Defining and Reaching Your Target Market: Finding Your Key Benefit

Rick Smith explains why you absolutely MUST find out what your market wants, how to define those needs, and how to reach your market.

Have you spent some time thinking about your target market yet? You’d better. Because you can bet your competitors are thinking about theirs. They’re probably thinking about your markets too!

How to Hit the Bull’s Eye Every Time

Let’s jump right back into our discussion. Now that you’ve determined that there IS a market for your idea, you need to define that target market on paper. Who are the people in the target market? What is their income or gross profit? And so on. An ideal target market should meet three definite criteria.

1. A number in the range of 2,000 – 10,000 members of the target market.

2. A common problem amongst the members of the target market that you can solve.

3. Some means of regular communication within the target market. (This would usually be in the form of a newsletter or something similar.)

Rule #1 is not hard and fast. But it’s usually easier to be a big fish in a small pond than it is to be a small fish in a big pond. You do need to know the size of the target or niche market.

Rule #2 is a must! If you try to be all things to all people in the market, you’ll lose focus and your efforts will be more scattered.

Rule #3 is also a must! You’ve got to have a way to build credibility. This can come through magazine or newsletter articles, advertisements in these publications, and similar methods. By the way, online forums, newsgroups, discussion lists, and e-zines are an excellent place to build credibility!

A target market IS NOT, for example, the 30 million people that surf the ‘Net! First off, there’s no way that most small businesses can handle that volume. Besides, this market would be extremely diverse. Therefore, how would you ever identify a common problem? And what means of regular communication does such a market have? Yet I continue to see ads hyping “selling on the Internet to the 30 million who are online!” Don’t fall for this stuff! It doesn’t work! How can it?

I’m sure that by now you’re wondering what any of this has to do with using your computer in your marketing efforts. But before we can get to the computer weapons, we have to make sure that we understand each other. Now that we’ve laid this groundwork together, we can proceed with rolling out the computer weapons in future sessions.

WARNING!! You ARE NOT Your Market!

I want you to hear me really clearly on this. It’s true! YOU ARE NOT YOUR MARKET! You absolutely MUST find out what your market wants. Notice what I said. I said wants NOT needs.

Most people know what they need. But that’s not necessarily what they want. So what do they want? Well, you have to find out. (More on this later.) In general, most people want what are called “ultimate benefits.”

The Ultimate in Benefits

What are ulimate benefits? Well, before we can discuss ultimate benefits, we need to talk about another deadly marketing sin. Much of today’s marketing sells features and not benefits. (Is your marketing guilty of this?) So you’re probably wondering how the devil you get benefits into your marketing message. You know what your product features are. Things like color, shape, size, delivery date, etc. Now you need to take EVERY feature of your product and create a benefit for it. Dan Kennedy suggests taking a 3 X 5 card and writing one feature per card and one benefit per card. So how do you create benefits for your features? You have to think about it from the perspective of the customer. Who really cares how many colors your product comes in? Let me say it real clearly. The customer does not care that you offer your car with Michelin tires. But let’s see if we can turn this into a benefit. Suppose your major competitor offers only Firestone tires on their cars. This is still not a benefit. This is simply a comparison of features.

So now let me give you another little-known secret that I found. Who Cares?

Ask yourself “So What?”

For example, let’s say I offer Michelin tires and my competitor offers Firestone tires. So what? Michelin tires are developed with the highest quality steel belts available.

Have we gotten to an ultimate benefit yet? Nope. So we apply “So What?” again. Top quality components will result in high quality tire which will respond to all kinds of driving conditions. Are we there yet? Nope. So what? (Again.) A tire that responds to all types of driving conditions will be safer than a tire with lesser quality components. Safety. Ah! Now we’re getting somewhere. But we’re still not quite there. So what? (Again!) Knowing that our tires are safe gives us the peace of mind that we are doing everything we can to protect our family. That’s it! Our ultimate benefit! Peace of mind! See how this works?

Keep in mind that ultimate benefits are things like the following:

* To love and be loved
* Make money
* Save money
* Make life easier
* Be comfortable
* Be admired
* Be healthier
* Avoid problems [Editor’s note: In my mind, money is NOT an ultimate benefit, but a tool, a pathway toward greater comfort, more adventures, etc.] And so on. You have to find out what the client wants. While we can talk in vague generalities here, you need definite specifics. To get to these definite specifics you have to ask. And that’s what we’ll talk about next time.

Readers may request Rick’s new free report, “How to Use Your Computer Like a Tank to Roll Over Your Competition”.

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Rick Smith is principal of “Guerrilla Computing”, a non-traditional computer consulting company that specializes in applying low-cost, unconventional marketing and consulting techniques to computer systems.