Advertising on demand – part 2 – Targeting private customers
Target customers: individuals.
In case your product targets individuals, you will have to change your approach from a B2B (business to business) to a H2H (human to human). Got you there, didn’t I? Thought I would say B2C (business to consumer).
Well, there is nothing wrong with that either, however, what we see these days more and more of is an increasing group of companies interested in their customers´ experiences and feelings above everything else. How would their customers wish/imagine the product to look like on the inside? How would they want it packaged on the outside? Does using the product come in handy to them? How? Why is the product worth their attention? See? It is all about the customer. Hence it is of absolute necessity to KNOW this customer.
While some might suggest turning to a partner who can conduct market research in your place and provide you with accurate answers to all the questions above, others will argue this advance for being expensive. The broadness of a term like “expensive” can be estimable indeed, but not when it comes to small companies or start-ups for whom any extra cost except for those of absolute necessity can mirror troubles.
So, if budgets are tight and professional market research isn’t for you, try the never failing, cheap (if done right) and productive way of learning who your customer is based on the guide below:
- Gender of user (sometimes). I wouldn’t regard taking into account the gender of your potential users important in an incipient stage of product design unless your product will be oriented toward a specific gender, or should suffer modifications in its attributes depending on the genders it is intended for.For example, there is a difference between building a fashion app for your end users (situation in which you will need to build the app in connection to those more common tastes among each gender) and designing a security app that links your door lock to your phone (situation in which features of the product will develop independently of the gender of your users).
- Age of user. Incipient stages in the design of your product should have this one figured out. Whether you fashion a product meant for everyone irrespective of age, or just for customers within a particular age group, you and your team will have to detect and keep that in mind. For example, a product for 10-year-olds will include some features which a product for 70-year-olds will not and vice versa. Along the same line, a product looking to reach both 10- and 70-year-olds should develop along other features. Get it wrong and you will end up with additional difficulties in assigning the product to a market and subsequently advertising it there. If you consider the least challenging to define the age groups of your potential customers, turn your eyes to the merchandise already at reach, simply said similar products like the one you intend to design, or products within the same industry/sector. Ask yourself who uses them and why. What is it that they like about them and how would they change that which they don’t like just as much? If answers to such questions don’t pop up immediately, turn to articles or statistics which could help you on your mission.
- Hobbies of user. Don’t forget to employ this piece of information form the earliest phases of your product design. Researching further into the hobbies of your target customers will give you important hints about their behavior. These hints can steer you the right way. In no time you might come up with an engaging and perfectly tailored product. Of course, no one says copying the already existing while renouncing to your own ideas and visions could ever be a successful combination, but reintegration and originality surely could do the trick. Therefore, reintegrate what you know/discover into your product and dress these observations into a mantle of your originality.Is marketing and commercializing the product miles away from designing it? Not at all! Though there are separate teams engaged in each of the two stages, the line of thought should somehow go on. When choosing the most feasible channel for presenting your product to the world remember to ask yourself once again:
How old your potential customer is?
Is your product aimed toward one gender or all?
And, the more general,
What behavioristic characteristics does your potential customer have?
Or, the more particular,
What does your customer enjoy doing?
Also, remember to examine:
Where you could find your customer? Statistical data is of utmost importance in solving this equation and if you wonder where to start from, just type the expression “demographics of social media” or other comparable constructions in a search engine. The results obtained would look something like in Table 1 below.
Actual data for 2015: source: PewResearchCenter
Are you curious about how the elements discussed would join forces?
For the sake of exemplification, let´s imagine you are hard at work with a new app which allows users access to their pets at home while they are away. First thing´s first: who could your user be? Statistical data returns the following findings.
Out of which families with children
Looking at the second column in Table 2 above, it becomes obvious that the age groups you should concentrate on are those outlined in yellow: specifically, households between the age of 25 and 34, 35 and 44 as well as 45 and 54. Why? Because they return the highest percentages among pet owners: hence 63 %, 60 % and 75 %.
Something further you learn (this time from the third column in Table 2) is that an important part of these pet owners are families with children: hence 25 % of the 63 % in age group 25 to 34, 55 % of the 60 % in age group 35 to 44, and 65 % of the 75 % in age group 45 to 54. An interesting result that brings you an equally interesting idea.
What if you could integrate animated videos, colorful themes and backgrounds to the app to make it the more delightful for the very young public you have just come upon? Yes, I know such a turn might have arisen as a surprise, but why ignore this just unearthed part of your clientele when you could transform it into an asset instead.
Parents could end up thankful for their children taking on much more responsibility than they otherwise would and children might end up absolutely loving your app!
Stick however to your initial plan and do not overdo it: eventually you are going to design an app for pet owners and not one for children. Getting too deep into the details indirectly connected to your final product might cause you headaches in terms everything from your administration, time management to finances.
Once the app is out there, start making friends with market analysis tools. You will have to watch your customers move, understand who they are, which aspects of your app they engage into and which they would rather leave aside. A simple, straightforward solution, not at all burdensome when it comes to your budget, is Google Analytics.
As you open your dashboard in Google Analytics, a picture of your online visitors becomes perceptible. Irrespective of whether you sell or supply your product for free, you have a more digitalized or more palpable product, offer solutions to general or precise issues, this tool will be a good starting point to appreciating who you are dealing with. How?
Let´s say you take the decision to take on the market with a beta version of your app and implement just a limited number of those characteristics earlier discussed. You do not feel prepared to take the risk and devote more of your time to garnishing the product further, so you will have to see how the public receives this simpler version. At the end of the first week you turn to Google Analytics to examine the traffic on the product´s homepage.
The indicator you consider relevant on this occasion is Audience as it shows you:
- The number of visitors you have had during a specific time interval, both new and returning (under the News vs Returning subgroup).
- Their engagement in your product by traveling from one page to another or starting multiple sessions on the website (this can be observed under the Frequency & Recency subgroup as well as in the Engagement subgroup).
- Whether any of these visitors returned after their first visit and if they did how close to their first visit such an event occurred (e.g. within a day, two days, or more). This can be studied under the Cohort Analysis subgroup.
- The age, location, gender and interests your visitors were affiliated to. A subgroup of particular importance to you as it captures that element you so much wanted to have an insight upon (hobbies of your potential users) is Affinity Categories.
- The devices they access your product´s page from. This can be investigated under the Technology and Mobile subgroups.
You are very much aware of the divergence that can exist between visitors and users. A visitor of the homepage will or will not be a future user of the app, but visitors still remain the first evolutionary stage to users, thus it is the least helpful to keep an eye on both classes whenever you are given the chance.
How can the story evolve from here on?
Well, you might find out your visitors were indeed spread among younger individuals as well as elder ones. Now you know for a fact the animated colorful version could work. Moreover, it seems a notable share of your visitors came from the US, hence you conclude such a concept could be highly popular there. Remember this finding as you conduct your advertising campaign.
Don’t know which social media channel your advertising campaign might reach its highest potential on? No worries! Under the All Traffic subgroup Google Analytics scans the paths that led visitors to your product’s homepage. Whether they came directly or by following links posted on your Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest profiles, it´s all there. Combine this piece of information with the one presented in Table 1 and you might run into strong similarities that give you the answers you needed.
Don’t forget (again)! There are no guarantees to triumph, but coincidences can last so long by being nothing but coincidences.