Know Your Customer

Target the right clients

The iPad

On 3rd April 2010, Apple released the first iPad, a totally new device on the market. This was a time when PCs dominated the market, while at the same time, android devices were carving out a niche for themselves. The iPad seemed like a glorified phone, rather than a minimalist PC. In fact, no one ever sat down and felt like they were in dire need of an iPad. Some technology critics argued that Apple was deflecting the pressure from the dying iPod business by releasing an entirely new gadget whose functions were similar to that of its mobile phones, yet it had a screen somewhat the size of a PC. Many would argue that there was no market for the iPad. Yet, how did Apple manage to sell 300,000 units on the first day and a whopping 15 million units by the end of 2010? The answer is simple — Apple had the right product for the right target market.

Do you know who your customer is?

Have you been selling the right product to the wrong person? Are you having a hard time trying to convince your customers why they need your product, yet most of them still remain skeptical? Do you feel like those consuming your product don’t value its true benefits? If so, then you need a rethink. You might be having a case of misdiagnosis. You need to reevaluate who your customer truly is. You don’t want to be administering flu shots to malaria patients.

Understand your product & what you are offering.

Before you convince your customers that they need your product, you must clearly understand what you are offering. Imagine an entrepreneur with an online grocery store. The business is structured in a way that customers use a mobile application to order items online and have the groceries delivered to their door step at a higher cost than a conventional supermarket. What product is this entrepreneur offering? Is this a software company? Is it a transport service business? Or is it simply a grocery shop? Without understanding your product, you will always target the wrong bullseye from the beginning.

Who is your happiest customer?

Some of your customers are constant, others are sporadic. Study those, who are buying from you consistently and are the most satisfied. These are your ideal customers. Conduct a short survey. Simply ask these customers, what are the reasons behind them religiously buying from you day in, day out. They may prefer your business because you are conveniently located, you offer favorable prices, better quality, good service, etc. This is your strength over your competitors. You must therefore strive to maintain or improve your focus on this strength, so that in the rush to win new customers, you may not lose existing ones. Establish where your monthly recurring revenue (MRR) is coming from because this is the vein of your business. Your repeating customers are the people you should target.

Create a Customer profile.

Now that you know what you are offering and why your loyal customers prefer buying from you as opposed to your competitors, you can clearly define your customer profile. Collect all possible information about them. How do they look like? Who are they? What is their age, gender, education level? What’s their family status? What profession are they in? Do they have hobbies? What’s their daily routine? You are likely to find several common features. They should not necessarily be demographic. It can be anything. These aspects may sound trivial, but a proper customer profile drives clarity on who and how to target.

What are your customer’s buying motives?

Different customers buy a similar product for different purposes. They may be a bit more difficult to establish, since many customers wouldn’t reveal the real reasons, be it because they don’t want to or because these reasons are unconscious. It will need some detective work from you. Think about the car. One individual would purchase a car for prestige, while another will get a car because it is a necessity. The latter probably has a family and for him to drop his kids to school, get his wife to work and still get to work on time, he must have a car. He will therefore go for a spacious family car that has a lower consumption and is reliable; maybe a van. The former, on the other hand, would buy a car that represents his social status. The car will probably be sporty and expensive, to show that they are well paid and successful. Analyze your customers with the same spotlight. Are they buying your product because it is a necessity that they can’t do without? Are you offering the latest fashion and they want to remain trendy? Is your product/service a cost saving alternative without compromising on quality? Only after studying your customer needs can you be able to answer these questions accurately.

Target the right client.

Now that you have a clear picture on what your client looks like, target specifically them! Choose the most effective media outlet. A clear picture of your customer is 80% of the job. If your client is of the millennial’s generation, then social media and digital marketing might be a good strategy to employ. If you advise on pension schemes, then the digital marketing may not be optimal. Your ideal client may be corporate individuals who spend significantly less time in social media networks and rather dedicate much of their time in networking sessions, golf tournaments or car exhibitions; then channeling your marketing towards this end would definitely yield results.

Conventional TV, radio, billboards and newspaper advertising is usually expensive; especially because it requires consistency and repetition. Casting your net in the ocean will still catch one or two fish. However, this form of marketing reaches an extremely large audience, the majority of whom is not even close to your target market. So you will end up wasting the biggest part of your promotion investment. Why market a 10% discount on your products to someone in Limuru who won’t travel all the way to Nairobi just to save 100 bob? Other promotion methods would include: handing out flyers in traffic, door-to-door targeting, cold calling your prospective clients.

Do your math. Consider the initial outlay of capital when undertaking such a marketing strategy since in order for this to be effective, you must at the very least break even after the promotion.

No marketing expert can advise you on a strategy or a specific channel before you know your ideal customer.

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