by helen on July 10, 2011

Would like to meet…

How to identify and engage the people that matter to your business

This week is all about working out which people can help your business to grow, and how you can develop long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with them.

Every year I watch The Apprentice, and I am amazed at how often the teams of so-called entrepreneurs embark on tasks without a thought for their market or audience. They get so carried away coming up with the product or service idea, they seem to forget about the customer – and as a PR, I have always been careful to identify the target audiences for a campaign at the very start of the planning process.

Broadly, the people that matter to your business – your target audience – are:

  • Your staff – the people who make your products/services
  • Your customers – the people who buy your products/services
  • Influencers – the people who influence your customers’ buying decisions
  • Suppliers – the businesses you buy from who enable you to make your products/services
  • Investors/partners – the organisations and individuals who support you strategically, financially, mentally, emotionally
  • Your competitors – the products/services competing for your customers’ attention (and money!)

I once read that your target audience is made up of the individuals, groups, communities and bodies of decision-makers who influence your target; and your target is the individual or individuals who have direct decision-making power over the issue your business is working to address.

So, if you are a restaurant owner your target would be your paying customers. Your target audience would include your customers again (they can recommend your restaurant to their friends), restaurant critics working for the media, your staff (again, they can recommend you to their friends), your suppliers (recommendations), tourist guides providing information to visitors to the area. And so, the list grows.

Once you have worked out who are your target audience and target, you can really begin to focus on the individuals and groups who can help you grow your business. The people who really matter – who can make the biggest difference – are the ones you need to focus your marketing efforts on. These are the people who need to know who you are, what you do, how you can make a difference to their lives, how you’ve already helped other people improve their lives, and what you want them to do.

Do you know who your target and target audience are? Write a list now. It shouldn’t take too long – and your challenge efforts will be more focused and more effective as you will be targeting the right people with the right messages.

Be specific if you can. Name names. If there’s a person writing regularly about your industry or business sector in the media, or online – they’d be a great person for you to connect with. Or how about joining a group organising meetings for local businesses to share their problems, successes, or concerns where you could offer advice, and learn from others’ experiences. Or why not identify a business nearby with a similar target audience, but a different offering – you could connect and share information. You could recommend each other and improve your customer service.

Now you’ve identified the people that matter, tomorrow we’ll concentrate on how you can raise your profile with them by thinking about where and how they like to socialise.

See you then!

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