Are you targeting the right customer? Do you know and understand your target market profile? Do you want to know more about your customers?

Being able to create a target market profile may sound like a no-brainer to some, and good for you if this is you, but for many small business owners who get caught up in the day to day of running the business, it’s not until they stop and take a look around that they realise they may be talking to the wrong people. Their market may have shifted slightly, or they have diversified their business a little, and as a result they are no longer appealing to the right people.

Undertaking a target market analysis can sound overwhelming and expensive, but it doesn’t have to be either. With a little bit of time and legwork, any business can do a full analysis of their target market, including developing profiles, to make sure they are marketing to the right audience in the right way.

How to get started:

The best way to get started is with the information you already have and trust me if you have a website, social media profiles, staff, a POS system and eyes/ears you already have a lot of information at the ready.

Firstly take a look at your current customers and ask yourself:

  • Who is accessing my website?
  • Who is engaging with me on social media?
  • Who is already buying from me? Are they repeat purchasers?
  • What kind of person purchases the most often? What are they purchasing?
  • Do these people share similarities, characteristics, habits or traits?
  • Are there any trends around their buying behaviour such as time of day, day of the week, seasonality, quantities purchased?

If you find you require additional information conduct some research. You can do this by asking customers to complete a survey in store, or online – give them a reward for participating, such as a discount or the chance to win a prize. Do this often enough and you will start to build a great database of knowledge to help you spot trends, issues or opportunities.

Sussing out the competition:

Once you get a simple snapshot of the customer from your existing information, dig a bit further afield and find out who is buying from your competition? If you and your competition are bricks and mortar stores, you could do this simply by going into their store as a mystery shopper (or engaging a family member/friends if they know you) and watching who comes in and purchases. If you are an online business, spend some time on their website and make an educated assessment based on the product they stock, the language they use and if they have a best selling section – identify any trends with the products that could help with your information.

Create the profiles:

Armed with all this data the next step is to profile your target audience, kind of like the FBI does. This is the fun bit and helps you build a ‘persona’ around your audience – big business spend a lot of time and money doing this and from my experience it helps to build a connection with your target market. You will more than likely end up with a primary profile – this will be your bullseye consumer, the one who is purchasing from you the most and is, therefore, the most profitable. However, you will also end up with some secondary profiles of the consumer who shows the most potential to become the bullseye, or the sleeper segment that you need to keep an eye on.

Here are three simple steps to building a profile around your target markets.

  1. Divide the data collected during the current consumer analysis covered in the first step into obvious patterns – such as gender, age, purchase type & frequency, online behaviour etc
  2. Give each group a name, age, job, occupation, income, marital/family status. You have a license to be somewhat creative here, but you will find that what you end up with will be quite accurate.
  3. Finally, give them a personality, hobbies, interests, media habits, lifestyle, life stage – in other words, make them a real person.

Let’s just say you are a food and wine tourism operator, and from your initial research you have noticed a huge number of young women coming through your website booking & enquiries system wanting girls weekend away experiences – an example of a profile may be:

Susan is a 28-year-old single woman who has just moved into her own rented apartment in the CBD, she works full time as a mid-level executive. Susan has a good disposable income and doesn’t mind spending it on socialising, cooking, shopping for the latest fashion or going on weekend breaks with her friends. Her social circle means everything to her and where possible does as much with them as possible. She loves My Kitchen Rules, particularly with her friends so they can do a running commentary and is an avid reader of food blogs and magazines.

Your information may also identify a rise in older couples enquiring about mid-week getaways, so your secondary profile may be:

John is married and in his late ’60s. He’s recently retired, have no children at home so he and his wife like to get away during the week when there are no children also means they are at home during the weekend to catch up with the grandkids. They are both on Facebook, so they can keep in touch with long-lost friends and spy on the kids. John loves food tours and going to destinations that have fine-dining as well as other things to do during the day, like bush-walking. They read the weekend papers, especially the travel section and listen to talkback radio and they love travel documentaries on TV.

This might sound simplistic, but what you end up with is a solid idea about the type of person who is interacting with your goods and services – together with enough detail that will help you understand how you can not only market to them but also how you can package a product or service to them to increase its appeal.

Take it a step further and recruit a focus group based on your profiles –  get approximately 6-8 people together for a purpose led discussion about your products or services, your brand and business and what your market likes and doesn’t like. Find out if your profile is spot on or if your focus groups give you further insights into how to market to them.

What next?

Once you have your target market profiles, use them to influence how you market to each of them. Rarely do small businesses have the marketing budgets to support a mass market advertising approach, therefore well-defined target market profiles will allow you to allocate spend against each segment based on potential return. The result is a more strategic approach to marketing communications, more efficient spend and, more relevant and effective communication.

If you think your business could benefit from a target market analysis and profile, we can help you. Contact us for an obligation free chat.