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Marketing 101 – Targeting a Market you can’t Reach

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As much as we all like to think that our product or our particular service is something that everyone on the planet really, really needs and wants – the reality of the situation is that there are really some people out there who don’t need the product or service, or who don’t want the product or service and in some cases don’t deserve the product or service, and in some extreme cases some who you don’t want to have the product or service. These people are very definitely not in our ‘target market’ and I am sure that you will agree, marketing to them would be a complete waste of time, energy and money. It’s just the way it is.

So logic must therefore tell us that there is a specific group or type of people or businesses that it would be ideal to market to – those specific people and businesses are commonly known as our ‘niche’ market or ‘target market’ and they are the ones most likely to purchase whatever it is that we are selling.

What we often do then is to market to people that are in our ‘niche’ or ‘target market’, but then going from one extreme to the other – instead of marketing to all and sundry (which as we have seen from the above is a complete waste of time, energy and money) we tend to go to the other extreme and narrow the target market down to such an extent that it only pertains to a handful of people and they live in Alaska. Now that is also not too clever is it? It means that that particular market will not sustain your business. So clearly it is a good idea to be really sensible about this.

I find that writing stuff down helps me, so make of note of EXACTLY (the narrowest ideal person(s)/company) who need your product or service. Then expand on that list to others that may have a need (but not necessarily understand that they need it yet) and then people who would love to have it (whether they need it or not) and of course people who have the money to purchase it. Your list will have grown somewhat by now I am sure. Then have a look at the things you can ‘add on’ or value add to what ever it is that you sell and go through the exercise again – you will be amazed now at how your list has grown. Finally see if you can partner with someone who does something similar or something that can fit in with your business (for example for me as an Internal Auditor to partner or JV with an Accountant is quite logical and now I have two data bases and two lots of target markets to look at) and then go through the exercise again – you will be pleasantly surprised at what you find. Each time you ‘partner’ or ‘collaborate’ with someone else, go through the exercise again – so if I now ‘collaborate’ with an attorney, I will be able to target a far greater number of people again, and so on.

So now you have created a customer profile and identified the characteristics or needs of your potential buyers and you have identified your ‘niche’ or ‘target market’. Now you need to have a look at whether they are long term clients or ‘once’ off. As much as it is really great to sell to ‘once’ off buyers – they are spending the money after all, it’s even nicer to be able to build up a data base of clients who come back time and time again – not because your product broke or because your service didn’t do the trick, but because of the quality of your product or service.

Finally, beware of targeting people who cannot afford your product or service. There are some people out there, who no matter how much they love your product or service, no matter how much they desire your product or service and no matter how much they need your product or service – just can’t afford it or don’t have the money. Don’t make the mistake of trying to sell your product or service to them – the sad reality of this is that either you will sell it to them and never see the money or you will be competing for their grocery money. Not a good idea all around.