One of the first questions we ask when working with clients is ‘Who is your target market?’ And often the answer is ‘everyone’. We completely understand why. Many businesses, from the young and ambitious, to those that are struggling in the market place, are keen to grow. And they want to attract as many customers as possible, of all ages and backgrounds.

But, this presents a major problem when it comes to marketing your business. How are you going to send messages that ‘speak’ to everyone when your customers are individuals, interested in very different things? Mass marketing or unfocused messages will quickly lack authenticity, as well as being irrelevant and switching off the very people you want to listen. There really is no such thing as Joe Bloggs.

Segmenting your customers

Let’s take a hotel that’s recently opened near Gatwick, one of hundreds in the area. You want to target everyone that uses the airport for business or leisure. So, let’s start with customer segmentation and begin to drill down into those that might use your services. Young couples, families, retirees, overseas business men and women- and make a strategic decision about who are your priority customers. There are a number of stakeholder mapping models you can use for this. And remember your stakeholders will extend far beyond your customers to influencers, intermediaries, community partners and more.

Now ask yourself how much you really understand about these customers. For example where do they go on holiday and how do they make their travelling decisions? Where, when, why and crucially how do they make the decision about where to stay? This is the starting point to getting to know your customers as people, rather than one unidentifiable mass.

A recent seminar we attended warned not to forget the younger generation. The ‘millennials’ or digital natives who are essential to the future of your business. Make sure you don’t overlook them, either as direct customers, or direct influencers on their parents’ spending decisions.

By getting to know your customers in this way, you can start to create the right language, images, brand, tactics and methodology. A whole range of techniques which are ‘handcrafted’ for your audience. And using digital tools will track exactly the impact on your audience, so you can test, tweak and refine messages as you go along. Bare can help you start this journey to deliver marketing that really works.

And lastly, here is a story from the BBC website which illustrates perfectly how changing your marketing technique can transform sales and tickle your customers’ taste buds!