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How to find your target customer?

Other than asking people who are already in the business how do you find your target customer? - by Thomas
Other than asking people who are already in the business how do you find your target customer?
Market research is the only thing I can think of. Anyone else? - by Gilbert
I agree with Gilbert. Market research is the best you can do, but also try to survey/talk with your current audience and find out where other people like them are. You'll be surprised! - by ginac84
Market research is the best way to figure that out. Ask some questions, talk to people, you will figure it out. - by JulieR
Other than asking people who are already in the business how do you find your target customer?
One of the best sources I have ever seen on helping you identify your target market is

Duct Tape Marketing:The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide
- by John Jantsch

Paul Rushing
912-266-1629 - by PaulRushing
Other than asking people who are already in the business how do you find your target customer?
I've stopped targetting customers. Keep an open mind and treat people the same otherwise you potentially will miss customers because you didn't 'notice' them in your stereotyping. - by MrCharisma
A very broad question that I don't think can be adequately explained in a few paragraphs especially as this varies between products, markets and channels. Market research as others have said is important but I think that you will learn more about your own products that you will about the profile of your ideal customer.

In line with what MrCharisma says, profiling a customer can potentially exclude a percentage of the market that you may be entitled to. What you consider to be a selling point in your product doesn't necessarily mean that your customer thinks so do. In fact, in some cases customers will buy from you because they see a selling point that you haven't identified. Market research can help in identifying all or some of the different factors that may result in buying decisions being made but I think that narrowing your customer targets too much will result in unnecessary exclusion.

Know yourself, your product and explore a prosects issues and see where it goes. - by nesh thompson
One of the best sources I have ever seen on helping you identify your target market is

Duct Tape Marketing:The World's Most Practical Small Business Marketing Guide
- by John Jantsch
Paul does the book break it down for people who aren't marketing pros?

I've stopped targetting customers. Keep an open mind and treat people the same otherwise you potentially will miss customers because you didn't 'notice' them in your stereotyping.
How would you know who to market to? :dun

In line with what MrCharisma says, profiling a customer can potentially exclude a percentage of the market that you may be entitled to. What you consider to be a selling point in your product doesn't necessarily mean that your customer thinks so do. In fact, in some cases customers will buy from you because they see a selling point that you haven't identified. Market research can help in identifying all or some of the different factors that may result in buying decisions being made but I think that narrowing your customer targets too much will result in unnecessary exclusion.
Shouldn't all marketing be directed by an ideal customer profile? - by Thomas
Shouldn't all marketing be directed by an ideal customer profile?
Absolutely. However, will you turn away a sale because your customer doesn't fit into a demographic?

From the sales point of view, the ideal customer profile is "anyone who needs my product, and has the funds to buy it" - marketing is the means to focus on the greatest probability of finding those people... but marketing won't always bring the right opportunities and there will always be people outside the ideal customer profile who want to buy your products. - by nesh thompson
From the sales point of view, the ideal customer profile is "anyone who needs my product, and has the funds to buy it" - marketing is the means to focus on the greatest probability of finding those people... but marketing won't always bring the right opportunities and there will always be people outside the ideal customer profile who want to buy your products.
I don't think you should turn away buyers just because they don't meet your ideal customer profile unless they are going to take up too many resources. I also don't think that sales and marketing should have different views on what the company's ideal customer profile is but I'm not a marketing pro. - by Thomas
I don't think you should turn away buyers just because they don't meet your ideal customer profile unless they are going to take up too many resources. I also don't think that sales and marketing should have different views on what the company's ideal customer profile is but I'm not a marketing pro.
I couldn't agree more. One of the main problems we have is that marketing and sales are viewed as seperate entities. In most sales & marketing focused organisations and bodies, a lot of focus is given to marketing with little mention of sales. Why is this? Can marketing exist without sales? Are they not meant to mutually benefit each other in achieving goals? - by nesh thompson
Other than asking people who are already in the business how do you find your target customer?
Hi Thomas

First off I would identify that person myself. That might sound strange. It isn't all the leading brands across the world identify their ideal customer first. When you do that it makes life easier.

Then you know what their motivations are. What will switch them on and off.

Think about your current best customers.

What are their characteristics, hot buttons, likes dislikes.

Talk to them survey them.

Hey buy them lunch and ask them what is importamt.

In other words do your research first.

Then with a clear picture you will be able to target real customers that you can influence and sell to.

Once you know all about them you will have a solid idea of where to find them.

Best Wishes

Sales Managers ;sm Coach - by SalesManagersCoach
I couldn't agree more. One of the main problems we have is that marketing and sales are viewed as seperate entities. In most sales & marketing focused organisations and bodies, a lot of focus is given to marketing with little mention of sales. Why is this? Can marketing exist without sales? Are they not meant to mutually benefit each other in achieving goals?
nesh

There is in fact a huge difference between Marketing and Sales and a company that does not know the difference will do their sales force an injustice. I have said this in many of my posts on this forum here is the difference between Marketing and Sales:

Marketing-Is the plan or everything you do to reach the customer. It is only a plan and must be implemented.

Sales-Is everything you do to make the cash register to ring or to close the sale or the one on one with the customer. Marketing is nothing without the sale. - by MPrince
Hi Thomas

When you say "how do find your target customer" what exactly do you mean. Is that identify who your product or service is an ideal match for? or you already have this data and now you want to find out where they hang out.

These are actually two separate areas which require two different strategies.

Best Wishes

Sales managers coach - by SalesManagersCoach
In my view, it's essential to know what kind of people typically benefit from buying the product. Targeting is good.

I'll turn away customers whose petrified practices and intractable behavior will insure failure with my service.

I'll also not allow someone to buy just enough of my product or service to prove it won't work.

I've not re-engaged with some customers, fired a few customers, and preempted some before they entered my sales process.

On a call selling process improvement through human empowerment, the owner waxed philosophically about his particular brand of human workers. He felt strongly that employees worked like and acted like chimps. He kept repeating that his company would do better if he gave employees bananas as pay at the end of the week. He aggressively leaned over his desk and asked, "What can you do for me?"

I replied,"We'll send you some bananas." Turned to my trainee and said, Let's Go. We're out of here."

Some customers don't deserve your precious time and product. So. Target and Sort. Sometimes, just walk away. -MM - by magicman
[1] Find out what Publications they subscribe to or read specific to their Industry. You might be able to secure that Publication's Subscriber List, run an Ad in that Publication or at least write an Article for that Publication for exposure.
[2] Find out what Trade Shows they attend specific to their Industry. You might be able to secure the Attendee List, decide to Exhibit or at least attend for Networking purposes.
[3] Find out what Organizations they belong to specific to their Industry. You might be able to secure their Membership List, run an Ad in their Newsletter, write an Article for that Newsletter or possibly join the Association for exposure. - by Stan Billue
This is how I found my target customers:

I found my target customers by asking the top sales people in my industry what made them so successful.

These top sales people told me exactly how to find my target market.

I had to do a lot of research but it paid off big time!

Some markets are easier to find than others. But I would start by asking the top sales people what they are doing in your industry to find the market and go from there. - by Cedric
These top sales people told me exactly how to find my target market.
What did they tell you? - by Gary A Boye
I agree that you don't want to turn away customers. The reality is - it seems to me - that there's a universe of customers available. In fact, normally more than anybody would ever need.

Targeting is just one strategy to focus resources to generate the best possible return.

When I'm working in the area of process improvement, one targeting filter is that a company must have at least 10 employees. The reason for that is with less than 10 employees...there's really not any meaningful process to improve. (People are just handing a few things to each other.)

Over time, we added additional filters. Of course those filters exclude some potential clients. It also opens up the possibility of a greater return from the concentration of force on a target market.

Once your target is established, there are plenty of different resources to help you find more of them.-MM - by magicman
Not sure if I can put everything they told me in one post but here's a snap shot.
They made me do research on my area.
I had to answer the Who,What,Where,When and How questions:

Example:
Who is the club/organization president?
Who is the director?
Who is the ....?
Who is my competition?

What is the best way to distribute information?
What's the number of people in my institutions?
What is the cost?
What associations are in my area?
What does it take to become a member?

Where are my main institutions located?

When is the best time to visit?
When can I do group presentations?
When are interviews taking place?

How many institutions are in my area?
How often am I allowed to distribute information?

There are a few more questions than this I had to answer but after I got most of the answers I took off!

Once you identify your market life gets a little better. - by Cedric
Very informative and helpful, Cedric. Consistent with superb practice of STRATEGY which is not discussed often enough on these threads.. - by Gary A Boye
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