The Relationship Marketing in a Nutshell Series: Vital Concept Number One: Get to Know Your Target Market: The Importance of Psychographics
First identify your demographic groups because it is only after that has been done that your psychographic information can be derived. Don’t make the mistake that many marketing strategists do and spend more time and effort on demographics and neglect psychographics. It is that simple. Once your psychographic information is derived you are able to move forward.
So, you have decided which market or group of people you are going to target and now you want to go about obtaining information about them. We live in the information age and obtaining demographic information and statistics is the easy part. There are several wonderful websites, both government and non-government, that offer endless information and statistics. Once that information is gathered it is time to harvest the more personal information, your psychographic information. This, although can be more challenging, also has a lot more room for creativity. There are several ways of obtaining this information, however, for this particular article I will stick to methods that I believe to be the most effective as well as enjoyable and informative. Some may take more time and effort than others, however they are the most cost effective, which is important especially when just starting out.
Web Site/Blog Page with Open Online Forums: I would recommend this to anyone trying to get information about their target market for a variety of reasons. First, it is the most cost effective way of gathering data. Also, you don’t have to be a professional web site developer to set it up. When starting out, it could be as simple as just putting together a blog, which can be set up for free and does not take a lot of time. With this tool, you are able to not only get the information you feel is important out there, ask questions and get feedback. I believe the best way of gathering honest, personal information is through anonymity, and the internet community allows that. Also, as your organization grows, so can your site.
Questionnaires: I love the questionnaire! It is a great way of gathering information because of the simple fact that your asking the questions you find important. Also, a lot of the time people are more comfortable answering more personal information through a questionnaire if given the option to stay anonymous, if they desire. That usually isn’t a problem because who they are as an individual isn’t as important to psychographics as much as their inclusion within your target market. Questionnaires can be a pretty cost effective way, especially if they are administered through mass emailing. The thing I like about mass emailing is that they are so cheap to put out that even if one out of every ten who get it, do it and send it back, that is still a lot of information coming back. Also, it gives an opportunity for the person filling it out to expand information, ask questions, or include anything they find to be important. Your questionnaire could also be posted on your site page for anyone who would like to complete it.
It takes some thought and work to put an effective questionnaire together. It is important to make sure you are asking the right questions as well as asking them in the right way. However, once your questionnaire is completed, it can be used over and over again and as your business grows, your questionnaire can change.
Focus Groups/Brainstorming Sessions: I think this may be my favourite because I feel as though face to face interaction is the best and most effective way of getting to know your target market. However, it can be especially challenging to find participants, especially when first starting out. It can also be a little costly because in order to entice people to dedicate their time, you usually need to offer something, like a free lunch or something along those lines so that people will feel more compelled to go. What you offer would obviously depend on your market. For example, going back to single mothers between the ages of 18 and 34 for example, it would probably be a good idea to have your focus group set up so childcare would be provided, as well as lunch for both the Mom’s and their children. Again, not cheap, however, the power of group brainstorming is amazing. Ideas feed more ideas and this is a terrific way of gathering information.
One on One Interviews: It is probably safe to say that this method probably takes the most time, however, I can’t think of a better way of both showing people you care and obtaining priceless information. By sitting down with another human being, just the two of you and being able to develop somewhat a relationship with the person in which you are interviewing, is absolutely the best way to get honest information as to what they really care about and value. There are many ways in which you can interview another person, but I feel the most effective way is in a friendly, not to formal way. It is important to let them know at the beginning that any personal information they may share, will not be shared with anyone else in a direct manner. Also, it is important they know that the amount of information they decide to share is completely up to them. I have found that more people than not will open up after a few minutes if a comfortable, friendly relationship is formed.
No matter which way you decide to go about researching your target market, I believe the best way to develop a relationship between you and your market is this;
Some concepts of marketing seem to be universal within each book I have read about marketing, particularly market research, one of which being the importance of identifying and obtaining information reguarding your target market; quite simply the market or group of people in which your particular product or service will appeal to most. This is undoubtedly a very important aspect of marketing because studies show that approximately 80% of your business will be generated from around 20% of your customers-your true blue target market. Information about your target market is put into two broad groups-demographics and psychographics. Demographics are quite simply the statistics and data about very general information such as age, race, gender, religion, income, number of years of education and job types, just to name a few. Although demographics are an important area of marketing and definitely plays an important role, I believe psychographics is a key factor with the relationship aspect of marketing, which this particular series of articles is focusing on.
Psychographics is a much more subtle, yet personal, area of information about your target market. It focuses on things such as the things your market cares about, how they feel, how they live and what they value. In order to obtain your psychographic data, you must first obtain your demographic data so I am not trying to disreguard the importance of obtaining your demographic data because it is very necessary. However, that being said, I believe that with relationship marketing, more time needs to be taken focusing on your psychographic data, and not doing so is a mistake many marketing strategists make. They spend so much time and energy obtaining information about things such as the average income of their target market for example, that they neglect to spend proper time getting to know the more personal and important things about their target market, such as what they believe and value. By understanding your target market on a more personal level, you are much better equipped to determine the best ways in which your product and/or service can meet their needs and wants. Also, this gives you the opportunity to shape your business in a way that is appealing to your target market.
For example, if your target market is single mothers between the ages of 18-34, for example, it is important to obtain information about the things that are important to that group of people. It makes sense. What is important to a 27 year old single mother of three and the values and beliefs she may have, are more than likely going to be a lot different than a 15 year old teenage boy, right? What it comes down to is no matter how wonderful or innovative your product or service may be, we are all different and your most likely not going to appeal to everyone so why would you waste countless time and resources trying to make it so.