I received a very frustrated call from someone a few weeks ago who had spent time and money defining her target customer but was now realizing that it wasn’t enough. She seemed to have a lot of data but no way of converting it to sales. I completely understand her frustration.
It is true that we need to spend some time looking at who our targets are. But that is just the first step. That information needs to lead us somewhere or it’s useless.
For instance, say you’re determined to find the perfect wine. You spend weeks driving to wineries for tastings, you read all the wine experts’ opinions you can get your hands on, you buy several random bottles in a quest to find the hidden gem. In the end, you settle on the best bottle. You don’t buy the bottle or ever drink that wine again; you’re content just knowing the answer. Has this information helped at all? Not really. You haven’t put it into play. It’s just information sitting around gathering dust.
That’s exactly what a defined target customer is without a plan. Information gathering dust. Sigh.
Dusting Off the Target
Here’s what we’re going to do. I’m going to lay out 3 things you can do today to get this information back into play. Once you start, this process will become easier and easier.
- Decide Where Your Target Lives: Do they go to network meetings? Do they join clubs? Do they attend sporting events? Make a list of at least 10 places. This step is often overlooked but is truly key to deciding where to spend your marketing money and time.
- Decide How You’ll Talk to Them There: Choose three places from step one and list two short-term ways and two long-term ways you could reach your customer in that place. Don’t worry about what’s possible. Don’t filter right now.
- Make Plans to Talk to Your Target: This is the filter phase. Does your target attend a particular type of networking event? Research those and sign up for one today. Do they go to watch local sports? Read the paper? Spend a lot of time online? Set aside 30 minutes to make a few calls/do some searching to find how much attendance/sponsorship/advertising might cost. You might be surprised at how do-able some marketing activities are. If they turn out to be crazy expensive, look for cost-effective ways to get the same result.
I would be remiss to not mention that whatever you decide to do, take a moment to define how you will know the activity has been a success and how you will measure that. Number of business cards? How many click-throughs? How many calls from the ad? It’s important to know beforehand so you can collect the right data as the activity is in full swing.