By Jeff Beals
Whether you’re in Atlanta or Austin, San Diego or San Antonio, shopping malls and retail centers generally look alike. The products, displays, signage and building architecture are so uniform that it’s hard to tell whether you’re in New Orleans or New York. There’s a reason for that. Malls are carefully designed for a specific reason and for certain consumers.
An upper-middle-class, 35-year-old woman spends a couple hours in an upscale shopping mall. She enjoys being there so much, that it seems as if the mall and all the things in it are specifically designed just for her.
That’s because they are.
Studies have shown that women make the vast majority of purchases, so women make up a huge part of a retailer’s “target market” or “target audience,” a group of people with shared characteristics that make a person more likely to buy a certain product or service. Women with higher household incomes usually make more and larger purchases, so income would be another critical characteristic for a retail target audience. Education, age and cultural aspects are also considered when a company determines its target audience.
Women purchase 70 percent of all books sold. Given that, Barnes & Noble and Borders are logically more concerned about women than men. It only makes sense to focus your marketing resources on the segment of the population that’s most inclined to buy what you purvey. People buy more during certain periods of their lives; that’s why advertisers are obsessed with 25-to-54-year-olds.
Of course, not all marketing is geared toward women. News-talk radio stations target men. Professional wrestling and video games target teenage boys. You don’t see many beer commercials going after female drinkers.
Whatever business you’re in, you figure out what segment of the world is most important and you zero in on that group.
While it takes work to identify all the specific characteristics a company considers in the makeup of its target audience, it’s an essential endeavor. Having a target audience not only makes money, it’s liberating.
Think about it – the world is a big place. Billions of people are alive today. The thought of marketing to all of them is staggering, but fortunately, marketers focus on niches, narrow slices of the population. The trick is to identify the appropriate slice.
The same thing applies when marketing yourself, for you are a product. You are a brand. You need a “personal” target audience.
In order to promote yourself effectively, you must become a celebrity in your own “sphere of interest.” Every professional has a sphere of interest. It’s your own narrow slice of the population. It’s your very own personal target audience. It’s comprised of those people, who in any way, can help you reach your goals – clients, prospective clients, those who refer clients, someone who could hire you, someone who could get you on a coveted committee or board.
Among these people, you need to be famous. When someone in your personal target audience needs the services or products you provide, your name and face should pop into their minds. When someone is looking for people to invite to a special occasion, your name needs to be at the top of the list. You are a highly desired person in your community or industry when a large number of people in your personal target audience have heard of you.
But before you can become a celebrity, you need to determine who is in your personal target audience. This is determined by your career, life mission, goals and personality.
Once you know who is in your personal target audience, manage it carefully. Just like a company managing its prospective clients, you as an individual must diligently manage your personal target audience and lavish attention upon it. The people in your personal target audience are precious, critical to your success.
If you tend to your personal target audience, it will yield positive results and help you achieve greater personal and professional success.
Now that we have established this, it’s time to think about your personal target audience. What types of people need to know about you? Where are they? How do you reach them?
There may be billions of people in today’s loud and crowded marketplace, but it’s comforting to know that you can become famous enough by chasing only a minuscule percentage of them. In order to get your message to connect with the right niche, think about what you do and who is in your personal target audience.
Jeff Beals is an award-winning author, who helps professionals do more business and have a greater impact on the world through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. As a professional speaker, he delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to JeffBeals.com or call (402) 637-9300.
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