Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Think About the Target Customer

As I have spoken and consulted with business owners, I find that a widespread challenge is identifying the target customer.  So much of a marketing plan hinges on knowing who one's target customer is, yet surprisingly few have a handle on such a basic element.  Good business plans include a discussion of the target, but even there many business plans cast the net too widely.

Some of the big mistakes?  Target customers are not "everyone who lives within x miles", or "everyone who likes gyros", or worse, some variation of "people who like live music, or who like a quiet place to enjoy continental cuisine, or who need someplace to take the kids".  We business owners get into trouble when we don't focus.  It may be that our clientele includes some very different people, but our target must be rather more narrow.  We only have limited marketing resources: we need to strike for those who are the best prospects.  Be brave!

There is no time like the present to step back and clearly envision your true target customer.  Ask yourself what types of people are best served by your business?  who is best represented among your customer base? what do your most profitable 20% look like?  Ask for insights from your mentors and trustworthy observers.  Do some simple market research.  If you are still a little too fuzzy, keep asking questions.

Once you identify the true target customer, your marketing plan will be more productive and you will have more direction on how to serve your public.  Clarity is such a blessing!

So who is your target customer?

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