You have laid all the groundwork for your product, implemented penetrative marketing strategies and even reduced your price points to rope in more customers, but still, your product isn’t catching on. Many entrepreneurs commonly find themselves in this predicament, with a good number of them blaming themselves for the same. What they however fail to understand is that success in a competitive market depends more on your understanding of the market than it does on anything else.
Do you really know what your prospective customers want? Not only that, but do you know what makes them tick? Getting to understand the demographic profiles of your target market is a requisite to success in today’s competitive business space.
How does this make things easier for you?
By understanding your customers like the back of your hand, you will be able to package and present your product in a fashion that not only appeals to them, but that also gives them a reason to associate with your company. More often than not, the decision to buy a product is influenced by phrases such as ‘Hey, this watch really makes me feel classy’, rather than, ‘this is affordable’.
Contrary to what many people believe, brand perception and a product’s ability to connect, on a personal level, with potential buyers influence buying decisions more than price points. Just look at tech big wig Apple. The iPhone maker controls only 30 percent of the global smartphone market but still takes away the lion’s share of the global profit, an estimated 70 percent. Apple understands the importance of ‘coolness’ to its customers. In view of this, the handset maker has packaged and designed the iPhone to pass by as a cool product; a product that screams ‘we are different, we are the future’. Because of this, most Apple lovers don’t mind spending on average, twice more, to buy an iPhone.
Understanding what works for your customers allows you to create a unique and compelling selling point for your product. It allows you to market and present your product in a way that prompts prospective customers to instinctively buy. This not only promises a rosy top line for your company but it also creates a leeway for your future products.
Things to look out for in your target market:
Predominant age bracket
Contrary to the populist stereotype, age bracket is not a bottleneck when it comes to penetrating a market. In fact, it is an opportunity that most people fail to see.
When probing your target market for entry points, it is important to have prior understanding of the predominant age bracket. Despite varying tastes among consumers, there is a common thread that cuts across consumers of particular age groups.
In the age group 14-25, consumers are concerned with products that scream ‘hip and current’. The way you package a simple product like energy drinks can make all the difference in this age group. Package it in a fancy bottle and you will rope in all the consumers, package it in conventional tetra packs and you will battle with expiry dates and overstocked inventories.
In the age group 25-40, consumers want something futuristic. At this age, most people are pursuing their goals in life and as such, tend to lean toward products that enhance their ambition and that motivate them. If your target market is composed of such consumers, you would want to market your product in a way that screams ‘ambition’. Perhaps you deal with producing light beverages. You can market your product using catch phrases such as ‘beverage x, the perfect beverage for the man on the go’.
On the other hand, consumers of 40 years and above lean toward healthy products, products that present a value proposition and that promise a healthy life ahead.
Culture and sex
These are also some other equally important characteristics of your target market that you would want to single out. Try as much as possible to market your product in a way that seamlessly fits into the underlying culture.
Whether the predominant sex is male or female also matters greatly. Research has shown that female consumers tend to pay more attention to finer details such as the color of your product or the appearance of the employees used to offer a service. Male consumers on the other hand, tend to pay attention to price points and more importantly the product’s ability to satisfy their needs.
Learn from the heavyweights
One particular company that has managed to bring out the importance of appealing to the personal interests of customers is beverage big wig Coca-Cola. The company, which recently grew its global volume by 5 percent year-over-year, has cornered the global market because of its firm understanding of its consumers.
In the U.S. for instance, the bottler and beverage maker has taken a slant toward healthier options and environmental sustainability. With the overbearing weight problem facing the U.S, the need for healthier options has secured a firm place among U.S. consumers. In relation to this, Coca-Cola has not only come up with Coke Zero, a sugar-free low calorie option, but it is also touting commercials that promote weight awareness.
In Africa, the beverage behemoth understands the importance of culture and sports to consumers. In light of this, it has followed through with campaigns aimed at enhancing the cultural eruption in Africa. Campaigns such as ‘a million reasons to believe in Africa’ showed the African market that the company is not just concerned about turning huge profit but that it understands their needs and walks their path.
All these efforts explain why Coca-Cola is one of the most recognized names in the world. Although stacking a startup against an accomplished name like Coca-Cola is at the least incongruous, it wouldn’t hurt to borrow a few tips. As the Chinese put it, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Learn from the heavyweights; take the effort to understand the demographic profile of your consumers.
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Category: Startup Advice