How many times have you been asked who your target market is and depending on whether you are business to consumer or business to business, you have answered – anyone or any business? The reality is that this is not true and is usually where a start-up or small business owner can get in the most trouble and end up spending time and money that does not provide you the return you want or need.
What is your target market? If you could select a business or consumer that was a perfect fit for your product or service - this is your target prospect. Once you understand their characteristics, you can then apply those broadly to come up with your target market. As you will find, this will narrow every consumer or business to the types of consumers or businesses that are best suited for your product or service.
Here are some questions that can help you in determining your target market. By not asking the right questions, you can be potentially be targeting the wrong audience.
Determining your target market will now help you determine how to market and sell. If your target market is manufacturing companies that are less than 100M in revenues that are owner operated in Ontario, do you not believe that how you would market and sell to them would be quite different than just any business worldwide? If your product was best sold to consumers between 18 and 35 from households in Ontario where the income was 50K and higher, do you not believe you would market and sell differently than you would to anyone of any age anywhere and any socioeconomic level? The answer to both is absolutely.
Target markets will help you determine what marketing mediums you will utilize and even what branding you will use. If your target market is manufacturing companies and you are spending much of your marketing spend on Facebook and Twitter, there is a very large chance your return on your investment is less than 1%. If your product is a retail product targeted at 18 to 35 and you are not utilizing social media, you are missing out on reaching a good percentage of your market that use social media to help them make buying decisions.
Target markets will also aid in determining how you sell the product. Does your target market expect to purchase products online? Does your target market usually buy the types of products you are selling directly or through distributors? Is your product one that would benefit from being in certain retail stores? If you are selling products in a manner that your target market is not use to buying an equivalent product or service, then this could be a very costly mistake, as you are spending money on the wrong channels.
Defining your target market can help in making you stand out from your competition. Your product or service may be able to provide value to other markets that your competition does not which can give you a competitive edge.
Once you know your target market it is very important to understand the size of that market and whether you have competition in that market. Understanding these two components will help you in determining your potential for revenue. If there are only 3000 companies that fit your target market and there are 3 competitors, this is quite different than there being 150,000 and you being the first to market.
Needless to say, focusing on the wrong target market or too broad of a target market can end up costing you in time and money. The more you understand who your real target market is and focus on how to market and sell to them, the more success you will see in your sales efforts.
Before we start to talk about re-branding and what are reasons you might consider doing it - it is first important to understand what we mean by branding. If you ask 10 people what branding is, you will most likely get 10 different answers from our company logo, our company colours, our messaging, connecting to our target market. All of these are true, but are just components of your brand. Your brand is how you portray and differentiate yourself to your prospects and customers, so can include everything from your look, your messaging, your values, and anything related to how you portray yourself in the market.
There can be many reasons to consider rebranding of your business which could include:
Rebranding of your business is not something that should be taken lightly. It is something that needs to be planned as it can be a very time consuming exercise. Before you think about re-branding of your business, you need to know why you are doing it and how you are going to roll out your new branding. This exercise is very near and dear to my heart as we went through this a few years back and it is time consuming and costs as you need to redo all your online and offline marketing.
Our Reasons For Rebranding
It is important to pick a time to roll out and announce your new branding. You want to make sure you have everything completed and you do not rush it. When we started I thought we could get it all done in a matter of weeks, but when you have been in business a few years, you have accumulated a lot of materials. The weeks moved into months, so you have to be sure to plan this when you are not during a busy period, or you will need to hire someone to perform the services for you.
One of the biggest issues I see when I am talking to my small business clients about marketing is them actually understanding what marketing really is and how it can truly help their business. So many have been taken advantage of by the last vendor that called and said they needed marketing and was a single web developer who sold them a 6K website that no one can find, a communications marketing consultant who sold them a brochure that is out of date, or the social media guy who convinced them that even though they are a manufacturing company they need to Tweet. The worst part is all three of these mediums look differently as they were done in isolation and no one looked at the overall Branding for the company or the products and services. To quote Kevin O'Leary "The madness has to end."
Marketing is NOT a brochure or a website, in fact that is such a small piece of the puzzle. Whether you are from the 4P''s which was in my day or the 6 or 7P's of today depending on the day, most people look at one component of Promotion and call that Marketing. So at minimum, let us look at the 4Ps:
Promotion (or what most people "refer" to Marketing)
So when you look at "marketing" for your business, you need to look at how all of these interact with each other, not just decide to do an online ad in isolation. You also need to understand when you spend money on marketing that there is a return. If you are spending $500.00 a month on Social Media and you are not getting leads or new customers from it over time - that is probably not a good investment for your business. You could - but because it was done in isolation it maybe was not looked at properly.
Marketing should be planned based on your goals and objectives. If you set a goal for your company of increased sales of 20% and you do not know how you are going to get there, that is a problem. Your marketing plan and budget needs to be tied to these goals and you need to know how to measure success. Some things are known within the industry to work or not work, but sometimes trying new promotional mediums is a bit of trial and error. The key is to know how to track a return. If you can't , don't spend the money. If someone tells you that you "need" a brochure and they can give you a deal for printing 5000, ask yourself - do you need a printed brochure? How long would it take you to get rid of 5000 and will it be out of date by the time you use 100.
Do not look at marketing in a piece meal fashion. If you don't understand it, then find someone to help guide you through the maze, but do not purchase based on "hoping" this will increase awareness or sales. Make an informed decision. You need to look at marketing as a whole for your particular business as it differs by industry and market. Retail, Manufacturing and Service Organizations have very different products and services, very different ways of pricing, and sell differently. If that is true, promotions are different as well, so make sure you look at all of it together before purchasing.
Marketing by definition is the action or business of promoting and selling products or services and encompasses all of the Ps, not just one. Before doing marketing for your business, understand what marketing truly is and how it will work for your business and how it will help in meeting your sales goals. Look at your marketing as a whole. You may not be able to pay for everything you need today, but understand what the key things you need are and wait for the others. Planning and doing it the right way with a budget will save you money in the long run.
You are probably thinking I meant to say, do you have the right online presence? The new buzz word of today is digital marketing or online marketing and every company that was either a web developer or graphic design company yesterday is now a digital marketing company as that is what everyone is talking about today. The problem with this is the same problem that it was yesterday is that digital marketing is just one piece of the marketing pie and cannot really be looked at separately from what people now call traditional marketing which include collateral, print advertisements, and direct mail.
Before you run out to have a website and social media sites designed, Google Adwords developed, or even an advertisement or brochure created and printed, make sure you have what you need in place before you start spending your hard earned business dollars. You need to start at the very beginning.
Though I have experience and a background sales and marketing, we do not market our business as a marketing or sales company as making sure the marketing you choose is right for your business is more important than writing a brochure or writing a sales script. Marketing is essential to a business, but doing it right is more important. Many times someone will call and ask if we can develop a brochure for them. My first question is, “Why are you developing the brochure and do you know you are targeting and what you want to say to them?” In many cases, the answer is either “no”, or “I just know I need one”. If you do not know why you need the brochure, what you are going to say, and who you are writing the brochure for, you shouldn't get a brochure written for your business at this point. Everything you do in your business matters and making sure you spend your money on the right things at the right time to grow your business is more important. You need to take a step back.
You must first recognize how you need to portray your business to the outside world which includes your clients, your prospects, your vendors, your partners, and even your competition. The first thing that people look for is your brand and message and whether they are your target market, so it is important that you understand exactly who your potential target markets are for your products and services.
You must also have a handle on your competition and how they are marketing and your unique selling proposition versus them. You need to take into account the industry you are in, the demographics of your target market, and even the geographies that your business serves. It is only then that you can begin to define what marketing mediums will work and what options you should choose in order to get a return on your marketing investment.
The problem with arbitrarily choosing different types of marketing mediums to implement before you have an understanding of your own brand and target market can prove to be a situation of putting the cart before the horse. This could prove to be very expensive for your business without a possible return on your investment.
So what is your business presence? Your business presence is everything you do in your business that relates to how you market and portray your business everywhere your business is seen. There needs to be consistency across the board. This includes online, offline, at a networking event, or at a trade-show. Your business presence includes not only your brand, messaging, SWOT, and understanding of your target market. It also includes your plan and what marketing you actually implement for your business to help you grow your business, as well as the measurement of your success. In order to build the right business presence for your business that works, there are three steps you need to go through:
Before you want to grow your business, start by building your business presence.
RK Fischer & Associates