“Who are your customers?”
“Who are your customers?” is a question I hear a lot, especially when people are talking about starting a business. But it’s a question I ask myself too. Who are you, dear reader? And if I knew “who” you were, what would I do with this information. This is one of the central questions of marketing, and it applies to every business.
But what aspects of “who” someone is are important? For marketers, the important aspects are those that can help them best tailor advertising and products/services to potential customers. Any quality that people likely to purchase a product or service have in common offers a potential way to appeal to a large number of people, who may be very different in other ways.
Is generation an important factor in your target market?
One of the biggest perceived factors in market research is generational difference. People from different generations tend to have different spending priorities and also tend to engage with advertising in different ways. Now, generational difference is a broad brush in terms of identifying a target market – but it is part of the equation. Drawing up a picture of who your ideal customer is could include various factors, including but not limited to age, profession, commuting habits, hobbies, disposable income, level of aspiration, approach to problem-solving, internet usage, beliefs, favourite TV shows, the list goes on… pretty infinitely in fact.
For example, in their recent article on generational spending differences Sainsbury’s Bank Money Matters team put together this presentation on how different generations act – particularly on how they spend their money. These differences are going to be crucial for some businesses deciding how best to transact with their target market.
Why market research is important
So, why is identifying who your customers are (or who you want them to be) important? Well, part of it is about making the most of your marketing activities and understanding what kind of proposition your target market will react best to. If you want to sell a mobile photo-manipulation app you’ll want to spend the least amount of money on advertising and reap the maximum reward – usage or sales of your app. Ensuring your advertising is targeted at people who are more likely than others to want your app in the first place will mean you are not spending advertising money on marketing to people who are unlikely to be interested in your product in the first place.
So how do you identify your target market? One way is to look at your competition or find trends in your existing customer base if you have one.
Your target market might not be obvious
When we were trying to identify what our target audience was we hit a snag. There was no one group of people who seemed more likely than any other to be interested in Brixx. Sure there were lots of people who wouldn’t find Brixx attractive, or who just weren’t interested in financial planning, but trying to identify a single set of positive qualities proved elusive.
Eventually, we came up with the answer – for us, it was not a single age group, or a single profession, or a single interest that determined our target market. Instead, it’s a set of qualities found across several age groups and industries that we find in common amongst our customers. They are interested in innovation, willing to try new things, looking to save time. They may be planning a new business or searching for new avenues to plan an existing one – but in either case, they are actively looking to the future of a business.