April 14, 2012

Startup Success Step #6

Is your best prospect a left-handed Libra?

Knowing her hat size or his sign of the zodiac seems frivolous, yes? On the other hand, you ought to be able to describe the ideal not-yet-a-customer in your target market bulls-eye by age, income, geography, lifestyle, aspiration, attitude, awareness, spending habits – at the very least, you should be able to speak with them in words they respond to. (Yes, we said “speak with” not “speak to.”)

At this point let me stress that B2B marketers and B2C marketers are in the same boat, though they often fail to acknowledge it. Whether you’re marketing industrial equipemnt or CPG, you face the same basic question: Why will your target buyer choose your brand? Do you have the forklift that’s most efficient, most reliable, longest-lasting, lowest price, best-known-so-I-won’t-get-fired, or easiest to repair? Will she buy your shredded wheat because it has no sugar, no salt, one ingredient, or was what Mommy served? Probe to find the real motivator (please note that is not a plural), and you can start the buyer-brand dialog.

A vital element of your startup’s success is insightful motivational research. We repeat from Stop #2 that proving the existence of a market is your first imperative. You must uncover it, understand the demographic/psychographic profile of those human decision-makers, and be able to visualize conversing with that primary target personality.

There are of course many ways to investigate the market, ranging from commissioning qualitative research (more important at this stage than quantitative), or, as we talked about concept testing in Step #5, use online advertising to develop a better understanding of market demographics and psychographics – actually testing your messaging to the marketplace. See who’ll signal their interest in learning more, or even commit to buy. Voting with one’s wallet is test of sincerity.

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