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Your Marketing Plan Step-by-Step, Page 5

Step 5. Defining your audience

What you need to know about your audience and why.

Who is the buyer?  Marketing is much too expensive to waste on people who aren't interested in what you have to sell. Knowing as much as you can about each of your particular audiences saves you time and money. Once you have targeted your audiences, you can hone in on what appeal is most likely to motivate them, and which tools will capture their attention.

Targeting your audience is also known as defining your market segment - the people most likely to buy from you.

You will have at least three different audiences. Successful businesses can describe their customers in detail - who they are, where they live, what they do for a living, if they have a family, if they travel, where they went to school, about how much money they make and how often they buy. Do this for your business.

 You will need the following demographics to help with this answer:

  • Geography - are your buyers concentrated in specific location/s? Where are they? % in each location?
  • Gender - are they predominately male or female? What % each?
  • Age - what is the predominant age range? What % each?
    Common age ranges are 6-12, 13-17, 18-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, 64+
  • Marital status - are they mostly married, single, widowed, divorced? Give %

Can they buy? What is the income range most likely to afford this? Give a % for each range. Is your price compatible with your customer's ability to purchase? (see Price)

Why will they buy? We all have the same wants and needs, depicted in order on the chart known as Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. These are as follows:

  • Basic needs: food, clothing, shelter, water
  • Need to be safe
  • Need to be loved and wanted
  • Need for recognition/status/self esteem
  • Need for self actualization, i.e., fulfilling your human potential

It's important to remember that the first two needs will override all of the other needs if, for any reason, we feel those are threatened. Example: post 911 we felt our safety was threatened. We all went home and holed up, and didn't go out to shop except for basic needs.

Determine what need you are fulfilling for your buyers. This is critical in crafting the appeal and message that will break through the noise and motivate them.

  • Are your customers driven by basic needs? Status with peers? Social standing with a group? Ego? Fun? Love? Getting a good deal?
  • Is education a factor? Lifestyle? Religious preference?
  • How will your customers use the product? Are they one time users or repeat customers?
  • How will you know if your customer is ready to buy? Are there times of the year when they may be more ready than others? Do holidays factor in? Religious observances? Graduations? Birthdays? Births? Deaths?

How do you go about being this mind reader?

The best information comes direct from the horse's mouth. Ask your customers for this information.

  • Do some informal interviews
  • Make up a survey.
  • Look at the ads that the competition is running. Who is the audience for the ad, exactly? Is it men, women? What percent of each would you guess? 60% men, 40% women? Come as close as you can.
  • What age range do they represent?
  • Where do they live?
  • Can they afford the product or service?
  • What does the ad tell you about their wants, needs, values, lifestyles?
  • How does this audience match the audience for your product or service?
  • How does it differ?

Visit some of your competitors in their physical locations.

Check out who is shopping there, answering the same questions as above
Note whether the place seems prosperous or not

  • Look for the things you like about what they are doing
  • Look for the things you don't like about what they are doing
  • Make a list of the things you will do the same and differently and better than they do.

 Match up the data you gathered from your visits with what you found in the ads. You should have an excellent idea who your audiences are, and to what appeals they are going to respond.

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