Marketing

Do you really know your market? The six questions every business owner should be able to answer

Kye White /

When you decide to go into business you need to be absolutely clear about who will buy your product and why. You need to be able to identify them with great clarity.

There’s no room for vagueness, guessing, crossing fingers or hopeful estimations when it comes to this stuff. The skills and tools required to create an idea are very different to the skills and tools required to grow market share.

If you are in business, or starting a business, you obviously have a product or service that you think other people or organisations want to buy. But thinking this and knowing how and why it will happen are two very different things.

At some point in their busy lives, with all sorts of other options available to them, you want people to look at your product and say, ‘Yes, this is what I need’. These people or organisations are referred to as your target market, and you need to know exactly who they are.

Why is this so important? Because if you’re not shaping your business from the foundations up, focusing on how you can serve your target market, you are going to try to be everything to everyone and actually be no good to anybody.

So now that you know why it’s so important to find out who your target market is, let’s have a look at how you go about doing it.

There are six questions you must be able to answer about your target market. If you can’t answer all of these questions you won’t be able to meet the needs of your target market.

These six questions are:

1. Who is the person or organisation you wish to serve?

You need to be able to define them in detail. For example, ‘parents’ is not a well-defined target market. What age are they? How many kids do they have? Where do they live?

Defining ‘parents’ as a target market is just the beginning: you have to drill down deeper and work out what sort of parents you’re targeting.

2. Where do they congregate in their greatest concentration?

Where are they being influenced? Is it in online forums, Facebook sites, or down at the local school or sporting organisation? Knowing where your target market hangs out gives your marketing efforts an immediate focus.

3. What is their desired #1 big outcome?

What is the problem you solve for them? If they don’t have a compelling pain point that you can fix your offering will likely leave them unmoved. You need to know inside-out why this group of people might want to buy your product or use your service and then sharpen your offering to a compelling point.

4. When is their highest level of frustration?

When will they say, ‘I need to buy this’? One in 10 of your future clients is not ready to buy right now but is thinking about doing so. When do they say ‘now is the time’? This is when the window of opportunity to convert leads and interest into sales is at its highest.

5. Why will they choose you?

Why will they discriminate in your favour and open their wallets for you? This is one of the hardest questions to answer. Whatever your product or service, your potential ‘A’ clients have other options available to them. Your challenge is to ensure you make it easy for them to buy from you.

6. How do you expect them to do business with you?

How do you expect them to communicate with you, contact you, and correspond with you? How can they let you know they are interested in your services? Will this be online, face to face, over the phone, or a combination?

In our modern, highly connected world it’s more important than ever to make it easy for people to interact with you and buy from you. There are always other businesses they can buy from if you make life hard. How can you let them know about you and your service or product?

The more you understand the who, where, what, when, why and how of your target market the better you’ll be able to shape your business.

Your target market can be broken down further into niches to help give you even more clarity about your customers. Each one of the niches you identify needs to be defined and dissected, just like your overall target market.

If you don’t know your target market and what they want, the only way you can solve their problems is by getting lucky, and luck is not a strategy for success.

Stefan Kazakis is a business strategist, sought-after presenter and speaker and author of the new book, From Deadwood to Diamonds (Major Street Publishing, $29.95). For more information please visit www.stefankazakis.com .

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Kye White

Kye began his career at a Fairfax daily on the North-West Coast of Tasmania. He has since taken his belongings, and keen interest in technology, to Melbourne. He has a bachelor of Arts majoring in Political Science from the University of Tasmania and a Graduate Diploma in Journalism from RMIT University.

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