Every Business has a target Market, even the poorly run ones with no idea of who that market is! Sure, you may have a target audience in mind, but do you really know why you chose them? What about the problems they face? What they naturally trust and distrust? Almost every entrepreneur can benefit by learning more about their customers. Here are some great ways to go about it…
Question your Assumptions
Questioning and challenging your assumptions is often the most important way to learn about your target market, as it has the potential to redefine your whole marketing strategy! Never assume anything about the people you’re selling to. Let’s say that you chose middle-aged men as your target market. How did you come to this decision? You may have made a rash assumption somewhere along the line, and started using tones of voice and marketing materials that really don’t appeal to this market at all. The way you view your target audience needs to be backed up by user research and hard evidence. Whatever your assumptions are, dig a little deeper and find out how accurate they are.
Learn from Others
This is one of the most rudimentary lessons everyone in market research needs to learn. Start reading case studies, psychological analyses, and examples which have been carried out by marketers and business owners before you. Industry journals, general research institutions, and in some cases psychological journals can all be great sources for this. Whatever you come across, be sure to filter your data out, and make sure everything you use is as recent and relevant as possible. Having learned from the work of others, you’ll be able to leverage useful insights without having to grind down your own resources.
Create a Customer Persona
Once you’ve gathered enough objective information relating to your market, you’ll be in a good position to create a customer persona. If you weren’t already aware, a customer persona is pretty much a fictional character that’s meant to represent all the traits which you’ll find in an average member of your target market. At the very least, these profiles will include things like their age, gender, educational level and income. A lot of customer personas will include other, less tangible things, like their temperament, emotional sensitivity and curiosity. Create a good enough customer persona, and you’ll know anyone in your market just as well as your spouse!
Conduct Quantitative Surveys
Now that you’ve learned from others and applied what they’ve found, you need to back up your research by getting your hands dirty, and doing some research of your own. Start off with some fairly large-scale quantitative surveys, covering as wide a cross-section of your target audience as possible. These should be based around multiple-choice questions, which will give you hard and useful statistics which will help you learn more about your audience’s behaviour and preferences in relation to your business niche. For example, you could ask: “on a scale of one to ten, how important is X to you?”