Dig Deeper - why demographics are never enough

For the purpose of this post, I'm going to assume you're the awesome gift-giver who manages to give unique, thoughtful gifts to the people on your list (if not then imagine you're that magical gift-giving unicorn for the next few minutes).  I'm going to add two more people to your list and I want to you think of amazing, unique, thoughtful gifts you'd give them.  Max $100 because who wouldn't love a new car but you're not Oprah here, you're still you.

Person #1: Male.  50's.  Business Professional.  Earns $100 - 150k/year.  Lives in Chicago.  Married.  2 Children.  Drives a Lexus.  (remember no ties, even if they're silk).

Person #2:  Female.  20's.  Full-time student.  Earns $15k/year.  Lives in California.  Single.  No children.  Rides a bicycle.  (remember no gift cards - even if they're super useful).

So...did you come up with something they'd love?  Something that would totally secure your title of master gift-giver?  Kind of difficult to know what they'd want based on that information isn't it?

And yet, when you try to sell to customers based on something as flimsy as demographic data you're stuck trying to guess what will move them to buy with very little information.  

Demographics are only the beginning.

You need to dig so much deeper if you ever hope to make a convincing argument.  You have to understand their needs, their desires, their fears, their hopes.  You have to understand where you customer is in their life right now and where they want to be in the future.  You need to understand their worldview.

Understanding your target market is the very first foundational step on which everything else is built.  And if that foundation isn't solid it will be reflected in your sales.  It will be reflected in your messages that fail to connect with your customers.  It may even be reflected in the design of your website or products that aren't targeting the right people.

Now you have 2 choices.  You can pay mega bucks for psychographic information from big research companies.  Or, if you don't have thousands of dollars to spare - the next best thing is to get as clear as you can on who you're targeting and what they believe.

You need to start by narrowing your focus and getting super-specific about who you're targeting.  Who will be your number one fans?  Who'll love your product or service SO much they'll want to become your evangelists?  Your brand ambassadors?  Your loyal, love-you-long-time, forever customers?  Those are the people you need to understand intimately.  Those are the customers you need to lavish all your attention on.

Dig deep to understand how you can help them.  Understand their lives (where they're at today), their hopes for the future and their struggles.  Start having conversations with your customers.  With social media these days there's no excuse for NOT talking to your customers.  Then focus all your messages, all your selling on preaching to the choir.  Focus on the sale you KNOW you can make.  In return, they'll give you invaluable word-of-mouth marketing.  But you have to dip deep enough to understand who you're selling to.

Next week - Dig Deeper Part 2 - your product and how to make them actually care about what you're selling.