Category Archives: Competitive Analysis

Creating a Green Fashion Label

When consumers shop for groceries, they tend to review the nutrition label and ingredients list on the food package to obtain dietary information. This food label system helps people make an informed decision and lead healthier lifestyles. Shouldn’t consumers have resources for making similar choices when shopping for apparel products? According to the Textile Fiber Products Identification Act (TFPIA), all apparel products should have a label that includes: fiber content, country of origin, manufacturer identification, and care instructions.

 

However, the clothing label may not be informative enough to educate consumers regarding what processes were used to make the product and what environmental impacts those processes may have. One of the common myths consumers may believe regarding apparel products is that natural fiber products are more environmentally friendly than synthetic fiber products. Considering the fact that the textile and apparel industry is a major contributor to environmental degradation, it is important to provide more informative, easy-to-read labels for apparel products, responding to consumers’ growing concerns about environmental issues related to their consumable products.

From interviews with five apparel design personnel in two companies (although these opinions cannot represent all designers’ and merchandisers’ opinions), our research team found that they were aware of the environmental problems associated with dyeing and textile processing. However, interestingly, they did not regard themselves as responsible for correcting these problems.

They also indicated that the biggest determining factor for apparel designers and merchandisers when deciding where to obtain materials for production is the availability of materials from suppliers who have had a long–term relationship with the company. It seems that environmentally friendly materials were not their main concern. They added that if they were sure that their target consumers would be willing to purchase environmentally friendly products, they would practice sustainability. Without certainty, they did not want to take the risk because using green materials costs more. The industry personnel felt that there was nothing they could do as designers or merchandisers to address environmental issues, believing that environmentally friendly production was beyond their ability.

Do consumers agree with these opinions? To explore consumer opinions about green apparel products and purchasing behaviors, a serious of focus group discussions were conducted with 32 consumers. Although organic fibers and other green apparel options are already available in the market, participants demonstrated a lack of knowledge about these products. Interestingly, several respondents knew of organic clothing only in terms of simple items, such as T–shirts, while others did not even know that organic or green apparel was an available option.

In addition, the respondents agreed that if there were more information about green apparel products available, they would be more prone to buy them. They felt skeptical about current eco–claims because labeling of green apparel is voluntary and no general rules have been implemented for apparel product labeling. They added that current labels on green clothing did not offer an adequate amount of information to consumers. They were unsure of exactly what “environmentally friendly” meant and how the products they had seen were environmentally friendly. Additionally, most of the participants agreed that a well–established eco–label for apparel products would increase consumers’ knowledge of environmental impacts from apparel production and foster consumers’ green apparel purchasing behaviors.

Regarding willingness to buy green apparel products, they mentioned that they would be more likely to purchase green apparel products if they were cheaper and more readily available. Respondents indicated that they would not buy a less attractive environmentally friendly garment with the label attached to it over a more attractive conventional product. Therefore, before emphasizing green aspects, products should meet the quality expectations of consumers.

Based on these two investigations, the research team suggested that a labeling system could be used to reduce the information gap between producers and consumers. Green labels for textile and apparel products can facilitate choices for consumers making environmentally responsible purchasing decisions by motivating and/or educating them (D’Souza, et al., 2006).

As mentioned earlier, just as the nutritional facts and ingredients are listed on food packages, the apparel label can include customized information on how the content of a specific product and its production processes impact the environment. Our research team identified six sustainability aspects of apparel products as the key information that would be beneficial for consumers to know from the green apparel label: organic, biodegradable, safely dyed, fair trade, carbon footprint, and recycled. Creating eye–catching symbols accompanied by brief explanations for clarification, which convey the key aspects of sustainability within the apparel industry, will be necessary. This design will make the labels easy to read and serve as a convenient reference for consumers.

If the standardized and easy–to–read label is commonly used in the textile and apparel industry in the future, it will educate consumers about green products and their effects on our surrounding environment. By becoming more knowledgeable about green products, consumers will be able to make more informed purchases of environmentally responsible products. In addition, educated consumers will drive businesses to practice more sustainability. Adopting the easy–to–read, informative green label will help retailers promote their eco–friendly strategies. As people continue to show interest in green products through purchases, the availability of various green products will increase, resulting in growing diversity in the retailing industry.

This educational research brief is from the University of Delaware (Fiber Online Journal).
Creating a Green Label for Reducing the Gap

Authors:
Dr. Hae Jin Gam is an assistant professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at Illinois State University. She was a fashion designer in South Korea until 2001. Her doctoral research was in the area of sustainable apparel design and production development and was funded by the Environmental Protection Agency. Her current research interests include sustainability in the apparel and textile industry, apparel product development, consumers’ eco–friendly purchasing behavior, and the scholarship of teaching and learning.

Dr. Yoon Jin Ma is an assistant professor in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at Illinois State University. Her research interests include social responsibility in apparel consumption, manufacturing, and retailing; consumer behavior; services marketing; and scale development. She received the Student Best Paper Award at the doctoral level from the International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA) in 2008, the Best Track Paper Award in the textile and apparel/international track from ITAA in 2009, and the Paper of Distinction Award in the consumer behavior track from ITAA in 2010

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The Marketing Mix – The Official 5 P’s of Marketing

The major marketing management decisions can be classified in one of the following five categories:

The Marketing Mix – The 5 P’s

  • Product
  • Price
  • Place (distribution)
  • Promotion
  • People

The Marketing Mix


Product 
 
People

Place 
 

Target
Market
– The Consumer  

Price 
 

Promotion 
 

These variables are known as the marketing mix or the 5 P’s of marketing. They are the variables that marketing managers can control in order to best satisfy customers in the target market. The firm attempts to generate a positive response in the target market by blending these five marketing mix variables in an optimal manner.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _  _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Product

The product is the physical product or service offered to the consumer. In the case of physical products, it also refers to any services or conveniences that are part of the offering. Product decisions include aspects such as function, appearance, packaging, service, warranty, etc.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Price

Pricing decisions should take into account profit margins and the probable pricing response of competitors. Pricing includes not only the list price, but also discounts, financing, and other options such as leasing.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Promotion

Promotion decisions are those related to communicating and selling to potential consumers. Since these costs can be large in proportion to the product price, a break-even analysis should be performed when making promotion decisions. It is useful to know the value of a customer in order to determine whether additional customers are worth the cost of acquiring them. Promotion decisions involve advertising, public relations, media types, etc.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

People

People decisions are those related to customer service.  How do you want your workers to appear to your customers?  There are a range of service profiles from service with a smile – McDonald’s, to classier Nordstroms, to plain rude – Ed Debevic’s.  The function of people to present an appearance,  an attitude, etc.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Place

Place (or placement) decisions are those associated with channels of distribution that serve as the means for getting the product to the target customers. The distribution system performs transactional, logistical, and facilitating functions. Distribution decisions include market coverage, channel member selection, logistics, and levels of service.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

A Summary Table of the Marketing Mix

The following table summarizes the marketing mix decisions, including a list of some of the aspects of each of the 4Ps.

Summary of Marketing Mix Decisions

Product People Price Place Promotion
FunctionalityAppearance

Quality

Packaging

Brand

Warranty

Service/Support

Service

AppearanceUniforms

Attitude

List priceDiscounts

Allowances

Financing

Leasing options

Channel membersChannel motivation

Market coverage

Locations

Logistics

Service levels

AdvertisingPersonal selling

Public relations

Message

Media

Budget

Source: facweb.eths.k12.il.us

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Case Study – how market research supports the new product development process

Market research is the process by which businesses find out about customers’ needs, wants and desires. It makes possible the successful development of new products.

This study shows how an international company, Beiersdorf, combines market research with new product development on its NIVEA Deodorant brand to provide exciting new products that better meet consumer requirements.

Beiersdorf has a clear goal – to be as close as possible to consumers, regardless of which country they live in. Developing superior consumer insights is fundamental to the continued future success of Beiersdorf and its international brands like NIVEA, Eucerin and Atrixo. These are the result of more than 120 years of experience in research and development.

Beiersdorf has launched many new brands and products into a variety of countries and categories. Being an innovation leader has allowed Beiersdorf actively to shape its markets and set new trends. These product launches have led to long-term global growth.

THE KEY STAGES OF MARKET RESEARCH AND NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT

Market research involves the systematic gathering, recording and analyzing of data about customers, competitors and the market. This links marketers to consumers by supplying essential information to solve marketing challenges and help with marketing decisions.

Market research helps a company create and develop an up-to-date and relevant portfolio of products.

Creating new products

Beiersdorf’s international Market Research team is based at company headquarters in Hamburg, Germany. The team’s objective is to be the voice of the consumers within the organisation. High-quality market research has helped secure the long-term future of the business. Analysing and understanding the data gathered on consumers’ behaviours, needs, attitudes and opinions minimises the risks involved in making marketing decisions.

Market research in a global organisation needs the help and support of the company’s overseas affiliate companies. Most affiliate companies (in the UK for example) have dedicated Market Research Managers. how the npd prosses worksThey help the central research team in gathering and interpreting consumer views. These views provide information or insights that ultimately result in the development of new products suitable for a global market.

This case study follows the development of a new NIVEA Deodorant called Pearl and Beauty aimed at young women. This case study will give you a clear picture of how market research has helped New Product Development (NPD).

IDENTIFYING CONSUMER VIEWS AND PRODUCT NEEDS – WHERE TO START?

Market research should start with the consumer and serves two purposes:

1) To inform companies about consumer needs and desires. What are the trends in the market? What do consumers want?

2) To give consumers the opportunity to talk to the providers of products and services so that their views are taken into account.

questions that need answering

Businesses exist in a fast-moving world with increased consumer choice. It is essential that a company knows its market and its consumers before developing any new product. Lots of questions need answering.

Consumer insights drive New Product Development. This information takes into account their behaviours, attitudes and beliefs. It is an expression of their wishes and desires. Businesses use consumer insights to create opportunities for their brands. It is the starting point that enables brands to fit meaningfully into consumers’ lives.

Across countries, consumers are different in terms of culture and lifestyle. NIVEA’s challenge was to find similar insights from consumers across different countries. This was used to optimize product development.

Secondary research

In the deodorant category, NIVEA used many secondary research sources to discover consumers’ views and their need for deodorants. These related to different markets and were supplied by local country market researchers. These included:

i. A consumer Usage and Attitude study. This had been conducted a few years earlier across various markets (UK, France and USA).

ii. An external study by Fragrance Houses. This covered the importance of scent and fragrance to people’s well-being and mood.

Primary research

The research team felt therefore there was not enough recent knowledge about the consumer in the secondary research. They commissioned some primary qualitative research in key markets (Germany, France, UK and USA). This was aided by the local Market Research Manager. The aim was to understand the motivations for using deodorant amongst the female consumer.

Primary research is used when there is no existing data available to answer your questions.

The research involved small discussion groups of females. This helped researchers understand the beliefs and motivations of this group. There were several main findings:

  • There is steady growth in females shaving. They wanted to look after their underarms throughout all seasons (not just in summer).
  • Women cared increasingly about the condition of their underarms.
  • Women desired attractive, neat underarms. This symbolised sensuality and femininity.
  • The deodorant segment remained focused on functional rather than beautifying products.

Results of the research

The market research revealed an unexplored market potential for NIVEA Deodorant. The brand did not have a specific product that addressed ‘underarm beauty’ for the female consumer. No direct competitor was offering a product to meet these needs. So there was a clear opportunity to develop a new product. This would fit across different markets and with the current NIVEA Deodorant range.

TURNING CUSTOMERS INSIGHTS INTO PRODUCT CONCEPTS

Consumers showed a need for a ‘beautifying, caring deodorant’. The team generated ideas on how to address the consumer need.

From these ideas the marketing team created ‘product concepts’. These describe the product benefits and how they will meet the consumer needs. Several concepts were written in different ways. These explained and expressed unique product attributes.

The company needed to know which concept was preferred by prospective consumers. It carried out market research to test whether the concepts would work. The research was conducted amongst the desired target market. For Pearl and Beauty, the desired target market was 18-35 year-old women who were beauty-orientated, followed fashion and looked for products with extra benefits.

Quantitative research on the concept was carried out in two test markets (France and Germany). An international company like Beiersdorf must test products in more than one market to assess properly the global appeal.

The concepts were tested monadically. Monadic testing means that the respondent of the test is only shown one concept. This stops the respondent being biased by seeing many variations of the same product concept.

A number of criteria were used to test the concepts:

1) Deodorant category performance measures. These included wetness, dryness, and fragrance. The new concept must deliver generic core benefits.

2) Product attributes specific to the new product and NIVEA core values. The new Pearl and Beauty product has additional benefits to a ‘regular’ deodorant. For example, it leaves your skin feeling silky and gives you beautiful underarms. Consumers needed to understand and see these benefits.

3) The product needed to be relevant and motivate a consumer to purchase it.

The team chose the ‘winning’ concept. This best conveyed beauty while remaining relevant to the deodorant category and NIVEA brand.

Next the research team tested various name ideas for the product and developed different designs for the packaging. Packaging design plays a very important role in helping to communicate the image of the product. Pearl and Beauty needed to communicate femininity and sophistication. Pink was a natural colour choice for the packaging. They also used a soft pearlescent container to emphasise the ‘pearl extracts’ in the product.

Various design ideas were tested using quantitative market research. In addition, this helped to predict the volume of the new products that would be sold, the optimal selling price and the level of switching from existing NIVEA Deodorant and competitor products.

TESTING THE PRODUCT, BRAND POSITION AND ADVERTISING

Testing

The stages described so far produced a product concept that consumers felt was relevant and which they were willing to buy. The next stage was to test the product on actual customers. Many product launches fail, despite great advertising. A big reason is because the product fails to live up to the promises made.

The Market Research Team conducted a product usage test. A de-branded sample of the proposed new product was given to the target consumer of females in several countries. De-branded means the deodorant was in a blank container so that the consumers did not know who made the product or what type it was. Very often consumers form opinions about products and services from advertising and packaging. This can sometimes be very strong and creates a bias in what they think of a product before trying it.

The consumers were asked to use the new deodorant for a week. They kept a diary of when they used it and scored the performance of the deodorant against a list of criteria. These included:

  • Did it keep you dry all day?
  • Did you have to reapply it?
  • Did you like the fragrance?
  • Did it last all day?
  • Was the deodorant reliable?

Consumers applied the ‘de-branded’ deodorant under their right armpit and continued to use their current deodorant under their left armpit. This helped the users gauge if it was as good as or better than the brand they normally used. This gave a measure of how likely the consumer would be to swap brands.

The results of the test were very positive. Most consumers loved the fragrance and the feel of the product on their skin. They felt it performed as well as their current deodorant. Most said they would swap their brands after trying the product.

Brand positioning

Now the marketing team had a new product idea that consumers liked. It had a name and packaging design that were well received. They now needed to check how this fitted with the rest of the NIVEA Deodorant brand positioning and range.

The brand position is the specific niche in the market that the brand defines itself as occupying.

The NIVEA Deodorant Pearl and Beauty adds a touch of feminine sophistication and elegance to the NIVEA Deodorant brand’s personality. This built on the core deodorant positioning. It made NIVEA Deodorant more appealing, modern and unique to trendy, young female consumers.

Using qualitative research to inform advertising

The next stage was to brief an advertising agency to develop communication to support the launch of the new product. Through market research the team could check whether the advertisements positively supported and communicated the new product.

The company conducted qualitative research on some advertising ideas amongst various groups of the target consumers. It presented ideas in the form of ‘storyboards’ of what a TV advert could look like. The objective was to evaluate which were the best ideas in terms of:

  • Did they stand out as exciting or different?
  • Were they relevant to the consumer?
  • Did they communicate the right things about the new product?
  • Did they persuade the consumer to want to purchase the product?

Evaluating success

Once the product is launched and the consumer can actually purchase it, the research process does not stop.

Continuous consumer tracking can be carried out to find out consumers’ views of the new product. This involves interviewing people every day to find out whether they are using the product, what they think of it and why they would purchase it.

Beiersdorf uses other, secondary data sources such as consumer panel data and EPOS (electronic point of sale) data. These monitor the sales effectiveness of the product throughout the launch phase and through the product life cycle.

CONCLUSION

New product development should start with an insight based on consumer needs.

Throughout the NPD process, market research is a valuable tool for Beiersdorf to check viability and minimise the risk of the product launches.

Being an international company, it is essential that Beiersdorf develops new products using the insights of consumers across markets and cultures. This ensures the products are relevant to a large number of global consumers and will deliver the maximum return when launched.

This maximises return on investment for the company and results in happy, satisfied and loyal consumers


Source: thetimes100.co.uk

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Up Your Marketing Game In 2011

The new year is upon us, and while the new year promises many new opportunities, they won’t magically appear without a game plan. Setting New Year’s resolutions is old fashion, and we all know they are most often broken. This year, set goals in the form of a marketing calendar. By setting a year full of achievable goals, you’ll set yourself up for success and create a game plan for 2011 to market your business.

Of course, everyone’s marketing calendar will be different, but I’ve laid out some ideas you can incorporate into your marketing strategy to get you started. 

1) January – Plan a marketing campaign calendar for 2011. Plan ahead to take advantage of seasonal events with promotions and leaves room to learn at least one new thing each month.

2) February – Share the love with your clients. The season of love is the perfect time to integrate or upgrade your referral program to ensure clients feel valued.

3) March – Sign up for my blog/RSS feed. I admit this seems a little self-motivated, but the key to being a successful marketer is to stay on your toes, and by receiving regular marketing information you create a reminder to stay on top of things. It also creates an atmosphere for you to continue learning each month without overwhelming yourself with too much information at one time. Plus the while reason I write my newsletter and post articles is to help stylists like you learn to market your businesses. So if you haven’t already, sign up. (See that box at the top of the right column, that’s where you can sign up for my newsletter. Above that look for the RRS icon to grab my feed.)

4) April – If you haven’t launched your business’s Facebook page yet, times a wasting. Everyday Facebook becomes more and more popular and more and more important as a marketing strategy. As previously mentioned, the stylist’s business lends itself perfectly to a Facebook strategy since our business is, after all, based on relationships.

5) May – Stock up on summer reading. Good idea is to buy books to help you create the kind of income you have always dreamed of from your favorite job.

6) June – As you head into the dog-days of summer, be a resource for your clients and potential clients. The summer is long and not so busy for most, so use your Facebook page to publish tips and information that you believe is interesting and useful for your customers.

7) July – Celebrate Christmas in July and use this opportunity to reach out to your clients and thank them for their patronage. Everyone expects cards in December, but sending cards in July is so unexpected that you will really stand out in the crowd.

8) August – As parents start to think about sending the kiddos back to school, it is the perfect time for you to remind them about a new look for fall. It’s also a great time to run promo specials for kids. What about steeply discounted kids’ rebate when mom/dad are shopping too?

9) September – By now you have mastered Facebook. It is time to tackle a new project, how about Twitter? For some reason, Twitter seems overwhelming, but once you get started you’ll see that it is very basic and lots of fun. Head over to Twitter to get started. Once you get the conversation rolling, you’ll be hooked. And better yet, your clients will be hooked on you.

10) October – BOO! Don’t underestimate the number of people who need a special look for October 31. Use the holiday to your advantage and market yourself accordingly.

11) November -Before the holiday rush sets in, set aside some time to take stock of what worked and what didn’t work in your marketing plan for 2011. This will help you be ready to prepare for 2012, and it might point out something that is lacking for the holiday push. If you never analyze what you have done, you’ll never see how to improve, so take a moment to reflect so you can adjust accordingly.

12) December – Remember the “dead zone.” If you plan correctly, you’ll be super busy during the week between Christmas and New Years, which will set you up for a great 2012.

Have a happy and prosperous new year!

Copyright (c) 2010 Tarsha Beavers

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Top 7 SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Tricks for 2011

A new year comes with brand new goals, targets and challenges for everyone including bloggers and Web administrators. It is therefore no surprise that many people will be looking for some of the best and most appropriate search engine techniques that will get their respective Websites on the first page of one, most or all of the top search engines. Thus, finding the best online strategies that will assist in driving targeted results could become the determining factor for thousands of businesses and blog owners trying to stand out and take their Websites to the next level in 2011.

As a result, this article will take a look at some of the most important methods that will assist not only businesses but blogs, affiliate and individual Websites achieve their ultimate dream of getting to page one on search engine result pages (SERPs) as follows.

1. Article Marketing: Article marketing is one of the most successful search engine optimisation (SEO) action plan methods currently employed by a significant number of Internet marketers. Essentially, you will write articles with a single keyword focus and a link pointing back to your website. You then submit  those articles to article directories that post them for free. Once an article is published, it will provide a backlink to your Website that search engines can pick up. Overall, this process takes time, so patience is recommended.

anatomy-of-result-seo

2. On-Page Optimisation: This  is perhaps the oldest and most tested SEO method in the book. On-page optimisation is the first step  when it comes to optimising Web pages in order to gain necessary attention from search engines. The process consists of  using optimized keywords, title tags, alt tags on images and the use of good-natured Weblinks. Today, on-page optimization contributes a substantial amount to your page rank and if applied properly, it could significantly improve your chances of getting to the top of search engine result pages.

3. Social Media Marketing: Social-media marketing is a familiar tool today, although many Internet marketers seem to abuse it. The goal is to use social-networking Websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to set yourself and your business up as an authority as well as a recognizable personality and brand that can be trusted for niche information. However, you will need to provide constant, daily value that your readers can take away from it.

4. Viral Marketing: Viral marketing, like social media marketing, is focused on attracting people to you. As a search engine method, viral marketing could be said to be the least measurable, although it can also be the most effective. Examples of viral marketing consist of: sending out free e-books, creating squeeze pages, video distribution through YouTube, and supplying free software.

5. Link Baiting: Link baiting is a search engine optimisation action plan method whereby you produce high quality content that will attract attention on its own. For example, if you had a weight loss site, you could produce an article on the Top 10 ways to lose weight naturally. The article could be massive and take hours to write, but it would also be a powerful authority resource in your chosen niche thereby drawing plenty of attention from many other websites.

6. Word of Mouth: The importance of word of mouth techniques in search engine optimisation often gets overlooked. While it may not have a very direct impact, its consequences could be massive. This approach could take the form of simply telling a friend about your site, providing avenues for others to suggest to their friends and simply distributing a business card with a simple URL pointing to your Website. By so doing, your sites gets noticed, receives more attention, attracts more visitors which equates to better reputation and ultimately better ranking ranking by search engines.

7. Trusted Site Backlinking: Although article marketing can potentially generate numerous backlinks, if you want truly valuable backlinks, you need to find trustworthy sites i.e. those that search engines like Google hold in high stature. For example, top level directories such as DMOZ or Yahoo! and major forums or information resources.

Source: techsling.com

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How to Define your Target Market

To build a solid foundation for your business, you must first identify your typical customer and tailor your marketing pitch accordingly.

With the current state of the economy, having a well-defined target market is more important than ever. No one can afford to target everyone. Small businesses can effectively compete with large companies by targeting a niche market.

Many businesses say they target “anyone interested in my services.” Some may say they target small business owners, homeowners, or stay-at-home moms. All of these targets are too general.

Targeting a specific market does not mean that you have to exclude people that do not fit your criteria from buying from you. Rather, target marketing allows you to focus your marketing dollars and brand message on a specific market that is more likely to buy from you than other markets. This is a much more affordable, efficient, and effective way to reach potential clients and generate business.

For example, an interior design company could choose to market to homeowners between the ages of 35-65 with incomes of $150,000+ in the Baton RougeLouisiana, market. To define the market even further, the company could choose to target only those interested in kitchen and bath remodeling and traditional styles. This market could be broken down into two niches: parents on the go and retiring baby boomers.

With a clearly defined target audience, it is much easier to determine where and how to market your company. Here are some tips to help you define your target market.

How to Define Your Target Market: Look at Your Current Customer Base

Who are your current customers, and why do they buy from you? Look for common characteristics and interests. Which ones bring in the most business? It is very likely that other people like them could also benefit from your product/service.

Dig Deeper: Upselling: Dig Deeper Into Your Customer Base

How to Define Your Target Market: Check Out Your Competition

Who are your competitors targeting? Who are their current customers? Don’t go after the same market. You may find a niche market that they are overlooking.

Dig Deeper: In Praise of Niche Marketing

How to Define Your Target Market: Analyze Your Product/Service

Write out a list of each feature of your product or service. Next to each feature, list the benefits they provide (and the benefits of those benefits). For example, a graphic designer offers high quality design services. The resulting benefit is a professional company image. A professional image will attract more customers because they see the company as professional and trustworthy. So ultimately, the benefit of high quality design is to gain more customers and make more money.

Once you have your benefits listed, make a list of people who have a need that your benefit fulfills. For example, a graphic designer could choose to target businesses interested in increasing their client base. While this is still too general, you now have a base to start from.

Dig Deeper: How to Conduct Market Research

How to Define Your Target Market: Choose Specific Demographics to Target

Figure out not only who has a need for your product or service, but also who is most likely to buy it. Think about the following factors:

    • Age
    • Location
    • Gender
    • Income level
    • Education level
    • Marital or family status
    • Occupation
    • Ethnic background

Dig Deeper: Why Demographics Are Crucial to Your Business

How to Define Your Target Market: Consider the Psychographics of Your Target

Psychographics are more personal characteristics of a person, including:

    • Personality
    • Attitudes
    • Values
    • Interests/hobbies
    • Lifestyles
    • Behavior

Determine how your product or service will fit into your target’s lifestyle. How and when will they use the product? What features are most appealing to them? What media do they turn to for information? Do they read the newspaper, search online, or attend particular events?

Dig Deeper: Understanding How Your Customers Think

How to Define You Target Market: Evaluate Your Decision

Once you’ve decided on a target market, be sure to consider these questions:

    • Are there enough people that fit my criteria?
    • Will my target really benefit from my product/service? Will they see a need for it?
    • Do I understand what drives my target to make decisions?
    • Can they afford my product/service?
    • Can I reach them with my message? Are they easily accessible?

Don’t break your target down too far! Remember, you can have more than one niche market. Consider if your marketing message should be different for each niche market. If you can reach both niches effectively with the same message, then maybe you have broken down your market too far. Also, if you find that there are only 50 people that fit all of your criteria, maybe you should reevaluate your target. The trick is to find that perfect balance.

You may be asking, “How do I find all this information?” Try searching online for research others have done on your target. Search for magazine articles and blogs that talk about your target market or that talk to your target market. Search for blogs and forums where people in your target market communicate their opinions. Look for survey results, or consider conducting a survey of your own. Ask your current customers for feedback.

Defining your target market is the hard part. Once you know who you are targeting, it is much easier to figure out which media you can use to reach them and what marketing messages will resonate with them. Instead of sending direct mail to everyone in your zipcode, you can send only to those who fit your criteria. Save money and get a better return on investment by defining your target audience.

Dig Deeper: How to Find New Customers and Increase Sales

Source: Inc.com By Mandy Porta

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Filed under Business, Competitive Analysis, Market Research, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Niche Market, Place, Price, Product, Qualitative Research, Quantitative Research, Research, Target Market, Trends

Sources for Market Research and Competitive Analysis

Locating industry specific market data; e.g., consumer demographics, forecasted sales growth, market leaders, and product segment performance, can take a considerable amount of time and effort.  Richard K. Miller & Associates, a market research firm, makes this task much easier with its annual Market Research Handbooks.  2010 editions of the Handbooks include the Leisure Market Research Handbook, the Restaurant & Foodservice Market Research Handbook, and the Retail Business Market Research Handbook.  A complete listing of titles is accessible through the Articles & Databases link on the library website under RKMA Market Research Reports.  A new Consumer Marketing Handbook (2010) provides data on the scope and effectiveness of different kinds of advertising and customer outreach programs, including mobile apps, online marketing, multichannel marketing, and more.  When accessing the RKMA publications off-campus, you will be prompted to type in your name and 14-digit barcode number located on your Bryant student ID.

Another critical piece to analyzing a specific industry is locating data on competitors.  Though market share data is available in the Market Share Reporter (2011, print) and the Business Rankings AnnualMergent Online and the Mergent Industry Review (2011, quarterly, print) are the best sources for timely comparative financial data. Mergent Online database provides financial data on over 60,000 global publicly traded companies. Researchers can search for a company by name or by ticker, and the retrieved information will include a link to Competitors which includes Mergent’s universe of preselected competitors and data on their revenues, gross margin, net income, EBITDA, total assets and liabilities, P/E ratio, market cap, total employees, and share price.  The Mergent Industry Review, arranged by industry sector, provides data on EPS (12 months and last 3 years) and latest data on book value per share, stockholders equity, and long-term debt.  Additional company data rankings are given with categories selected depending on their relevance to the industry sector.  The publication also presents one, three and five year growth rate rankings for revenue, EPS, operating income, share price and number of employees.

For help using these resources or locating more information and data a particular market or industry, ask a librarian!

Original Source: Krupplibrary

 

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Filed under Business, Competitive Analysis, E-Commerce, Internet Marketing, Market Research, Marketing, Marketing Mix, Niche Market, Online Marketing, Promotion, Research, Social Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Web Marketing