Hopefully your product development process involved thinking a bit about who your target audience is. But once your product is complete and ready to launch, the question of audience becomes, quite possibly, the most important part of the selling process. Over the past year, PSHQ has launched two primary products and I have launched an additional eCommerce website. Needless to say, I have spent a large part of 2016 thinking about how to identify target audiences. And is here is what I have learned:
You Likely Have Several
There is usually a primary target audience. This is the one that you are thinking about when the product or business is in the development stage. For example, when our team first began development of FreshCheq, we felt that targeting independent restaurants that used paper food safety logs was our best bet.
Since our initial launch, we have also identified small chains and food trucks as likely businesses that could benefit from our product. These are our secondary audiences. We are also pursuing a few government agencies, which is pretty far off of our initial audience.
Do not get overwhelmed by having several target audiences. Simply prioritize them.
Your Primary Audience May Change
It is surprising and amusing when business owners discover that their original primary audience has, in fact, changed. Imagine developing a product with a certain group in mind, only to find out that another demographic actually has a greater need for your product.
I was listening to XM Business Radio last week and learned of a crowdfunding startup called Root Funding. Over the course of the interview, the founder explained that the original concept was to serve the non-profit and higher ed sectors. Once the product was launched, friends began to ask to use the service for things such as funding an event or gift where multiple people would be paying. Root Funding still serves non-profit businesses, but “individuals” is now their primary audience.
Keep Niche-ing Down
Once a primary audience is established, dig deeper. Within one audience lives several other smaller, niche audiences. Identifying and understanding these smaller subgroups is crucial to success.
Our product, Call Informer, is a call recording product that was designed for independent restaurants as an employee training tool. As we began to market, we realized that there is a real need for the product within the pizza delivery market. Additionally, pizza delivery restaurants that identify delivery as the majority of their revenue emerged as one of our leading audiences. Keep drilling down on your audiences to fine tune your marketing efforts and truly understand who needs your product or service.
Over the past year, I have learned that it is important to let go of our bias and allow the audience to manifest. Of course the product is developed with an audience in mind, but be ready to change and flex as needed. Unexpected and unintended audiences emerging is quite an amazing “problem” for a start up business to have. Be ready for it.