Owner of MBK Studio, Stewart Woodruff says when you must understand market
A business is not a business without customers and does not become a business until it sells something. The most important way to get customers is by marketing. But before you can even consider your advertising you need to establish your market, for without knowing who your customers are you are liable to be advertising in the wrong place. So what is your market? Every business has different markets, sometimes multiple markets, e.g. trade and retail, supply only and supply and fit, new build and refurbishment.
Visualise target customers
You must visualise your target customers; you have to understand how they think, where they shop, how they shop, what they like and what they dislike. You should create a number of models representing your target customers, perhaps give them names and create a whole story to add reality to help you understand them: Joan is married to Bill and they have recently retired and moved from their three bedroom semi detached house in the centre of town to a bungalow in a small village with good access to shops and the bus route, they are now considering upgrading their new house to suit the needs both now and in the future, or, Bob is a self employed plumber who usually buys from his local trade outlet but wants to offer something a little different and likes some of the exclusive items he can buy from independents. You have now a very clear idea of who you are targeting and therefore how to reach this customer target. However as you will have more than one target customer you need to craft your models to represent each of your target markets.
Craft your message
Once you establish your markets and understand their needs and their purchasing criteria you then have to craft your message, which should be directed at each individual model you have created; there is no point is trying to get a builder to buy with a message about security of your business. The more that you are thinking like your customer the more you can better understand what features of your service they will buy into. In the time you have allocated to work on your business you can create a number of messages to be included in your advertising that will be specifically targeted to your defined markets, providing you with an arsenal of copywriting gems that you would never have received from your current advertising executive, who wants you just to buy space generally with no thought of your market and whether their publication actually suits your target customers. Leading on to the next question; where do you advertise but that’s another complete story.
This article first appeared in the April issue of Kitchens & Bathrooms News