Tag Archives: Target Audience

5 Proven Ways to Create a Successful Niche Business

Too many business owners fish in the widest and deepest pools’ trying to be all things to all people. Offering a broad range of products and services to a broad audience and never really create the waves that lead to tremendous profits. By positioning yourself at the top of a smaller, well defined pool (or niche) you will set your business apart from the competition and create a profitable business.

Here are five proven ways to create a profitable niche business.

1. Define Your Market

Research the needs and challenges of your target audience and capitalize on those needs. Understand the community and develop solutions that appeal to a specific group. For example – Understanding Social media in Small Business is a need of the small business community, a niche market would be to develop a product or service that teach small business owners how to use social media in their business.

2. Create Your Product or Service

Based upon the needs of your target audience, you want to create a product or offer a service that addresses those needs. Many start with developing their products first without researching if there is a market for it. First define your audience and establish there is a demand for a new product and then develop it.

3. Create Your Brand Promise

The brand promise is a statement of what your customers can expect every time they engage with your company and is the center of your business. When a brand stands out with a strong promise that deliver value consistently, the value of your offering increases and customers will be willing to whip out their wallets and pay for your products.

4. Become the Expert

Position yourself as an expert in your niche and become the “go to guy” for this product of service. Showcase your knowledge and expertise by writing articles, participating in forums and providing tips, techniques and strategies in short, succinct messages via popular social networking sites.

5. Create specific messages direct to your niche

Business is conducted on an emotional level. Now that you have identified your market, built a community around your offering, you must communicate with your target market frequently. Develop specific messages targeted towards your niche market appealing to their emotions and demonstrating your benefits. It takes 7 times before somebody is comfortable enough with you and your expertise to buy from you so be specific, be credible and offer extraordinary value.

No matter if you are a retailer, service professional, internet marketer or mom and pop shop, you stand for something. There is a reason that you went into business and a reason why you want your business run a certain way. Building a brand starts with defining what is your core purpose and the inherent promise you are making to your customers and delivering value every time. Isolating your niche in your area of expertise and bringing solutions to a targeted group will keep the cash registers ringing every time.

Source: Nicebusinesssecretsrevealed.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Branding, Business, Business Plan, Communications Manager, Fashion Industry, Fashion Marketeer, Fashion Marketing, Management, Marketing, Marketing Manager, Marketing Mix, Marketing Strategy, New Product Marketing, Niche Business, Niche Market, Place, PR Manager, Price, Product, Promotion, Research, Social Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Target Market, Web Marketing

Top 5 Tips for Writing a Killer Business Plan | Niche Volumes

Starting a business plan is a detailed process that is both educational and revealing. with existing companies it is a chance to re-evaluate profit margins and focus on the prominent areas of the business while cutting out the departments that are losing money. For business plans for new companies it is an opportunity to really focus on, and understand the industry and evaluate whether your next big idea will be successful before you make a large investment.
Although up to 44% of new businesses survive 4 years or more the success of any new business is good planning, access to capital and good business management.
Here are the 5 best tips for creating a killer business plan that will undoubtedly impress:


1) consider your Audience
Business plans are developed for many different reasons. Is it for presenting to a panel for project approval? will it be to submit for funding? Is it simply to restructure the business for profitability? Each of these avenues will require adjustments to the plan format and style you will need to use throughout the document. If you are attempting to obtain funding then you will have to have very detailed cost and ROI projections that are measurable and realistic. If you are making a presentation to a non-profit or a board of directors it is likely that you will need to include a directive on community impact or involvement and impact (either positive or negative) to the existing business. Remember your audience as you creates your document to ensure you focus on the important topics and leave no questions unanswered.


2) Quality Reference Material Is Key
It is important to integrate a diverse mix of reference material in your plan document. the web is great for the latest news but is not nearly as highly regarded as printed documents. be sure to use a good mix of reputable internet reference along with well-known facts and industry statistics most often found in printed literature. Industry specific publications and industry magazines are an excellent way to get the latest news and trends in a reliable place. Always include references from industry publications as well to raise the standard your business plan and build credibility in your due diligence. Always make sure to cite your research or any quotes you may use. this will also build credibility while ensuring you are not infringing on any protected or copyrighted content you use. To quickly and easily cite your sources there is a web-based tool that you can use to enter in your info and get back the properly formatted entry for the works cited page. it makes the process a breeze: easybib.com.


3) Do your Own Research
Creating a solid business plan is the singular first step in knowing your industry and understanding what it will take to be successful in your chosen field. Part of developing a plan should be to evaluate competitors, define your business strategy and start to understand if your value proposition meets a tangible need in the marketplace. Walking through the initial steps of creating a business plan is an invaluable process that will help to ensure that your business can survive the market trends. Don’t pay someone else to do your research for you or it may end up costing you more than you think.

4) using a Business plan Template
Now that you have various notes and articles, market information and loads of statistics it is time to put it all together in a layout that will highlight the data you have compiled. Finding  business plan examples can be a challenge as every business plan is different (see point #2 above), however you can develop your own based on a compilation of the different topics or areas you want to cover. If you want a business plan template that comes formatted with sample headings and the different categories already setup, try using the plan layout from online websites. this site has a real business plan in Word format for quickly changing out headings and information. In addition the plan comes with a break-even analysis template in Excel as well as a 1 year Pro-Forma template in Excel with the formulas already built for easily updating and projecting costs for your business. this is a big time saver and an easy way to quickly get the business plan document underway without having to start from scratch.


5) Seek Out Experts in the Industry
Finally, after you have organized your information reach out to some industry experts like local college professors, trade show organizers, or even your local Chamber of Commerce for some insight and feedback on your plan. it always helps to get a second opinion on the plan before making the final presentation. having one or more individuals look over the plan will shed light on areas that need to be revised or reinforce that the business plan is ready to present.
Don’t get distracted spending valuable time figuring out the Works Cited, Table of Contents or overall plan layout. use the templates or resources that are readily available to you and spend the time focusing where you should, on the reporting and presentation of your business idea.

Source: Onlinebusinessplans1.net

2 Comments

Filed under Business, Business Plan, Consumer Psychology, Fashion Marketing, Management, Market Research, Marketing, Marketing Mix, Marketing Strategy, Methodology, Niche Market, Presentation, Qualitative Research, Quantitative Research, Research, Target Market, Trends

Discovering Customer Needs through Research

INTRODUCTION:

Barclays is a global bank. It provides a range of financial services in 56 countries. Barclays provides retail banking services to customers, whether they are individuals or businesses. It offers a broad range of financial products and services including current accounts, savings accounts and general insurance.

Within the UK, Barclays communications are designed to help customers “Take One Small Step” to managing their money better every day. Different kinds of customers represent distinct markets for Barclays. The market for personal banking services is very competitive. Personal customers have a choice of banks on the high street or on the web to assist them in managing their finances. For example, they can have their salaries paid into accounts, pay bills through the bank or save money to gain interest on their savings. There is also a competitive market for business banking services. Businesses require different services such as credit management, payments for suppliers or loans and overdrafts to help them to survive and grow. For example, an expanding business may need a mortgage to buy a new building.

Market segments

Each market is capable of being further sub-divided into segments. A market segment is a part of a whole customer group that shares particular characteristics. These include such factors as age, life stages, geography or occupation. Within the market of personal banking, the segments could include categories such as students, graduates, “new to work”, mature, and families. By identifying different market segments, organisations can ensure they are providing products or services to meet the needs of these customers.

In addition to this, appropriate promotional techniques can be used to reach the people in the separate segments. Through segmentation, Barclays has been able to devise appropriate banking offers for customers in different segments. This approach is helping Barclays to improve its market share of the student accounts market.  Barclays believes students constitute a very important market segment for the business. Students may be choosing a bank for the first time and Barclays hopes to retain these customers. By focusing on the specific needs of this segment, Barclays hopes to attract more student customers and keep them in the long term. Using market research has enabled Barclays to identify the right product offer that will meet their needs.

The case study shows how market research enabled Barclays to improve its student account offer.

PURPOSE OF MARKET RESEARCH

The purpose of market research is to gather data on customers and potential customers. The collected data aids business decision making. This therefore reduces the risks involved in making these decisions. In order to create a product proposition that would attract new student accounts, Barclays needed to understand fully the needs of this target market. Before engaging on external market research, Barclays began by asking itself a series of key questions. It did this to ensure the business was fully aware of all the relevant issues and did not make incorrect assumptions.

In asking itself these key questions at the start and reviewing internal customer data, Barclays was able to clarify its rationale for acquiring students. Firstly, students provide an opportunity for developing a long-term relationship. As the student market segment increases each year in September/October as the university term starts, Barclays has an annual opportunity to target new student customers who need an account and who might not yet have chosen a bank.

Secondly, the use of this data highlighted that in the years after opening their accounts, Barclays was able to establish a valuable long term relationship with students. This meant that students could now be seen as an extremely important market segment, and attracting new student customers became a significant opportunity.

This internal understanding was vital. With this background, Barclays designed a programme of market research. The purpose of this was to establish what students really needed from a bank. In this way it could offer appropriate products and services which would add value to students.

TYPES OF MARKET RESEARCH

Barclays began a process that involved both primary and secondary research.

Primary research

Primary research involves finding out new information. It finds the answers to specific questions for a particular purpose. These enquiries may take the form of direct questioning. For example, it may include face-to-face surveys, postal or online questionnaires, telephone interviews or focus groups. This type of direct contact with people is valuable as it gives specific feedback to the questions asked. However, it is important that the questions are clear and that the researcher is trained. This will ensure that the results are not influenced. Although primary research can be expensive and time-consuming, the up-to-date and relevant data collected can give organisations a competitive advantage. This is because their rivals will not have had access to it.

Barclays” primary research process began internally with two key questions:

  • Who should our key customers be?
  • What are their needs?

The insights from these questions provided a factual basis to work from.

Qualitative and quantitative research

After this an external agency was employed to carry out an opinion panel. This took the form of an online questionnaire. The results of this delivered data about the market itself, as well as Barclays” market share among this target audience.

Quantitative research presents information in a numeric way, such as graphs, tables or charts that can be used to analyse the information.

For example, Barclays found from the questionnaire that 81% of students surveyed held a savings account and 32% an investment savings account (ISA).  The opinion panel also provided qualitative feedback on what was of interest to students and what they wanted from an account.

Qualitative research provides information on consumer perceptions, such as:

  • how they feel about products and services
  • what they like or do not like
  • what they would want from a new product.

The panel produced valuable insights which Barclays used to help re-evaluate its existing student account. It then used the information to develop new features and benefits to meet the established needs.

Testing

The enhanced student account proposition was then tested directly with 100 existing and new Barclays Student Additions account holders. This was carried out through bank branches and an online questionnaire. The sample group provided more qualitative feedback about what motivated students to choose a particular bank. Although small, the sample allowed Barclays to get a feeling for how students would respond to the proposition. For Barclays, it was important to know what motivated a student to choose a bank. Using existing students meant the bank was able to assess if the new offer would meet their needs. The expectation was that new and future students would also find it attractive.

Secondary research

Secondary research focuses on existing information. It uses published data that previous research has already discovered. This covers a wide range of materials, such as:

  • market research reports
  • sales figures
  • competitor marketing literature
  • government publications, e.g. national statistics.

Secondary research may be quicker to carry out but may give less specific outcomes for the topic in question. This part of Barclays research revealed that student accounts in 2009 amounted to 0.4 million out of a total market of 5.4 million new accounts.

RESEARCH FINDINGS

Numeric data gives a factual basis for planning – a snapshot of a situation. On the other hand, qualitative information can find out the things that really matter to consumers. For example, 80 out of 100 consumers questioned might say they preferred one brand of coffee over another. However, more valuable information comes from understanding what it is they prefer. Is it the smell, the taste, the packaging or the price?

To meet student needs for a valuable, helpful financial service, Barclays needed to understand what students really wanted.

By using student focus panels and staff working in branches with a high proportion of student customers, Barclays was able to discover students” concerns, priorities and strength of feeling.

Research outcomes

The outcomes of the opinion panel and the sample of student customers showed that:

  • students relied heavily on different forms of credit. These included an easily manageable bank overdraft to finance their time at university
  • students wanted and often needed to own high-tech gadgets and electrical goods, such as laptops
  • students wanted to have separate accounts to manage their student borrowing and spending
  • any incentives offered would not alone motivate students to choose that product. They were expected as part of any deal.

This insight was a real help to Barclays when considering the most attractive proposition for students. Its objectives were to attract new student accounts. It also wanted to retain students as customers for life in a profitable relationship that met their financial needs.

Barclays could now start to put together an offer that would embrace the main concerns of the target market. These concerns were financial security, credit availability, flexible banking and the right sort of incentives.

IMPLEMENTATION AND EVALUATION

In 2009, Barclays set up a working group to oversee the setting up of the new student proposition. It used the insight from the research to establish the key features and benefits of the student account. These features are valid for the life of students” studies:

  • no monthly fee to keep costs down for students
  • an interest-free overdraft facility of up to £2,000 from starting the account. Previously this started at £500 in the first year and increased through the years of study. This extension helps students manage their finances.
  • mobile banking and a network of local branches for ease of access to accounts.

Incentives

Of several incentives tested with students, Barclays found that an incentive based on a mobile or telecoms offer would have most appeal. This idea was tested further with students on university campus. The students expressed a clear preference for an incentive offering mobile broadband:

“The broadband offer looks good…I”d definitely go in to find out more.” “It”s good if the broadband offer is for the life of the account´you may be in halls for the first year but not after that.”

To establish this incentive, Barclays researched broadband providers. It then entered into partnership with Orange – the UK”s number 1 broadband provider.

Orange”s strengths were a good business fit for Barclays and ensured that the offer had credibility and perceived value. Students who signed up for a Barclays student account were able to obtain a 25% discount on the monthly cost of whichever Orange mobile broadband scheme they chose.

Communicating the proposition

Having developed a student banking proposition that Barclays felt confident would appeal, it began to communicate the message and promote the new student offer. An innovative marketing plan was launched which involved:

  • a word-of-mouth campaign through “100 voices” which encouraged students to share their experiences of managing money whilst at college or university
  • promotional literature available in branches nationwide. This proved useful information for Barclays colleagues as well as for students and their parents to take away
  • online advertising through barclays.co.uk
  • direct mail to prospective students through the summer before going to university.
CONCLUSION

The Barclays student account proposition shows how it is crucial for a business to listen to its market. To do this effectively means targeting specific market segments to discover their needs.

Barclays” new student account proposition was an “insight-led” approach.

Using carefully constructed and phased market research, the bank was able to gain an overall insight into the thinking of students. In the early stages of the research, it was discovered that the student segment provided an opportunity to develop a long-term relationship. It was found that students were not necessarily “here today, gone tomorrow”. If the bank made a valuable and relevant offer, students were likely to remain lifelong customers.

Barclays” initial target was to increase the overall number of student accounts by 25%. This target was exceeded with an increase of 34%. As a result, Barclays increased its market share of the student market, moving from third to second among the top four market leaders.

The process of meeting customer needs is an ongoing one. Barclays has a continuing plan for re-evaluating its student proposition to ensure it remains relevant to the target audience.

Source: thetimes100.co.uk

Leave a comment

Filed under Business, Case Study, Consumer Psychology, Consumer Psychology, Market Research, Marketing, Marketing Mix, Marketing Strategy, Methodology, Product, Qualitative Research, Quantitative Research, Research, Target Market

Mobile Applications In Fashion

The definition of application, as described by the Oxford dictionary, is ‘practical use or relevance’. When a brand launches an mobile application, it should always benefit the end user and therefore the brand. In 2008, for obvious economics reasons, luxury brands like D&G, Chanel and Hugo Boss, where forced away from their traditional way of advertising and had to look at other possibilities.

2009 was the year that, nearly all high end fashion brands launched their own mobile application. It was an obvious choice for these brands to go in this direction.
The iPhone made mobile applications possibly and was, at that time, mainly used by early adopters and high-end customers. Both groups are a very interesting target audience for luxury brands. Chanel was the first to jump into this adventure by launching their ‘app’ in June 2008. Soon other high fashion brands followed Chanel’s example and app’s seem to pop up like mushrooms.

The launched app’s have a couple of aspects in common. They are all free of charge, they have a store locator and show their latest collections. Only a few brands have thought about the relevance and practical use for the customer.

Hugo Boss helps its customers with a color matching issues. You make a photo of the item you want to where, and Hugo Boss gives you several options of colors that go well with it.

Another good example is the app DKNY made when they introduced the DKNY Cozy. The DKNY Cozy is a sweater that can be worn in 21 different ways. The app shows all 21 ways, in three simple steps.

But the luxury brands need to step up their game. Now that more phones can download applications, the market has grown and the expectations of their users with it. Especially the expectations of the early adopters and the high end customers, in other words, their target audiences. It’s time for the high fashion brands to regroup and think of the practical use of their application for the customer. Maybe Prada will also launch an app.

Source: viralblog.com by Paul Braat

Leave a comment

Filed under Ad Campaign, Advertising, Business, Case Study, Design, Digital Creative, Digital Marketing, E-Commerce, Fashion, Fashion Industry, Fashion Marketing, Fashion Retailer, Interactive Campaign, Interactive Marketing, Interactive Marketing Online, Internet Marketing, Knitwear, Luxury Brand, M-Commerce, Market Research, Marketing, Marketing Mix, Marketing Strategy, Media Outlet, Merchandising, Mobile Marketing, Networking, New Product Marketing, Niche Market, Online, Online Marketing, Online Product Marketing, Presentation, Product Advertising, Product Placement, Promotion, Publicity, Social Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Target Market, Technology, Trends, Video, Viral, Viral Campaign, Viral Video, Web Marketing, Website

Understanding how your Customers Think

John Zogby on how business owners can use polling to better understand their customers.

How can polling be helpful for small businesses?

The era of seat-of-your-pants decision-making is gone. I’m willing to accept the fact that there are some people who just have great instincts, but here is a powerful tool – opinion research, polling – that can either underscore or defy seat-of-the-pants thinking. And so, if it’s available and it’s scientific, you use it.

What can small business owners use it for?

What is your market, and what does your market want? How much are they willing to spend? Customer satisfaction: Are you doing a good job or a bad job? The work we’ve done over the years suggests there are two things you’re looking at when you’re doing customer satisfaction. You’re looking for score: good job, bad job. But among the clients that say bad or so-so job — why.

What’s one of the secrets to getting the most out of polling and opinion research?

We’ve done customer satisfaction for banks, for retailers. You can get a 95% [positive-experience] score either overall or in some specific item. But then when you ask why among the 5%, if there’s one person who says, “it was the worst experience of my life, I’ll never go back there again,” you have to know. You have to find that out. And you only find that out if you ask.

Most polling is done by telephone, but the Do-Not-Call Registry limits business owners when considering this venue for its polls. How do you suggest business owners reach their customers?

You find that even in this era of the Do-Not-Call Registry and people working an average of 50 to 60 hours a week, there are still people willing to answer questions [on the telephone]. But interactive services is one of fastest growing [areas of polling], and very useful and accurate.

Each methodology offers something that another methodology doesn’t. The telephone, for starts: We ask our people, don’t just give us the yes/no, agree/disagree, the scale 1-5 — tell me what the tone was. On the telephone, you can get the real attitude, the real tone. E-mail allows you to ask more questions in more detail.

Are there areas where polling works better than others, or those that don’t work at all?

Always, customer satisfaction. But also, if you’re going to do it yourself, you’re not going to get accurate information. Why is that? Because sometimes people don’t want to tell the actual vendor. They’ll tell us. Sometimes they don’t want to tell about a bad experience – you know, do unto others as you’d do unto you.

Can a business be too small and polling irrelevant to them?

No.

Source: Inc.com By Laura Rich

Leave a comment

Filed under Business, Interview, Market Research, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Methodology, Niche Market, Research, Target Market

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

3 Comments

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