Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Target Practice

Being a Texas girl (Dallas native born and raised), I've spent a good share of time around guns and firing ranges. The key to hitting a good clean shot in the "heart" of the silhouette is to get calm and steady and just gently, but firmly squeeze the trigger (in other words, focus then commit).

The process of finding and studying potential customers for your venture doesn’t have to be complex or expensive, but it is extremely important. In a nutshell, it requires you to find out everything you can about the customers whom you intend to pursue. Once you have that information, you’ll have a much better chance of capturing those customers for your business.

The facts you need to know about your target market fall into these three categories:

Begin your research by checking the demographics of the region that you plan to target. You’ll want to know the population’s make-up in terms of age, gender, income level, occupation, education, and family circumstances — married, single, retired, and so on. But to be truly effective, dive deeper.

Yes, I'm a 35-40 year old, single, white female living in Dallas who graduated from UT Austin and works full-time, but so are probably 200,000 other women. Is your messaging REALLY talking to me? I'm allergic to cats; I love music from country to rap to symphony; I'll gladly pay $1200 for a designer handbag, but won't spend more than $50 on a belt. I drive a 2008 Lexus IS350, but I cringe when I spend $4.50 at Starbuck's for a Chai Tea Latte. I love Neiman Marcus... I also love Target. What do these things say about me? Does your company know me?

Give some thought to where and how your target customers live. Are they Southerners or Yankees; urbanites, suburban soccer moms, or country folk? Are they risk-takers or conservative, athletes or couch potatoes, spenders or savers? The answers will help determine what you can sell to them, how you should sell it, and at what price.

Again, I live in Uptown and rent my apartment. However, I could afford a $400,000 home. Why don't I choose to own? I spend almost $150 a week on groceries, yet I live alone. Whole Foods organic products all the way, baby. What does this say about me? How do these facts relate to your company?

Consider all of the reasons why people might purchase your product or service. For example, if you’re opening a string of health clubs, will your customers come to meet other people, to take exercise classes, or to play racquet sports with their friends? Find out by talking to people in the local fitness industry and by quizzing friends or acquaintances who go to health clubs. Then you can design and market your club accordingly.

I work between 30 and 60 hours a week depending on the state of current clients' projects and how well I've scheduled my time and my team's time. Some weeks, I can take all of Friday off. Some weeks, I'm lucky to get the dishes out of the sink and into the dishwasher. It's chaotic. I really need a personal assistant / concierge service. I need a maid. I need a personal shopper. I want people who organize interesting lectures and organizations to reach out to me so I'll get out from behind this stinking computer. Is your company aiming for me?

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