Feature Friday: Three Opportunities to Stay in Tune with Your Core Audience
Guest Post by Jessica Dewell
You’ve heard this before: know your audience in order to make the best connections, build lasting relationships and successfully close business deals. Effectively reaching a group you understand well should then be a simple matter…right? Wrong!
Achieving strong, durable links to target market segments requires a deeper, more nuanced assessment. For those who believe otherwise…this post is dedicated to you!
When Core Market Segments Lack Completeness
Business planning often focuses on core audience demographic and sociographic traits, including: gender, income, hobbies and age. What results is a high level base understanding of whom to target. Even considering other lifestyle traits merely provides additional surface overview. For a more comprehensive awareness, the process requires additional exploration.
Target Market Segments Change Over Time
Researching and deciding upon information is the easiest way to begin. A customer-centric focus requires insight about how your product overcomes specific issues as the world quickly changes. To illustrate: mom pulls out your high school picture to show off to friends. How long has it been since you were in high school? That picture is a single moment in time and doesn’t reflect who you are today, with all the opportunities and struggles that exist.
We can see the relevance of this example by asking if your product:
- Offers solutions and sales opportunities as target market segments evolve?
- Caters to a specific demographic where the product helps people over extended periods of time while the group is constantly shifting?
Know Exactly How Your Product Provides Value to Every Single Person…
…within your core audiences.
But how can you possibly discern that? The answer starts with who comprises – and how long they have been part of – the main identified group.
To that end, focus on the following three actions, inclusive of both groups (i.e. the same cohort of people or those changing within the set)
Listening. A lack of listening will create disconnect between your organization and core market segments. One of my most influential mentors always told me we were given two ears and one mouth and to use them wisely. Take time to listen as it facilitates opportunity to quietly assess and craft product development, service, and strategy to effectively connect to your customers in the marketplace.
Messaging. The message presentation and value proposition reflect the world as it is today. But circumstances will change based on technology developments; world and geographic cultures; values; and perceptions. On a broad scope such variations may be generational. Issues of importance to Gen Xers and millennials are not the same as their parents’ concerns at the same age.
Connecting. As new technology movements occur, the number of ways and places in which people gather and build relationships online is staggering. However, your particular target market segments are not everywhere; figuring out people’s online location – plus when they change and where they go – to remain in touch is challenging. Keep an open mind: just because you start something online in one place doesn’t mean that the routine must always remain the same. If your audience changes, adaption must occur.
The better you know your target market segments, the better you can utilize the opportunities inherent in listening, messaging and connecting to create an experience where individuals feel secure and cared about.
People want to be seen and heard. Distinguishing who the market consists of is easy; really knowing target segments and building a business adapting alongside individuals as they themselves develop is hard.