STRATEGIES AND TACTICS FOR UNDERSTANDING YOUR TARGET CUSTOMER
Photo by Blake Wisz
When developing a brand or marketing a product or service, identifying your target community is only the first part of the process. Now you need to learn the target customer and what makes them tick—their needs, desires, fears, motivations, and so on—so you can begin to understand how your brand fits into their larger picture.
To illustrate, let’s assume you’ve figured out your primary target market is affluent single adults aged 18-28. That’s important to know, but what else do you know about them? What are their priorities? How do they spend their money? What causes do they care about? Where do they shop? Where do they hang out? What are their political views? The answer to these and other questions will give you a framework for developing your brand image in a way that resonates with them, builds their trust and earns their loyalty. Let’s discuss a few key strategies for getting to know your target community a bit better.
CREATE AN IDEAL CUSTOMER/CONSUMER PROFILE
Many companies find it helpful to develop a customer profile— an avatar – who represents their ideal customer, including their habits, beliefs, and values. Example: Janie is 28 years old, married with two children. She works part-time as a dental hygienist, goes to yoga three times a week, attends church or synagogue, enjoys going to the movies with the kids, and doesn’t mind pampering herself at the local spa when she has the money. You might not have all these details immediately, but the customer profile gives you a framework to fill in the blanks as you learn more about your ideal customer.
LEARN WHERE THEY SPEND TIME ONLINE
This sounds a bit like “stalking,” but think of it more as market research. Try to discover which social media platforms your target community spends the most time on (e.g., Facebook, Instagram, TikTok). Once you have an idea, don’t just set up a profile on those platforms—become a participant yourself. Find out which online communities they’re tuning into, what podcasts they’re listening to, which forums they check out, what influencers they follow, etc. The idea here is to find out what media your community regularly consumes, then listen in yourself, so you’ll begin to understand their priorities, how and where they consume content, and hopefully chime in with helpful thoughts of your own.
LEARN WHERE THEY SPEND TIME OFFLINE
Once you’ve begun connecting with your target community online, you’ll start getting clues as to what they do offline, as well. Here’s where you begin to learn about the day-to-day habits of your target market—where they like to shop, their favorite gym, what sports or recreation they enjoy, where they take the kids for fun, and so on. If you are trying to reach a local market, you might even find more specific information like which local pubs they frequent or which gyms they attend.
SURVEY THOSE THAT ARE SIMILAR
Sometimes the best way to find out what’s important to someone is to simply ask them. Identify a few current customers that you consider to be within your target community, and ask if they would be willing to participate in a brief survey. Your questions don’t need to be too probing or personal, but try to frame them in a way that will help you understand more about what makes them tick. (Also, don’t be afraid to ask them what they’d like to see in your product or services that you’re not currently offering.)
Not all the information you obtain with these strategies will apply directly to your product or service, but they will help you build a picture of who your ideal customer is, who’s connecting with you, and how your brand can help make their lives better.
Wicked Bionic can help you develop and implement these and other strategies to gain a deeper understanding of your target community.