Understanding Your Target Customer

Identifying your target market and your ideal customer is essential to creating a sales and marketing approach that gives you the best chance of success. If you don’t know who that target market is, and what your ideal customer wants and needs, it is hard to develop both the products and services that meets those needs as well as the sales and marketing approaches that are likely to succeed. You have to know what your customers want, need, love and hate, trust and distrust and why. If you want your messaging to be effective and your brand to be enticing, you need to know your customers.

“Know your customer.

Know Your Target Customer

As entrepreneurs, however, it is not as if we have large marketing budgets where we can do large scale surveys, market research or focus groups. In light of that, here are a few techniques you can use to hone in on who that target market is and how you can best serve their needs.

  • Create a Mock Persona. This persona is basically a fictional character who exhibits all the traits an “average” member of your target audience is expected to have. Include factors like age, sex, education level and income, as well as disposition factors like temperament, sensitivity or curiosity. Get as detailed as you can.
  • Conduct a Quantitative Survey. Take advantage of some of the free or inexpensive survey tools online to survey some potential audiences. Don’t focus the survey on just what you think may be your target market – open it up to a broader set of individuals to make sure you are not skewing your results. Use multiple choice questions that can give you hard statistics that can teach you about your audience’s habits.
  • Conduct Small-Scale Qualitative Surveys. Complement your quantitative research with qualitative research — the data won’t be as objective, but you’ll learn more detailed insights on your audience’s psychological makeup. Target a small sample of audience members, and use open-ended questions to get long responses you can interpret. Using this data, you could use software from somewhere like Iperceptions to measure your customer experience. Again, ask questions relevant to your brand and product like, “What does the following phrase mean to you?” or “What do you feel when you see this image?”
  • Learn from The Competition. Established competitors have likely already done market research in developing their products and service. Learn from them and pay attention to the tones and themes of the marketing messages they use when attracting customers. It is likely to give you some insight into the customer’s profile. In the process you may even find something about customers that you can exploit to your advantage.
  • Watch the Social Ecosystem Around Your Customer.