Figuring out your perfect target audience – those buyers most likely to buy, refer and buy again - is the key to a profitable business. This requires market research but “market research” is a term that gets thrown around a lot by entrepreneurs and many who need to have at least a basic level understanding of marketing.
In this series, we are going to run through:
• Keywords you need to understand
• How to research your market to find what your potential customers want.
• How to conduct your research by using a short survey to determine your position in the market.
• Tabulating your results, so you can make sense of what that research is telling you.
So, let’s jump in and talk about some terms using a few examples to illustrate what we are talking about exactly.
The first thing we want to talk about is:
What is a market (or target audience)?
A market loosely defined is a particular area, or group of people that have a certain activities or interests in common, where you go to transact business. You could also say that it is a particular area or niche that you are wishing to conduct business in and that market has specific needs or wants that vary from another market.
Let me give you an example.
Take the large, general area of real estate. We are all familiar with real estate but that is too broad a market for what we are tying to do with our marketing actions. If we are trying to sell a product or service to real estate agents, we’ve drilled down one level. That’s good. But we can drill much deeper. Let me show you what I mean.
If we wanted to get really specific, we could limit our market or area to real estate agents who specialize only in commercial properties. From there we could add the filter: commercial properties that are found downtown.
We could then filter by the agents themselves: we could segment to only look at agents who have five or more years of experience and are females. Now we have a very tightly defined market: Female agents with five years of experience who work with commercial properties located downtown.
This narrowly defined market gives us a precise target at which we can aim our marketing efforts.
Look around and you will begin to notice more and more markets:
• Coffee Drinkers versus Non-Coffee Drinkers
• Health Food Consumers versus Fast Food Eaters
• People interested in financial and insurance products
• iPhone versus Android.
So, returning to our example about real estate agents…when we craft a message to try to motivate these agents, we must be extremely specific in our messaging.
The type of message that resonates with commercial agents is going to be totally different from one that appeals to the agents who specifically sell condos, or beachfront, or a certain price-point. You see the point we are trying to make here, right?
That’s all that’s meant by the term “market” or “target audience”.
Once we know our market, we can focus on marketing…
Let’s define that term, marketing. When we turn to a dictionary for a definition, they say it is:
The action or business of promoting and selling products or services including market research and advertising.
So, taking this definition a step further, we could say that marketing may include everything from the conception of the idea of a product all the way through the sale and how the product is presented that makes it desirable to the target audiences.
Let’s look at a fitting example: Apple’s iPhone.
Someone came up with the idea for the phone, then the company figured out a way to define a market of folks that would be interested in buying it. They did some research on this group of people and learned what type of colors appealed to them. What the logo should look like.
Rumor has it that they even spent over 300 hours just designing and agonizing over what the packaging should look and feel like.
Apple then had to look at how they would sell the product.
Would it be best to sell directly to consumers? Or use retail stores or third-party agents?
Then they crafted messages to let the public know what they had to offer through well thought out TV commercials and Press Releases.
Later, Apple even launched retail stores that sold the new iPhone as well as other Apple products.
The way they positioned these stores was literally “genius.” Geniuses is the name they give to the associates that work in these stores. You can see how that combines to position the associates in an elevated consultant-type position. When you walk into an Apple retail store the geniuses who are not busy stand at various displays and play with the products being displayed which then engages customers into asking about the products they are playing with. These displays draw in different markets such as tech junkies, versus displays for artists and graphic designers who want to play with the latest drawing apps.
Who doesn’t want to receive help from a genius?
Obviously, they did a fantastic job. Look at the results.
Everything comes together to form a cohesive message. And that is what you need to do for your product or service as well.
You need to think about who it is that you want to serve. Then you need to figure out what it is that they want… And finally serve it up to them in a way that they find appealing and valuable enough to give you their hard-earned money.
So how do Apple and other companies come up with these strategies? Check out Part 2 of our Market Research series!
Comment below on what marketing efforts you have in your business. This could be customer service, speed, follow-up, uniforms, sales presentation, initial contact, marketplaces where the contact is made that may have different accepted customs such as LinkedIn versus a networking meeting.