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How to become "the perfect choice"

Target CustomersWho is your target customer? And why should they choose to spend their money with you, rather than anybody else?

Whether you’re a retailer, manufacturer, service provider or a charity fundraiser, if you can’t give a simple, compelling answer to both of those questions, you’ve got a problem, and you need to read on.

Everyone has their own “value equation”: how they decide what’s worth paying extra for and what isn’t: would you buy Aldi ketchup instead of Heinz to save 50p? Would you pay an extra £70 per head to eat at the Fat Duck instead of the King’s Head? Each person’s equation depends on who they are, what the occasion is and what pressures they’re under at the time. And because those things change over time, their equation changes too.

Take grocery shoppers. At one end they’re migrating to Waitrose; at the other, to Aldi and Lidl. All three retailers have a clear target customer and a very clear reason for being chosen by those customers in the current economic climate. To quote Jim Hightower, “there’s nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos”.

Here’s another example: I recently worked with an organisation who identified six million people as target customers, but who served just 10% of them regularly. Some simple market research showed that five of the six million wanted something very different to what anyone in the sector actually offered, uncovering a huge market opportunity. And that’s far from an isolated example.

Health and social care providers are about to face a similar scale of opportunity. The seismic shift as we move from Local Authorities commissioning services on behalf of individuals, to Personal Health Budgets where those individuals will now choose and purchase their own care packages, means that different people will be making different decisions based on a completely different “value equation”. Providers who can quickly realign their offer to suit a new target customer have an opportunity to grab a huge slice of the market.

So I’ll ask you again: who exactly are your perfect customers, and why are you the perfect choice for them?

Bottom Line:  The more you understand how your customers make decisions, the more you can help them decide to become your customers.

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