You have a great product, offer amazing service, but are not seeing any sales; the issue may not be with you or your business, but how you’re targeting your marketing. Once you work through these steps, it should help you define who your target market is and from there, guide your decision-making for your business.

What problem does your product solve?
Take a close look at your product offerings and determine what needs your product is filling. For example, an organic coffee company may be filling the gap of natural coffee grown without pesticides. What makes your product unique?

Who are your current customers?
Watching your current sales and getting to know your current, and especially, your repeat customers, can give you a good idea of who your target is. It’s okay to send them surveys to ask about their hobbies and interests to generate a framework for your customer. Once you see who is buying, you should start to notice patterns. Maybe most of your customers are women, maybe they all take exercise classes, start noting down patterns.

Know your competition.
Are there any companies like yours? Most likely, there are some. Take note of their websites. Pay attention to the tone of their marketing, their color use, their branding, even details like font can give you a picture of who they’re targeting. My favorite example here are cereal boxes – look up images for Special K compared to Frosted Flakes, notice the colors and language.

Find your demographics.
Demographics are key for products and services. Token demographics include:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Religious group
  • Income level
  • Marital status
  • Education level
  • Location
  • Occupation

These key demographics can help you define your general branding, and how to go about advertising. Perhaps your product fits a need specific to one or more of these demographics. An episode of Shark Tank featured a product called “Mensch on a Bench” – We can see this fits a certain need: Jewish parents who want their children to embark on the same seasonal fun that comes during the holiday season.

Personality targeting.
Sometimes products focus more on a special personality trait. There are far too many to list, but to give a general idea, let’s look at Harley Davidson’s website:

harley-davidson

They use “Bring Out Your Dark Side” as a tagline to highlight this specific motorcycle because it’s appealing to people who may consider themselves rugged, independent, and live-on-the-edge.

Evaluate the market you’ve chosen.
After you make all the considerations for who your target is, you want to ask yourself a series of questions:

  • Can my market afford my product? / Would my market think my product is too cheap?
  • Am I really filling any needs for my particular market?
  • How can my market find me? How can I find them?
  • Will I find my target audience at the market/fairs where I’m vending?*

*Especially when it comes to vendor events, you want to truly evaluate your market. If you feel like previous shows have been failures, think about the demographics of the people who go the show you’ve chosen and your own product. You may find that there are not as many shows you should be going to, but that’s fine: the point is to make money while you’re there. Pick and choose for your right market.

Make the hard changes now.
You may be right on target, and that’s great, but if you see that there could be a gap in what you’re offering and your target, start making changes now. Every moment without the right direction can lead to lost sales. You don’t have to make all the changes at once. Start with your brand package: your logo, your general packaging, then start making changes to your website, your social media marketing.

 

Kristen Fusaro-Pizzo
President
Vine Vendor Network

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