So you’ve just on boarded a new client for your marketing firm. They’re a startup that’s spent a great deal of time and effort building the foundation for their business, but they’re still struggling with determining the target audience for their marketing efforts (and subsequently your efforts too). Even if they have a line of products or services with broad appeal, it still pays to figure out where the best return on investment lies.
Although your client probably wants to disseminate the word about their business as widely as possible, it’s important to realize that it’s going to cost a ton of time and money to make that happen. Although most conventional logic might be to “cast your net widely” — it’s not necessarily constraining to narrow those efforts. Not only will it allow for you and your client to conserve resources, but it will allow you to engage with that target audience on a more meaningful level.
# 1. Check Your Client’s Business Model
Begin your process of choosing a high-ROI target audience by reviewing your client’s business model, and take a good look at what they actually offer to their prospective customers. How do these products and services fill customers’ needs and solve their problems? What is your client doing differently than other competitors in their market space? Try to envision who exactly can receive a tangible benefit from the products and services, and work on formulating a unique selling point that will resonate specifically with those people.
Your next step is to consider the type of info you need to better understand your client’s ideal customer base. What resonates with these individuals, and how can you best speak to them? Just be sure to keep a realistic expectation of who the consumers are; expanding into new markets is laudable, but don’t do it at the expense of your client’s existing consumer base.
# 2. Do Your Due Diligence with Research
Although you might think you already know the marketing landscape for your client’s industry, it’s still a good idea to put in the requisite research. In particular, look at the client’s competition and use the details you discover to better understand your client’s potential customers. It’s likely that the research already exists (or at least, some other market researcher has done most of the heavy lifting on it), and that some source has already put most of the pieces together for you.
One thing to know when working with someone else’s research, however is this: Not all of it is completely relevant to your needs as a marketer. Your challenge is to sort through it and find the bits that apply most closely to your client and their audience. But with a little digging, who knows? The precise market research you need could be a few clicks away.
Of course, if the research doesn’t already exist, then you might have to conduct it yourself. The advantage of doing your own research is that you get to hear it from the proverbial horse’s mouth via customer interviews, targeted surveys, and by organizing focus groups. This kind of research has the potential to provide valuable insights into your client’s preferences.
# 3. Draw Up a Comprehensive Customer Profile
Your next step, once you’ve gathered all the research, is drawing up a comprehensive profile of your client’s ideal customer. It should analyze many different variables: their lifestyle, their affinities, their demographic information (age, income, region, etc.), their belief system and values, and more. This type of data-mining is vital to creating a realistic picture of who’s buying your client’s goods and services, and what motivates these people in making their purchasing decision.
But knowing how to pinpoint your target audience is only half the battle. You have to know where they go online, which social networks they use, what type of phones and tablets they own — all of this will help you to shape your message and tailor it to appeal to them.
# 4. Stay Current on the Market and Respond to Changes Quickly
Figuring out the client’s target consumer base and learning what motivates them to buy isn’t your final step. Your (sometimes impossible) obligation is to continually do the secondary and primary research it takes to keep pace with the changing trends that inevitably will take place. Your client’s target consumer may change over time — their tastes might evolve and their needs could go in a different direction.
Follow these four tips and you’ll be able to choose the most effective audience for your marketing efforts. This, of course, will exponentially increase your marketing ROI. What other tips do you have for marketers who are trying to better target their marketing campaigns?
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