Knowing your Audience and Competition: Keep them Close and Top of Mind

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Not knowing your target audience and competition can lose you business. Read the following tips and learn how to better understand the two groups of people you can’t afford to ignore.

You think you know them, but do you really?

Taking time to understand your customers is equally as important as the product(s) or service(s) you sell. In fact, your product or service design and offering should be dependent on the customers you aim at catering to.

Get to know your target market. A target market is a subset of a larger group that may be exposed to your product or service, and essentially the group you will plan your marketing efforts around. Here are some basics you’ll want to know about your target market:

  • location
  • gender
  • race
  • age
  • income
  • disabilities
  • education
  • home ownership
  • employment status

Take it one step further and try to find out their general interests, favourite brands, must-haves, etc.,.

You may be thinking where you will find the time to collect this information. Well, this part is probably easier than you think:

  • Take a look at your company’s Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system or customer database. Identify trends in your customers like gender, location, marital status and so forth.
  • Own a physical store? Pay attention to your customers; age group and gender are easily identifiable and don’t forget to take note of their purchases.
  • Running a customer satisfaction survey? If so, be sure to include demographic type questions in there. Also, a few questions about personal hobbies and interests won’t hurt.

How big is your piece of the pie?

Running a business doesn’t always allow time to take notice of what’s going on outside your headquarters. However, not paying attention to your competitors can take revenue right out of your pocket without you even knowing. Below are some easy ways to stay abreast of your competition. Commit to these tasks and you’ll have a good handle on your competitors:

  • View competitors’ ads routinely. What are there offers and promotions? Can you do better?
  • Visit the competition. If there is a physical storefront, go there. If there is a website, check it out.
  • Buy from them. Being a customer will give you an exact indication of the sales process, customer service and product quality.
  • Join their groups. Is there a company newsletter? Are they on Facebook, Twitter or other online social meeting spots? Stay connected with your competition and pay attention to how they engage with customers and followers.

Knowledge is Power

Once you have learned a thing or two about your customers and competitors, you will want to apply it to your business. For example, let’s say you have figured out that most of your customers are male, 18-24, and living in North York. You can target your advertisements to this demographic and narrow your print and online advertising spend to this location. You may even decide to slowly test ads in other locations. In addition to this, you have noticed a competitor’s offer in a magazine and their listing in an online directory. Do the same, but do it better. For example, run a bigger ad, offer better savings and get your business ranking high in search engines.

Once you have gathered some useful intelligence about your audience and competition, you can make informed decisions regarding your product and service design and  marketing and advertising spend. So what are you waiting for? Get cracking (and ‘knowing’) now.

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