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There are two basic approaches to marketing: the widespread approach and the targeted approach. With a widespread approach, you market your product or service as broadly as possible. The idea is that if you market to everybody, somebody is going to take you up on your offer. If you want to spend a bunch of money to get a minimal response, this is the way to go. Or, you could try the vastly superior and more profitable targeted approach.

In terms of what Primary Intelligence calls the “Win/Loss” paradigm, the targeted approach to marketing takes more time because of research and planning. Even so, your ROI will dramatically outweigh what you’d have spent if you marketed more broadly. So what do we mean when we say “targeted” approach?

Who, Exactly, Are You Serving?

Who is your ideal customer or client? How much do you know about this person? If you want to be able to sell properly to this person, you need to find out everything you can about them. This means that you don’t limit your research to basic demographic information. When you limit yourself to basic demography, you increase your risk of pandering to stereotypes and alienating yourself from your audience.

Rest assured, we do not mean that you need to start stalking people. In fact, let’s just be completely clear about this: do not stalk people to find out more about them.

Instead, the easiest way to find out more about your target customer is to simply ask your audience about itself.

What Should You Know?

We’ve covered basic demography already. That is your starting point. From here, you need to find out information like income, location, religious affiliations (if any), family status, educational background, professional background, hobbies, and even political viewpoints.

Whew, that’s a lot! How do you get people to tell you that much about themselves?

How to Research Your Target Customer

When you first begin your market research you’ll likely be focused more on quantitative numbers than qualitative numbers. There are some who will tell you to go the other way, to start small and then go broad. If you are new, though, you might not have a small group you can use to grow. If this is the case, it is perfectly reasonable to start big and then hone.

Quantitative: Surveys

Perhaps the simplest method of finding out more about your target customer is to ask people to complete surveys. Surveys are great because they can be kept anonymous and can gather information about many different types of people in a single go.

In the beginning, gathering this information first hand might be difficult. You likely won’t have a large enough customer base to survey them exclusively to figure out how to better sell more of your products. In the beginning, you’ll likely be running your surveys through local and virtual survey companies. These companies are experts at finding people who meet your demo and getting them to answer your questions.

Quantitative: Social Media

Set up profiles on the two biggest social media platforms: Twitter and Facebook. Encourage people to like your pages and follow your profiles. It is okay to offer bribes in exchange for audience members. Social media is a great place to ask general questions to large audiences because the people who use social media are, shall we say, big fans of sharing their opinions. You can use their answers to your posts and polls to better plan your qualitative research.

Qualitative: Focus Groups

Like surveys, focus groups are a great way to get people to tell you what they really think about a product. Unlike surveys, with a focus group, you’ll get context and emotion as well as straightforward answers. The point of a focus group is to get people to tell you why they come to certain conclusions. You’ll have to run a few of these to get a good picture of your audience, but they are well worth it.

Qualitative: Interviews

These are the most informative method of really getting to know your target customer. Being able to sit down with one (or a few) people who fit your demographic and basic attitudinal needs (which you will have learned via surveys, etc) and get detailed answers to your questions is invaluable to your marketing plan.

Once you have done all of this research, you’ll have a better idea of how to properly market your product or service so that you actually profit from it.



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