Thursday, September 1, 2011

Three Ms of Marketing - Market

You have a great product, but no one seems to be buying it. The problem could be with marketing. Many business owners are great at producing a product, but not so good at marketing them. In this column we will be discussing marketing your business.

Let’s begin with the basics of marketing. I call these the three “M’s” of marketing. They are: Market, Media and Message. This month we will be discussing the first “M” – Market.

The first question you should ask yourself in marketing your product or service is “Who is likely to buy this?” That is your market. Unfortunately, when I ask some business people this question, they answer, “Everyone.” Sorry, no one product appeals to everyone. If you try to sell your product to everyone, you will waste most of your advertising dollar. You will buy advertising in places that do not reach your best customers.

It’s simple. Ask yourself one question: “Who buys this type of product?” That’s who you want to reach. Create a profile of that customer.

Your profile should include the following information:

  • Age group. Try to keep the age range limited. Typical age demographics are 12-18, 18-25, 25-40, 40-55, 55-65, 65-75, 75+. Age determines interests, tastes, needs, and media preferences.
  • Gender. While you want to avoid stereotyping, you do need to recognize the differing needs of the sexes. Some products are of equal value to both genders, but one buys that product more than the other. For instance, groceries are bought primarily by women, even though, men and women equally use the product.
  • Occupation. Does your product or service benefit a certain occupation or type of occupation or business? Who would make the buying decisions for that business? It is no good targeting the CEO, if the secretary handles purchasing.
  • Income level. I remember being in an investment seminar surrounded by blue and pink collar workers listening to an investment counselor talking about a great investment that had a $20,000 buy in. No one in that room had that much money to invest. You don’t sell high end products to low income people.
  • Special interests. Do the people who use your product engage in some sort of special activity or hobby? Are there special interests groups who do not currently use your product who might benefit from it?
  • Media habits. What do these people read, watch, or listen to on the radio? Do they surf the web? If so, what places do they go?

You may discover in reviewing your customer list that more than one type of person purchases your product. Create a profile for each type of customer. Be as specific as possible. This is important because you will refer to these profiles as you choose the media for your marketing and as you craft your message.

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