marketing & sales: Targeting Your Customers
Successful marketing means knowing how to identify prospective clients and position yourself in the market to beat the competition. When I sit down with clients who want to position their marketing, I ask four basic questions:
1. Who is your potential client? Who wants to buy or could be persuaded to buy? What geographical and financial factors affect the ability to buy?
Listening to the needs of current clients can help to secure future clients. Their comments—especially negative ones—will help you tailor both your product and your approach to other prospects.
2. Why will they want to buy? What emotional and physical factors will influence them? I just worked with an east coast psychiatrist, who ran a practice with 10 other psychiatrists, and wanted to position herself in the market. Our conversations quickly disclosed that her community consisted of predominantly upwardly mobile professionals. Many of the women had delayed having children. Due to their use of fertility drugs, a high percentage of families delivered multiples. Her practice became the first one to focus on these families.
We realized her potential audience was geographical (i.e., in her community rather than regional, national or international). These prospects had specific demographics and by appealing to a unique aspect, we hit on her core group.
3. What angle should you take? How is your product or service unique? How is it appropriate for your target audience? How will it fulfill your core group's needs in a way that no one else's product can?
This is positioning yourself in the market. For example, when other advertising consultants make presentations, they discuss budgets, print versus TV and soft versus hard sell. I position myself by emphasizing how it is time for you to start targeting your audience, positioning your product and creating distinctive selling propositions. Lots of mom-and-pop businesses, confronted by super stores, can't compete or even survive unless they find a unique niche to fill.
4. How are you going to sell it? We all know people with great ideas, products and inventions. They spend a fortune developing this product, but it sits there because they have no idea what to do with it. Is there a system in place to put your product in the customers' hands and make a profit? Or do you need to create one?
That's million-dollar marketing.
By Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE
Patricia Fripp, CSP, CPAE, is a San Francisco-based executive speech coach, sales trainer and award-winning professional speaker on change, customer service, promoting business and communication skills. She is the author of Get What You Want!, Make It, So You Don't Have to Fake It!, and past president of the National Speakers Association. She can be reached at: PFripp@Fripp.com, (800) 634-3035 or www.fripp.com.