Before we start marketing and sending messages out, we really need to think about who it is we want to receive these messages, who are our ideal clients or customers?
Previously in Part Two, The Diagnostic Test, we looked at where we are now. Now it’s time to focus on which direction to choose. A good place to start is to develop buyer personas for your target customers as this will help you focus on getting the right message to the right people at the right time and in the right way.
Buyer personas are relevant no matter what the size of your business, whether you are a solopreneur or a big company and most will have more than one type of ideal customer so it’s normal to have a few.
Some of the questions to think about when putting together pen pictures of your different types of customer:
- How old are they? Where do they live? Are they married? Do they have children? Which income bracket do they fall into?
- If they are employed, what do they do for a job? Do you know what is success likely to mean to them?
- Can you identify their goals and priorities? How could you help them achieve their goals? Are there challenges they might be facing?
- Concerning their values, what’s important to them? Are there any common objections they might have when considering a product/service like yours? What drives their decision-making process?
- Where are they? Are they on social media? How do they communicate? What media do they consume?
As well as thinking about the types of customer or client you do want, it’s also important to think about the types you don’t want:
- Difficult customers
- Those that are too expensive to support
- Those that don’t have enough budget
- Those simply in the wrong industry/sector
All of the above should help you pull together a one-page document for each type of customer or client. These documents don’t have to remain static; you can add to them as you learn more about your customers/potential customers. Clarifying the types of people who can benefit from your products or services and understanding the challenges or pain points you can provide solutions for is a critical aspect of attracting and retaining customers.
The Ansoff Growth Matrix
There is also a framework for identifying where your customers lie which you can use to work out where to find them and how to reach them, this is the Ansoff Growth Matrix. Ansoff was a mathematician but he was also a business thinker and he created the matrix back in the 1930s to help businesses understand the relative risks involved in various strategies.
Taking a step back from your business, what challenges, problems or desires do you address for your customers? How could you meet their needs differently? Let’s look at this in the context of the matrix.
This is the easiest thing to do if you want the lowest risk. Keep selling the same products and services to the same type of customers and clients just more of them.
- Increase your marketing and communications efforts.
- Revisit past clients and let them know you’re still around.
This is a medium-risk strategy. You’re going to keep looking at what your current client needs and develop new products and services for them. It’s a good way of extending your product range.
- You’ll need to do some research, find out what’s going on and what the trends are.
- Competitor benchmarking – what are your competitors doing, how can you do something better?
Finding customers in new markets for your existing products and services.
- Different parts of the country
- Different sectors
The toughest option of them all! Launching a new product or service in a new market. This is often where start-up businesses lie, particularly tech start-ups. If customers can’t understand what you do or why they need it, you’ll have a hard time convincing them.
The above should give you a good understanding of who your ideal customers are and where you might find them so you can start thinking about the best place to direct your marketing efforts. Thinking about the challenges they face and the solutions you can provide may have also given you food for thought around whether to continue as you are or whether it is time to look at meeting their needs in a different way, or targeting a different sector completely.
The next step of our Marketing MOT journey is thinking about our ultimate destination – see Series Part 4 – where do we want to be in terms of market positioning, turnover, profit, and cash.
In the meantime, you can watch the third video in our series ‘Feeling anonymous? Help your business reach top gear and be ready to shout about it’. And of course, if you haven’t already, you can download our Marketing MOT e-book here.
In addition to our free resources, we have also put together a workbook which can be purchased here, which will take you through the various tools and models mentioned and help you formulate your marketing plan and strategy.