On June 6th, I was speaking on a panel for the CT Business Expo. During the question and answer period, an audience member was kind enough to share her business challenge with us.
She’s in the speed reading business, and she told us that her market was the entire reading population. Her challenge was finding a way to market to this huge group of people.
One of my fellow panelists gave her a few ideas and when he was done I have to admit I anxiously reached for the microphone. I told the woman who shared the question, “I disagree with you!”
She was in shock. Actually everyone was!
I continued to explain why I disagreed with her. It came down to defining her market. Her approach was much too broad. Not everyone who reads wants to learn how to speed read! In fact, some people actually welcome curling up with a book as a way to slow down and relax.
Before she went further marketing her business, I explained, this business owner needed to spend some time understanding what motivates someone to want to learn to speed read. Knowing your customers’ motivations makes it much easier to create and implement an effective marketing strategy that will generate results.
Do you know what motivates your customers and clients to buy?
In business we often get focused on the services or products we provide and not the reason why our clients need those offerings. Marketing is about understanding what we provide to our audience and why our audience wants these things.
For a great example of this concept in action, look at Wal-Mart. Who is Wal-Mart’s market? It’d be easy to say “Everybody!” – after all, the chain is the world’s largest retailer – but you couldn’t be further from the truth. Wal-Mart selects their merchandise, designs their services, and conducts their marketing based upon their understanding of their customers’ motivations.
Despite what you may think, the Wal-Mart customer is not price-driven. They’re highly aware that they have limited financial resources, and so they want to maximize their purchasing power, getting the most for every dollar.
Everyone wants to save money. Not everyone is motivated to get the most value out of their purchasing dollar. Understanding this difference has allowed Wal-Mart to dominate the retail marketplace.
We can all learn from Wal-Mart. Understanding who your customer is and why they want your products and services is job #1 for the business owner.
Almost everyone reads. But not everyone wants to read faster. Identifying the population that does want to read faster, and delving into what motivates that desire, is the first step of creating an effective marketing plan for a speed reading business.
How about you? Do you know, with absolute clarity, what motivates your customers to choose you? If you can’t answer that question with a definitive YES, then you’ve got your work cut out for you. Investing the time in understanding your customers and their motivations will make you a better, more profitable business. So don’t delay!