One of the first things you’ll learn as you create your Go-to-Market (GTM) plan is your target audience.
Not only will you understand the demographics of your audience — age, gender, industry — but also more specific pieces of data.
Impactful data that dramatically alters the way you present your service or product to a specific segment.
We’re talking about:
- Pain points
- Relative budget
These pieces of information not only help you understand your audience as a whole but also allow you to break up your audience into segments.
Segmenting your audience is a powerful technique that allows you to thoughtfully and strategically speak to them through personas (more on those later) and understand what segments hold the most value for your business.
While some customer segments may offer monetary value, others may offer value through improving brand awareness and loyalty.
It all depends on what your business prioritizes and the growth goals it has.
During your GTM planning process, you’ll likely identify a segment that is beyond your typical customer or client. The potential of this segment intrigues you, but you aren’t sure whether or not it holds any true value.
So, what can you do and ask yourself to qualify this new segment or pitch this to your supervisor? What are key characteristics that would validate whether or not you should invest time in this segment?
This is a problem that many businesses go through when they build out their GTM plan or by doing market research. It can cause a lot of anxiety within marketing teams, as an investment in the wrong segment could negatively impact the business.
So, what do you need to do to ensure this new segment is the right segment for your business?
Well, you have to figure out if they care about you. Here’s how you can find out:
Talk to Them
“Straight from the horse’s mouth.”
If you want to understand your new audience and if they care about your product or service — or your industry as a whole — the best way to find out is to simply talk to them.
If you’re not sure who to talk to, first try your current and former customers! As long as they fit within your segment, conversations with these individuals will give you invaluable insight into their thought processes.
You’ll know why they said yes and the journey they took to get there. Although everyone’s buyer journey is unique, you’ll be able to understand the common themes that led them to make a purchase.
Additionally, if you maintain a good connection with people who have turned down your product or service, it’s definitely worth reaching out to them as well. This group gives you the perfect picture of why someone may have said no to you, and you’ll know how to address and overcome these objections in the future.
Learning why a potential customer said “no” is arguably just as important as why someone said “yes”.
Ideally, you want to interview at least 10 people within your specific segment, with half of them being purchasers and the other half being objectors.
But let’s say you don’t have access to this group of people.
Or maybe you’re starting your service or product from the ground up and don’t have a customer base to reach out to.
What do you do?
It’s the next best thing you can do to help understand your audience, and it’s a lot easier to execute and distribute.
(However, it shouldn’t replace talking directly to your target market if that is an option for you!)
Surveys are great because you can get a significant amount of information in a shorter amount of time. Plus, a lot of people like surveys because of the ability to stay anonymous and the lack of time it takes to complete them.
Surveys are also easy to distribute, as you can simply post them on your social channels and send an email blast to your email list. Additionally, you can have your friends and peers share the survey link with their network, which can greatly increase your reach.
With this said, you need to make sure you’re asking the right questions, regardless if you’re interviewing someone or relying on surveys. You could get a hold of 20 interviewees and 100 survey responders, but that data won’t mean anything if you aren’t asking the right questions.
What are the right questions?
Well, that’ll depend on what you’re trying to learn about your new segment.
In our FYSO (Figure Your Sh*t Out) Accelerator cohort, we took some time to talk with Brendan Andrade, a Product Development expert, on how you can create customer interview questions that get you the answers you need.
If you’re looking to learn more about customer interview questions we highly recommend giving this a listen and read.
It will be well worth your time.
Research Your Competitors
Want to know if your segment makes sense?
See if your competitors are reaching out to these individuals.
At a glance, this can be pretty difficult to do, as many businesses don’t segment their services based on their audience persona
(Although there are some that do).
With that said, take a moment to look at their marketing collateral.
Watch their videos. Peruse their blogs. Sign-up and read through their emails (on a non-work account of course).
Are they speaking to the pain points of your prospective segment? In what ways are they presenting their solutions as the best?
If done right, blogs, videos, and emails can be a rich source of information for current and prospective clients to find most of the answers they are looking for.
And for some businesses, these pieces of marketing collateral can be the answer to all of their problems.
It’s also a wonderful starting point to do competitor research and understand if your new segment is a viable one.
If they are speaking to your segment, great! You’ve got partial confirmation that this could be a viable segment to pursue.
And if not, great! Now you’re beginning to understand that maybe this segment isn’t right for your business…
…or if your competitors are missing out.
(We still recommend talking to your audience, though.)
When it comes to investing your time and resources in a new audience segment:
Do your research.
You never want to work on assumptions or hunches, especially if your understanding of this prospective segment is so low.
At the end of the day, there always needs to be a business case for this or any type of marketing decision. The last thing you want is to invest time, money, and resources on an audience segment that simply doesn’t have a need for your offering.
Not only is that bad for your business and bottom line, but it’ll also leave a bad impression on your customers.
With time, research, and lots of conversation, you can stumble upon a new audience segment that could positively impact your business and boost your bottom line.
And that can do wonders for your future marketing efforts.