Market Targeting Step #1 – Market Research

Focus_GroupThe first step in making sure we are talking to our Target Market is, Market Research. This is where we start to see a picture of our target market so that we can build a business aimed specifically at meeting their needs. When we know the people in our market perfectly, it becomes easier to “draw a line” from them directly to the products and services best suited to solve their problems. It’s time to gather and analyze real data about our audience.

Qualitative and Quantitative Data – We Need Both!

Quantitative research looks at the big picture. It takes a large sample of over a hundred people or more and uses that sample to look at trends. If we pick one hundred random people in our market, we can probably assume that they represent the general population of our market.

One of the quickest and easiest quantitative research tools is the online survey. We may find out, for example, that 70% of the people we survey find our new product attractive. It then might be fairly safe to assume that 70% of all consumers would think so as well. (Email Marketing and Online Surveys by Constant Contact make it easy to connect with your customers. Try it FREE for 60-Days.)

Qualitative research is not as easy, but it gives us important information that we don’t get through quantitative methods. It’s really not numbers but feelings, impressions, words, and images. A deeper and more objective look based on interaction with our sample audience.

A frequently used tool for qualitative research is a focus group where we gather a small group, maybe five to ten people, from our customer base and open a discussion about our products that use questions to drill down to how they really feel about us and our products. Qualitative research may also include individual interviews and techniques like role playing.

Building Our Target Market Profile

All of our market research helps us create a profile of an imaginary, or “composite” person… our ideal customer. To make it easy to refer to our ideal customer, many companies even name him or her, so make your customer’s profile as complete as possible. It will have not only demographic and geographic information, but also how their feelings about things – beyond your products. This “psycho-graphic data” is just as important as geographic date. Knowing how people in our markets see themselves, how they use our products, what they’re most afraid of, what they hope for in the future, and so on.

Finally, combine all of the traits we’ve discovered about our audience (demographic, geographic, and psycho-graphic). Edit them down to 10 or 12 that are the most important. As this step is crucial to identifying our “ideal customer,” take a lot of care here. We may even find it a good idea to revisit this analysis if we want to re-familiarize ourselves with our ideal customer, or even if we want to try to make our marketing work even better.

The real benefit of creating a profile of our ideal customer is that we can create all of our sales and marketing materials as though we’re speaking directly to someone in our market face-to-face – makes it much easier.

Do Not Assume!

When you do market research, you are on a journey of discovery. Be absolutely objective. Let the data drive the picture you create. Making assumptions without data often leads to the wrong customer… not YOUR customer. When you start your research, go into it knowing that you do NOT know your customer, and discover your customer from the data.

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