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The Importance of Knowing Your Target Audience

Imagine spending thousands of dollars on marketing efforts, including advertising, and not seeing an improvement on sales. You would be pissed right? 

I know I would.

A few months ago, I was referred to a boutique owner who needed help with social media. The boutique owner asked that I meet her in her store, and I was shocked by what I saw when I walked in. After working four years in retail, and being an avid shopper myself, I was blown away by the lack of visual merchandising that was evident in the store. The clothes and accessories seemed to sit on top of each other, and the dress forms were styled in old baroque outfits that my 102 step-grandmother would wear to a gala. 

During the course of our meeting, I asked her who her target customer was. To which she responded, “30 - 60 year old women”. She went on to say that age doesn't matter and that clothing should be about elegance. blank stare This, among other reasons, is why she’s likely hemorrhaging thousands of dollars each month. 

This story is a cautionary tale of why it’s important to know your audience. 

Let’s start with the age range she wants to reach: 30 - 60 year old women. 

That’s three different generations: Gen X, Millennials and Gen Z, which all have their different buying behaviors and influences. When you look at shopping trends, most retailers are online, and there’s an overall decline for in-person shopping. So a storefront isn’t necessarily the best way to reach these customers. 

Now let’s think about the merchandise. 

If this is a store where my 102 step-grandmother would shop for a gala, then this is not the same store where I would shop as a 40 year old woman. Our styles are very different, and she’s not really going to many galas these days anyways. 

There were two pieces of clothing that I saw buried in the back of her store that a 30 something year old woman would like: a black leather jacket and a seer-sucker style, long sleeved button down shirt with ruffles on the sleeves. That was it. She told me that mothers come in and shop for their daughters in her store. 

The window treatments were discombobulated and did not share a visual story about the merchandise. If I wasn’t meeting the owner in the store, there was nothing about the window treatment that would entice me to walk into the store. It’s important for me to add that the store was part retail and part consignment. 

When you know your target audience you will:

  1. understand the products they like and will source correctly  

  2. understand their buying behaviors and make sure that you only use the marketing channels they use

  3. your product will catch and hold the customer’s attention and entice them to purchase. 

  4. generate revenue because you’re reaching the correct customer, using the right marketing channels with the right products. 

If you offer consignment, as the business owner in the example, you will only accept consignment items that your target audience will purchase, so that the products move soon after you accept it. If not, your potential revenue is just sitting. 

Understanding your target audience is one of the most critical things you could do in business. It literally will make or break your business. There’s so much information on the internet today that there’s nothing you can’t find out about your target audience, their behaviors and their buying motivations. 

Long story short, she ended up not hiring me because she’s hemorrhaging so much money that she can’t afford to pay my rate. Again, this is a cautionary tale, because if she was targeting the right people with the right product, then she would be able to properly staff her business and generate a profit.    

If you recently started a business and need help reaching your target audience, then contact  the experts at Dumas83 today!

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