MAR­KET­ING

LO­GAN WEDGWOOD EX­PLAINS WHY YOUR TAR­GET CUS­TOMER SHOULD SIT AT THE CEN­TRE OF ALL YOUR BUSI­NESS DE­CI­SIONS, AND RIGHT THROUGH­OUT THE VALUE CHAIN.

NZ Business - - CONTENTS - LO­GAN WEDGWOOD IS AN AUCK­LAND-BASED MAN­AGE­MENT CON­SUL­TANT SPE­CIAL­IS­ING IN MAR­KET­ING AND SALES.

IT’S MY BE­LIEF that there are some vi­tal mis­un­der­stand­ings sur­round­ing what a tar­get mar­ket cus­tomer is, why you need one, and what hav­ing one then means for the de­ci­sions you make as a busi­ness per­son.

Too of­ten, we see too much of that good old Kiwi at­ti­tude: “What do we need this soft stuff for? We’ll sell to who­ever we can!”

Your tar­get cus­tomer is not just a mar­ket­ing ‘nice to have’; they should be at the core of ev­ery busi­ness de­ci­sion you make. It’s not just about what font you use for your tagline, or what im­ages you use in your ad­ver­tise­ments ei­ther.

Your tar­get cus­tomer should sit at the cen­tre of all your busi­ness de­ci­sions, through­out the value chain – from cus­tomer ser­vice to op­er­a­tions, tech­nol­ogy choices to sales and mar­ket­ing – to en­sure you are de­liv­er­ing the best pos­si­ble ex­pe­ri­ence for your mar­ket.

HONING IN ON YOUR TAR­GET

You might well be sit­ting there think­ing that your tar­get mar­ket cus­tomer is not im­me­di­ately ap­par­ent. I’ve heard count­less times an an­swer along the lines of: “Well, we sell to this cus­tomer, that cus­tomer over there and this cus­tomer here…” – which is typ­i­cal of many New Zealand busi­nesses try­ing to make a fist of things.

It’s great to have a range of cus­tomers – how­ever, to make the most ef­fec­tive de­ci­sions, you need to drill down to de­ter­mine ex­actly who you are talk­ing to; who your busi­ness pri­mar­ily ex­ists to serve.

To get you started, here are three ques­tions to be­gin break­ing open your per­cep­tions of who your tar­get mar­ket cus­tomer re­ally is.

1. What “life stage” are they at?

Life up­heavals hap­pen dur­ing ma­jor life stages – ie: for school leavers, univer­sity grad­u­ates, those set­ting out on their OE, ex­pats, first home buy­ers, peo­ple get­ting mar­ried or start­ing a fam­ily or a busi­ness of their own.

Con­sider what stage your tar­get mar­ket cus­tomer might be ex­pe­ri­enc­ing. How might this af­fect their cash­flow or de­ci­sion-mak­ing? How might it im­pact on their time? And could th­ese things cre­ate a rea­son to buy from you, or one that stops them buying from you?

2. What are their val­ues?

Do they care about the en­vi­ron­ment? Do they bat­tle with stereo­types? Do they value ma­te­rial pos­ses­sions? Are they pas­sion­ate about their re­li­gious be­liefs?

Th­ese things af­fect their per­cep­tion of you based on how you do busi­ness and how you ad­ver­tise what you do. Get it wrong and your ideal cus­tomers will turn off right away. Get it right and you have the start­ing blocks to build­ing cus­tomer loy­alty.

3. Where do they live?

This one might seem ba­sic, but I as­sure you it’s crit­i­cal. Your busi­ness sim­ply can­not de­ploy re­sources ev­ery­where. So, if you want to de­liver a su­pe­rior ex­pe­ri­ence to your cus­tomers (one that’s bet­ter than your com­peti­tors) you have to make choices about who you will ser­vice and who you won’t. It’s all about al­lo­ca­tion of re­source. Do you have the lion’s share of your lo­cal mar­ket? If not, why spend time and money try­ing to break into a big­ger mar­ket with more com­pe­ti­tion?

And if you do go fish­ing off­shore, are you lo­gis­ti­cally set up to de­liver?

DE­FINE YOUR CUS­TOMER

What­ever your an­swers are above, your tar­get cus­tomer is im­por­tant – and it’s easy to see how costly it can be to fo­cus in the wrong places.

If you do one thing fol­low­ing this ar­ti­cle, take the time to bet­ter de­fine your cus­tomer and then use this def­i­ni­tion as the cor­ner­stone to make bet­ter busi­ness de­ci­sions.

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