Naturally, every brand or business wants everyone to be interested in purchasing their products or services. Although it would be great, however, that’s just not realistic when mapping out your target audience.
You might ask yourself, how do I research my potential customers? This guide is to help business owners to understand the importance of researching customers and how to do it.
There are three essential components that every brand should focus on when developing their target market which are: customer segmentation, targeting and competitor analysis. Throughout this guide we will explain and highlight the importance of each one.
Segmentation is critical when developing your customer marketing strategy because it provides an in-depth understanding of characteristics that make up your potential customer. This helps you define your target market while learning how to communicate which products or services are most relevant to your customer segment.
For segmentation, characteristics can range from demographics, psychographics, consumer behavior and lifestyle attributes. Let’s take a deeper dive into each of these.
- Demographics are factors that describe who your customer is such as age, education, gender, location, annual income, occupation, marital status and many more. These factors are important because you want to know what the average customer for your brand looks like and do they align with what you’re trying to sell.
- Psychographics answers the why of your customer by helping you understand the attitudes, opinions, interests, values and lifestyle of your potential target market. This allows you to understand why a consumer may or may not be interested in your product or service based upon psychological attributes.
You can learn more about a customer’s psychographics by using databases such as Mintel and TalkWalker. In addition to, conducting surveys, focus groups, and in-depth interviews.
- Consumer behavior studies the processes consumers choose and navigate in order to make a purchase decision. This can include brand loyalty, packaging, shopping habits and even social channels.
- Lifestyle attributes focus on the way a customer lives through life by considering hobbies, entertainment, lifestyle routines and more. This can be a valuable component if you are trying to understand what your customer does for fun or how they live their life.
You can learn more about this by studying the psychographics of your customer or even conducting surveys and interviews.
Overall, segmentation is an important step when researching your audience because it allows you to identify which characteristics are most important. In addition, with customer segmentation you can create a buyer persona. A buyer persona is an ideal representation of what your customer segment(s) will look like based upon market research, secondary and primary research.
After creating your customer segments, it is now time to decide which customer segment is worth targeting. You can filter out this information by keeping these questions in mind:
- How many prospective customers are within this market segment?
- How can we reach the audience that we want?
- Is this marketing easily accessible to target?
- What are the measurable differences between the target markets?
- Is this market profitable?
Consider the information you collected in your customer segmentation to determine which segment(s) will provide a better success rate for your brand.
You may be thinking to yourself, why should I be examining my competitors? Well, your competitors have already created a social media presence, gained followers, tested content strategies and much more. It is critical to use this to your advantage so you can understand what your competitors are doing well at, what they are not doing so well at and what you can implement to improve or make your brand stand out.
A great way to find more information about your competitors is to study their social media channels, study their website and find any research or case studies your competitors have produced. You can also seek trends in your industry by accessing databases such as eMarketer, Mintel and IBISWorld.