Any time you’re in business, whether you’re a small business owner or a supplier trying to get into the various retail markets, you need to know your target audience. Reaching your target audience means being aware of every aspect of the process, from choosing your products to packaging and marketing message.
No matter if you’re doing something for work or fun, you need to know your target audience. This is especially vital when you’re in sales, otherwise you will never achieve Over The Top Performance. Think of it this way: if you’re selling heavy farm equipment, you’re not going to approach Walmart. It just doesn’t fit.
So, how do you figure out the target audience and what they need? You might be surprised to find out just how much goes into reaching your target market.
First, you need to figure out the demographics of who you want to sell to and then figure out what they need. That way, you can develop a product that fits their needs. If you already have a product, you need to figure out which demographics it would best serve.
Demographics includes any information you can glean about your potential customer. Gender, age, socio-economic status, and sometimes ethnicity are usually the big figures most companies examine. But your research needs to go beyond that to narrow down to your most likely customer profiles. This is where understanding data is important!
What need am I meeting?
Next, ask yourself: Why do these people need my product? What problem am I solving for them? Keep in mind, the stores are filled with all kinds of products. What makes yours stand out amongst the competition for the consumer?
Choosing your stores
Another aspect of knowing your target audience is knowing the type of store you want to sell in. What kind of audience do they attract? I’ve been selling to Walmart, Sam’s Club, and other major retailers for more than 30 years. Over this period, I’ve developed a keen eye for items that will sell and those that need something a bit extra to appeal to customers.
I’ve also seen some items do great in the retail grocery market but then not do so well in the club trade market. Some items may be a good fit for both types of markets, but even then, they will probably need different packaging.
You also will need to consider that your product will do best when sold online before you attempt to get into brick and mortar stores. In this day and age, products often need to earn their place in the online market before buyers will give up coveted physical shelf space.
In lieu of choosing your stores you want to be in, also consider if your item is of regional interest. You’re not going to sell frozen seafood on the coast of Florida but that could go over great in the middle states, for example. Even if your product is popular all over the country, it might need different packaging for the various markets.
No matter your audience, price point will be an issue. Does your product demand a higher price point? You will need to market it to the audiences who are more willing and able to pay for value. Price point considerations could take in age, income status, and even geography. For example, most people expect things to cost more on the coast than if they purchased it in the Midwest.
Competition and brand equity
Is there a competing item that already has traction in that category? How much brand recognition do you have that you would be able to compete? How is your item packaged compared to the competition? Will it attract attention from 10 feet away?
A few final thoughts
It’s important to keep in mind that consumers are far savvier than your ancestors were. With the internet, consumers can do research on any item. They can get information at their fingertips to decide if your product fits their needs. If you know your audience well and help them readily find the information they need to make that buying decision, you will find success.
Not knowing your target audience is a recipe for disaster and will always diminish your ability to achieve Over The Top Performance!