BY MARY FISCHER-TRACY
How many of you have asked friends and family what they think about your business idea? And how many of them have told you it is a GREAT idea! And you get all excited, as each person you ask continues to tell you how great your idea is. Maybe it is….maybe it’s really not. Your friends and family are probably not the ones who are going to be completely honest with you. They want you to follow your dream and they want to make you happy. You actually want to ask strangers in your target market.
We talked a little about your target market, or customer segment in the August Issue. Pinpointing your customer segment is one of the most important activities you can do.
Sometimes an empathy map is used. “An empathy map is a collaborative tool that teams can use to gain a deeper insight into their customers. Much like a user persona, an empathy map can represent a group of users, such as a customer segment.“ (https://www.solutionsiq.com/resource/blog-post/what-is-an-empathy-map/)
The idea is to think about your client as a real person and what does that person look like. Are your clients women, men or both? What do they do with their free time? Is saving money important to them? Are they high income, low income or middle income? Do they read the Wall Street Journal or only the local news? Are they stay-at-home parents or are they working parents? Are they single, married, divorced? These are the kinds of questions you need to ask to find out about your target market or customer segment.
Everyone who could possibly use your product or service is not necessarily your target market. Those who are going to pay for it are. In some instances, children for example, can be a target market for toys, games etc. They can be marketed to on TV or the internet or through schools but the parents are those who end up making the payment. In an elder care situation, even though some seniors may make the decision as to where they will live out the end of their life, the children or caregivers are too.
Let’s use a new pizza business as an example…say you want to open a pizza delivery or carry out. Who eats pizza? EVERYONE. Right? But EVERYONE isn’t in charge of what they spend money on. So who is going to buy your product? To find out more you need to start asking strangers some questions? You might do a Facebook survey and ask a few questions. For example: how often do you order pizza delivery or carry out? Are you male or female? Do you live in the City of Racine? What is your current favorite pizza restaurant to order from? You might also consider standing in a busy place and asking people who walk by to answer a few questions for you.This is how you find out who your target market is.
Next month we will talk about marketing and branding your product to your target market. Until then, “keep dreaming!”
Mary Fischer-Tracy is the business consultant at the Wisconsin Small Business Development Center at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. To make an appointment for consulting, call (262) 595-3363.