There is an old truism in business just as there is in politics – if you don’t know your audience you know next to zero. I was talking to an investor about this the other day and he said to me he had two groups all cohabitating around the same concept yet both groups just did not understand the other. In the first group there was a team of software developers who had come up with a product that they believed would revolutionise the rural sector (agriculture) and on the other hand he had a group of customers who needed to innovate or they would face demise yet, for some reason he found hard to understand, the left hand (in the end) didn’t know what the right hand was doing.
In other words some people had built a product they thought would work yet didn’t understand the problem from the “on the ground” customer perspective and when the pitch was made to the potential client group they had no idea what the software developers were actually pitching and were confused about the tech words being used.
In the end it was a fairly simple problem – the team who had developed the product actually did create something that was fairly innovative and certainly needed by the potential customer group but none of them had actually ever made a pitch to a group of farmers before – and, on the other hand, the group of farmers had never really understood the world of technology because they were farmers! They knew about the seasons and crop rotation, rearing animals and working on the land but if you say “cloud computing” some will actually look to the sky and ponder “why would there clouds in the sky?”
So, what are some of the simple tips you need to keep in mind if you are going to be truly successful in business? Take a look:
Know your audience before you develop your product or start-up: don’t just build something because you think it will work build it because you know there is market demand. To do this start by understanding who your audience (potential future clients or investors) will be. If need be built a “test audience” to throw ideas and concepts at them and read the reaction in order to innovate and improve on your proposition
Understand what your audience needs to be made up of: when you sell anything you do so by understanding consumer trends, behaviour and demographics. So, ask yourself what is the age of my audience? Gender, location – demographics. If you product is for males from a European background between the ages of 18-24 with a disposable income of $45k living in Michigan then you hardly going to build a campaign around females living in China. So, be specific and understand something about your audience more so than just “make believe”
Understand how your audience will want to buy from you: never build something with the expectation that they (customers) will come. For example, build a website based on appealing to the audience you have researched or an in-store experience relevant to your customer and be clear about what you are trying to sell and the value of the purchase. Different audience demographics are motivated in different ways to interact -by understanding how they will want to buy from you enables you to build a platform that is most likely to be successful
Understand how your product is different to competitors: by understanding what the differences are you will be more effective in communicating to your audience. Show the value, the difference and the benefits in purchasing from you as opposed to the competition. Don’t leave it up to the audience to do all of the research! What does my head in is when the FAQ’s that business put up on a website for customers to read are actually mostly irrelevant. Often they have come from what the business believes the customers will ask as opposed to the other way around
Marketing and communications strategy built for the audience and not as an experiment: there is a temptation that you attempt to build a marketing and communications plan around being “trendy” as opposed to targeted. By being trendy I mean if you are trying to reach over 40’s and your strategy is built around how younger people interact with social media then you might miss the boat. So, build your marketing and communications strategies around your audience as opposed to funky trends.
The reality is pretty simple and some of the most successful people in business understand a philosophy I have always used (and it is true in business just as it is in politics) – know something about your client other than just the what and engage them as if they know something about you and it will be easier for them to buy and you to sell.
Know your audience, know your product and know your strategy.
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