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A Client Research Mistake That Cost a Small Business $10,000

A Client Research Mistake That Cost a Small Business $10,000 Did you ever attend a summer business dinner party overdressed? I did. Everyone was wearing shorts, and I wore a business suit. It wasn't because I couldn't fit into last summer's shorts, either, no matter what my husband tells you. I was overdressed, because my marketing skills were horrible.

I may have worn the wrong clothing to the party, but I pulled one of the critical marketing truths of all time out of the embarrassing experience. Now, don't get me wrong. I was totally focused on the dinner party. I even bought a brand new suit for the party. One problem was, the rest of the invitees who knew our party host better than me, knew what to wear. I discovered quickly, that playing volleyball in a business skirt just doesn't work. And, I didn't get the opportunity to close the deals that I had hoped for.

I violated a critical marketing commandment: Thou shall not avoid researching their target audience. Fortunately for me, I learned from that experience to not only research my target audience, but to speak their language. I would ask: Who's point of view is most important to my business? Which customer group can easily afford me, and can easily be reached? Do I care about clients under the age of 20? Are they Detroit basketball fans? Outdoor hikers? You can define the target audience by behavior, demographics, topical interests, or whatever is relevant to your business goal. This information will help you build high trust relationships with your clients.

This is an absolutely critical point. As a Six-Sigma Green Belt trained professional and certified cultural facilitator, I use my system to research an audience. As in other marketing efforts, the more precisely you can define your ideal client, the more effective your marketing will be. So, ask yourself these questions:

- Do your clients prefer nutrition, breads, condiments, beverages, in-store ambience, take-out service, or environmental impact surrounding the food you sell?

- With a new appliance, as an example, do your clients look at recycling issues, service experience, cleaning tips, or energy efficiency?

- What language does your target audience speak? (**Super Important** The Japanese are the most active social networking audience on the Internet right now. If you're a global company doing business in France, Germany, Japan, etc. where the Internet is significant and English is not, you need to search in the native culture and language.)

- What is the age, gender, socio-economic, ethnicity and nationality culture of your target audience?

- Are your clients more likely to watch a video, listen to audio, or read your materials?

Not sure on how to define your target audience, or how to research them? I can tell you that having the RIGHT team using the RIGHT skills to teach you how to conduct the RIGHT research and observation is crucial to the success of your business. And, it saves you money in the long run.

About the Author:

Kim Schott, your Global Client Communication Mentor, is the author of the Keys to Client Communication System™, the step-by-step, paint by numbers client communication program help self-employed service professionals to attract more clients in less time. To receive your weekly how-to articles on consistently attracting more local and global clients in less time, visit www.SchottCulturalConsulting.com

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