Every business starts and ends with the people they serve (aka target audience)
Why are you in business? The answer to this questions is, far too often, “to make a lot of money.” That’s actually not why you are in business. One of the first lessons I learned from my mentor was that people are in business because they solve a problem. Most people don’t realize this. Your business starts with the problem that you can solve, and the people with this problem is your audience. So in order to be effective in business and in marketing, being crystal clear about about who your audience is will bring you more success. Over the next few paragraphs, I’m going to give you three reasons why it’s important to know your audience looking through the lens of Feedonomics, a company that I worked with previously.
Reason #1 – You will create better products and services
As mentioned above, your audience has a problem that you’re attempting to solve. By knowing your audience, you’ll be able to create better products and services. For example, Feedonomics was, in the beginning, a SEM agency, called Internet Marketing Dot Net, and we had a secret weapon – we built a data feed platform that allowed us to replace Merchant Advantage in pushing out Google Shopping, Bing Shopping, and other shopping feeds, therefore lowering our cost to deliver a crucial service for eCommerce merchants. So we solved our own problem. But, we not only solved our problem; we were able to make it better. In a few months, it was apparent that there was value beyond just our little agency. Feedonomics split off into its own company and is now serving some of the largest agencies in the world with their platform. Many companies embrace evolution while others do not; those that do not risk failure, loss, and opportunity cost. Feedonomics was able to solve the problem better than anyone else because they knew their audience – us, when we were the agency – better than anyone else in their space, including GoDataFeed, Channeladvisor, Data Feed Watch, and many others.
Reason #2 – Finding customers will be much easier
Because Feedonomics knew their audience they were also able to reach their customers much better. They were solving problems that an agency might have, so they had to go to where agency professionals were in order to identify and communicate with them. Where would that be? There weren’t many places to be honest, but we tried a number of different tactics, such as reddit posting on certain subreddits related to SEM and PPC. The one that worked the best was finding them on LinkedIn. Using LinkedIn, we could find agencies, identify decision makers, and reach out to them. This is what any company must do – if you’re selling water, you must find thirsty people and get them to come your watering hole.
Reason #3: You will create better marketing assets.
I helped create Feedonomics’ first website along with some of their marketing materials, and let me tell you they’ve improved significantly since those first few months. In the early days it was a challenge convincing that they even needed it; agencies thought it was a cool tool, but ultimately not necessary. The first Feedonomics marketing message was, “Shopping Feeds Made Simple: Unlimited SKUs – Unlimited Feeds – As often as you like,” because this is what they thought mattered to their customers. As they continued to develop to understand their audience better, they were able to craft messaging that resonates better with their audience and grow the number of agencies using their product. Now their messaging goes, “The #1 Shopping Feed Platform: Optimized Product Feeds Perform Better.”
In additional to crafting better messaging, their website has improved dramatically with better navigational links and content that actually matters to users. For examples, many agencies don’t even realize that they have a data feed problem, so Feedonomics has spelled out the problem very clearly on their home page. By doing so visitors are able to understand, they have a problem and that there’s a solution that will help them do business better. Had they not crafted a much better message that better resonates with their audience, much have their audience may have continued to think they didn’t even need it.
Getting to know your audience is one of the most overlooked parts of internet marketing. I see a lot of poor product development and wasted digital marketing efforts. That can be prevented if companies would remember their audience and return to the problem they set out to solve. Companies who do this will make better products and services, identify and communicate with their audience, and do better marketing.