Tell it on the mountains, your product has arrived! But who are you telling exactly? If your answer usually sounds like ‘it’s for women between 18 and 50 who’s part of the middle or upper class’ we’ve got some work to do. To define your target market, you’re going to do a little more in-depth customer analysis than a blanket range. Your answer needs to be able to bring out refined details like their tastes, what interests them and how they perceive themselves.
You could be wondering why you would need to do this in the first place. Isn’t the goal of business to open the gates and invite everyone in. No questions asked? Not quite. Doing this target market analysis pre-brand-launch can help you understand your niche; their expectations and needs/wants. Post-launch, it can not only help you increase your customer pool but it can also support your current customers by providing goods/services they want. It can also help to shape the personality of your brand and marketing materials that really speak to them.
Granted, your product could appeal to a variety of customers and we don’t dispute that. However, the power of finding your niche remains. Starting with very precise need or group creates a loyal customer base which you can either grow on or utilize to expand your target market once momentum is achieved. Thus, here are a few things you need to consider when creating distinct types of customer personas to represent your clientele:
Creating the personas framework
Step 1: Scrutinize your product
Before you can analyse your customer, you need to understand your product first. That means listing each of its features and the benefits they bring. Once this is done, list the corresponding person whose life would be made easier by that benefit.
Step 2: Study your market
This is where it gets a little bit ‘group project’ reminiscent. You can gather your information in an informal manner or take a more text-book approach; if the result is as thorough as possible. It could be an email questionnaires, one-on-one interview or surveys through internet portals such as Survey Monkey (If you want a better idea on which research avenue to take, read more about these and other target audience research methods here). According to an article on The Balance, your research should be able answer the following questions:
Where is your target audience located?
How did they find out about your brand?
Why they bought from you
What do they think about your current brand?
What would you like them to think about your brand?
How will you attract them to your products or services?
Who else is competing for their loyalty and devotion?
Step 3: Write out your Customer Description
To get specific with whom your target market is, you’ll have to identify several aspects about your ideal customer. Fashion Business Insider recommends the following attributes:
- Demographics (age, gender, profession, income level, marital or family status)
- Psychographics (values, attitudes, belief systems, pain points aka major areas of frustrations)
- Lifestyle (geographic location, leisure activities, travel)
- Buying habits (brand loyalty, impulse buyer or saver, price awareness, unique features they look out for)
- Customer Needs – remember that needs are stronger than wants and a customer is willing to hand over their money for that thing that meets their needs.
Step 4: Suss out the data
Once you’ve gathered steps two and three, you’ll start to recognize patterns as similarities bubble to the surface. More than one persona template will start to take shape, which you can name and even give an avatar to make it more life-like. This research will also help you to understand if you have a large enough audience for what you’re selling. For a practical example of how you can use target audience data to craft marketing strategies, head over to Grant & Halstead’s article here.
Knowing exactly who your customer is provides much more clarity to processes such as product development, marketing and overall business decision. Being privy to what works and what needs tweaking in your business can not only make your marketing and selling strategies top notch, but it also makes sure you’re selling something people essentially want; on or off trend. It may seem like hard, tedious work but done well, a defined target audience makes for a great return on investment.