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SME Target Market Mistakes To Avoid

by Michelle Cross
06 June 2014

As seen in Flying Solo

Big data, online, offline, social media, SEO, SEM, eDMs, SMS… We’re just spoilt for marketing choice these days, aren’t we?! But running your marketing campaigns without zeroing in on your target market is like buying a gift for a complete stranger. Ultimately, you’ll just waste your time, effort and money.

Savvy marketing decisions are based on knowing and understanding your audience. Only by knowing your target market can you effectively tailor your products, services and marketing efforts. The more targeted you can be, the harder your budget and resources will work, and the more likely your customers will be enticed to “show you the money!”

Now more than ever it’s important to get the basics right, like knowing your target audience. So the question is, are you making these target market mistakes?

Mistake 1: You try to be everything to everyone.

No, your target market is not everyone. No matter how great your product or service is, it will never appeal to everyone. The broader your market, the more difficult it is to create a strong brand message, compelling designs and tempting offers.

Solution: The Pareto Principle (better known as the 80/20 rule) states that 20 per cent of your customers are more than likely to buy 80 per cent of your products or services. Think about your best customers – the 20 per cent who create highest value for your business – and the similarities in their characteristics. For example, age, location, gender, marital status, children, income level and needs. These are the people you need to target.

Only now can you create a letterbox advertising campaign or an email campaign that is timely and relevant, with a message that reaches them on an emotional level and drives them to act.

Mistake 2: Your target market is too narrow.

While you need to refine your target market, make sure the goal posts aren’t too narrow. If you’re restricted to a small target market and also competing against other companies (and these days who isn’t?), your market can become saturated quickly, meaning your sales opportunities will become restricted very quickly.

Solution: Look at who your customers are right now, but also markets that your product and services could be attractive to in the future. This might be geographically based, for example, you can look at surrounding suburbs or other demographic factors. Chances are, when you’re looking at growth, you will want to branch your business into new markets that might be quite different from your existing markets.

Mistake 3: You make too many assumptions.

It’s easy to think you know your customers but don’t make too many assumptions. For example, just because your target market is elderly doesn’t mean they don’t use the internet. The fastest growing Facebook group over the past couple of years has been people over 65! And don’t always listen to everything your customers say. Even if your customers say they like or don’t like something, what they say isn’t always reflected in their actions.

Solution: Base your marketing decisions on hard data collected from your target market – both directly and indirectly. Use market research, surveys and online analytics. Apply tracking methods to your campaigns such as designated landing pages, discount codes and SMS Response to assist with monitoring return on investment; and to help assess the circumstances in which your products are bought.

The bottom line

To succeed, you need to know your customers. Aim to know them better than you know yourself and your family. A little intense, but you get the point. Knowing your customers means you can deliver the right message at the right time through the right channels to achieve the best outcomes.

What are your thoughts on these three target market mistakes? Do you have any tips to add?

Find out more how Salmat's marketing solutions can help your business. Contact us today on 1300 725 628.

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About the author
Michelle Cross
General Manager - LDN

With over 10 years of experience at Salmat, Michelle has built on a successful strategy of print, creative design and flyer delivery services for the SME market via Local Direct Network (LDN). Michelle continues to drive LDN’s strategy, using innovative solutions to empower Australian small business’ local marketing needs.

More articles by Michelle Cross