Question: How Do I Reach The Right Customers?

Obajimi Adeyemi, Ibadan

Answer: The first step in reaching your customers is to know who and where they are.

Who are your customers? Simply defined, your customer is any person who can benefit from the use of your product or service. Your challenge, as the provider of a product or service, is to identify such person(s), by geographic location, demographic description, psychological inclination or any such characteristics that separate them from the general population.

It is after you understand who your customers are and why they are likely to buy your product or service that you begin to find channels to get your product or service before them.

In doing this, you must remember that different groups of people may want different things. Let’s say you are running a book store. Some of your customers may be interested in business books, some in religious books, others in novels, and so on. By categorising your customers according to their reading interests, you know that each group will want different kinds of books. This segmentation will influence how your business will communicate with each interest group.

In targeting your right customer, you must think about your product or service, and the type of customer who is likely to buy it. You must determine whether your product or service will appeal to a specific age group or gender; whether your customers are house holders or business customers; whether income is important in their decision to buy.

You can also segment your customers according to their social class, lifestyle, personality, interests, etc. At this stage, having broken your market into segments, you will decide where to concentrate your marketing efforts and resources.

You will need to decide whether to focus on one specific segment or more than one. You will balance the viability of targeting several segments of the market (which requires more time and higher cost) and targeting one segment (which may not deliver enough customers to make the business viable).

Now that you have defined your target customers, you should profile and categorise them according to what they need and want from your business. If your target customers are individuals, you will gather information
about their age, gender, income, location and buying habits. If they are businesses, you should know their size, the products or services they buy, their budget cycle and their suppliers.

The resulting information will become your database of identified customers. With this database, you will be able to concentrate on the best methods to communicate with them. For example, if your findings indicate that the best way to reach your identified target customers is through social media channels, you will then direct your communications towards those particular customers.

This act of identifying your customer base and pinpointing the best ways to reach them will greatly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of your marketing and sales initiatives.