images of them.
Different color schemes, different images, different looks and feels.
The three versions were basically this:
• One color scheme-and a hand-drawn logo of a happy, thin person inside a heavy person.
• A version that took the medical approach and looked clinical in nature. More like a textbook to see if that would position him as an expert or authority.
• Finally, a version emphasizing the health and exercise component with fitness imagery and healthy people in workout clothes.
Now it was time to gather research about what people in this market actually wanted.
By surveying people in this market, literally taking to the streets and asking people questions. In the next article we will look at the specifics of how to do just that. For now, we want to concentrate on how to find the right people.
In Frank’s case, he needed a marketing plan for a book. To begin we needed a way to define a target group of people to interview and a quick series of questions to ask them to determine if they were “qualified” or “unqualified” to take part in the research surveys.
So, we needed to find people who were:
• Book Readers, they didn’t want the opinion of people who didn’t purchase or read books
• Specifically, they wanted non-fiction readers, not folks who are only reading romance novels
• Finally, they needed people who were over-weight and who wanted to lose weight.
Next, our staff hit the streets across the country from New York to LA. The interesting thing was that a clear winner quickly arose.
The original, hand-drawn thin man inside a fat man cover was the hands-down favorite.
Now, your first thoughts may have been that one of the other two would’ve been a better fit for the market. But the winning was the thinner person hidden inside the fat man who looked happy. In other words, the way people view themselves versus what they actually look like was a strong motivator and the clear favorite.
Without taking this step, Frank would have gone to the market with a book that would’ve failed to perform to its potential. Not because the content was poor, but simply because the cover only appealed to the author, but not to his market.
This book has since sold over a million copies, proving just how valuable this research can be.
Who doesn’t want to have fun at work?
We all want to have an enjoyable time when working, right?
We help businesses succeed with in-depth market research. And when we want to ensure our marketing messages are right for the target audience, we hit the streets to find that target audience and ask them about themselves directly.
Recently I assisted Greg Winteregg with his book aimed at helping a target audience made up of a couple of different members:
• Business owners or managers who had at least 5 people in their organization
• Entrepreneurs who were interested in starting this type of business
So, we had these as our base qualifiers for our market. Since we were again working with a book, we needed to ensure these people were non-fiction readers as well.
With that information, we were searching for a very specific and smaller set of the population. Whereas normally during an average survey project we may find one qualified candidate for every five we spoke to, in this case it was along the lines of 1 in every 20.
So, when we surveyed these people, we learned what was important to them:
• Obviously, they wanted to make money
• They wanted to work with interesting customers
• Passion for the work itself played a big part. They wanted to work on the parts of the business that were enjoyable.
These folks were looking to have fun. They weren’t afraid of hard work. They welcomed it. They just wanted there to be an element of fun attached.
Greg’s first draft had almost all of that in there. What the survey answers did was help him understand it his audience at a deeper level.
He was able to go back and add a few chapters that spoke to those topics that needed more attention based on what his audience was looking for. Now his book delivers practical tips and tools that his readers can use and implement. Giving that market exactly what it wants.
We even titled the book, “Fun at Work.”
We also used this feedback to design a few covers to test with the market.
We learned that people were looking for a mentor, a figure that embodied what the book was about. Greg fit this description perfectly, having worked with so many great business people and always seeking to help. We knew he could fulfil that role. Plus, if you know him, you know he loves having fun and a good time at work.
So we encouraged Greg to use his own photograph on one of the test covers. And wouldn’t you know it? The one with his photo on the cover tested the best.
By now, you should have a great understanding of the power of market research.
These two examples prove how important this type of research can be. In the next lesson we’ll run through how you acquire this information. We’ll talk about how to put a survey together in part 3.
Comment below on target audiences your business services? Do you service both consumers and businesses? Do they have certain demographics in common (women versus men, age range, location, etc.). What do they have in common?