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Targeting

Who should to target with your marketing, and how should you reach them?
Target with holes
© University of York

Once you have finished prototyping and have a commercially-ready product or service, it’s time to find some paying customers.

A common business mistake that many business owners can make is thinking that their offering is for ‘everyone’. This is simply false. *Remember, we also spoke about the importance of really knowing your customer in Week 1

Think back to earlier in this course when you were collecting feedback for your potential idea, imagine you created a product/service based on everyone’s feedback! How confusing would that be? Would it really solve anyone’s problems? Would you be able to create a sustainable business?

The old adage holds true here: ‘If you try to appeal to everyone, then you appeal to no one’.

‘Ignoring’ potential customers may seem stupid or, even, scary. ‘How will I make money if I’m already cutting out part of the population?’ However, every business does this, or should do this, if it wants to survive and thrive.

Let’s talk about supermarkets…

For example, think about the different supermarkets in the UK. Do they all try to appeal to everyone? Quite simply… no!

ALDI is targeting a different segment (marketing speak for a sub-group) of the population, than Waitrose, for example. That’s not to say one is better than the other. The important point is that you have to pick a sub-group and focus on that – this will mean that you must ignore other segments of the population to succeed.

If the large supermarkets don’t target everyone, even with all of their financial resources and people who work there, how can small business owners?!

So how do you start?

As someone launching a start-up, or as a small business owner, time, money and other resources are very limited. Therefore, it’s important to be laser-focused as early as possible: my offering is for them, and not for anyone else. This sounds easy, however, can be one of the biggest challenges when launching a new business: deciding who exactly to target.

Getting regular feedback from potential users, whose problems your offering potentially solves, and who have budget and the ability to pay for it, is so important at this stage too. Much like we explored earlier, in the Prototyping step, feedback is crucial here too.

© University of York
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