I saw this and thought of you

Don’t you just love it when you open up a gift, and it’s perfect for you?

Whether for Christmas, birthday or simply because someone says ”I saw this and thought of you, and I knew I just had to get it for you!” It feels really good that somebody’s gone to the trouble of finding something that they knew that you’d love.

You’re perhaps surprised that they paid attention to something you’ve mentioned in passing or you feel humbled that they’ve gone to so much trouble to find the exact match of something you’ve always wanted, or feel touched that they know you so well that they’ve managed to find a gift that you didn’t even know you needed!

Wouldn’t it be great if we could get our customers to feel that way about what we give them?

When you’re choosing gifts for others are you the type of person who spots something earlier in the year and thinks “Oh, that would be perfect for ___”  and buys it there and then, (and probably by now has everything wrapped and ready), or do you tend to leave everything to the last minute?

Whichever category you are in the chances are you have that person in mind when you buy their present in the hope you’ll get some of the emotions described above..

You’ll perhaps imagine their reaction to your gift, is it something that they’ll like, or picture them using it or wearing it depending on what it is. You might also think about what it says about your relationship; is it too extravagant, is it too small, will it offend in anyway, is it sending the wrong message?

This might not be conscious considerations but the chances are some of these will cross our minds whilst making a choice.

The same principles should apply when making decisions about what we offer our customers.

Twice in the last week I’ve been having discussions with clients about their target market and how important it is to be absolutely crystal clear on who their offer is intended for, in exactly the same way as we would determine who we’re buying a gift for.

If we don’t have a particular type of customer in mind it’s nigh on impossible to really meet anyone’s expectations.

It’s too tempting to try to appeal to everyone and end up pleasing no one. It doesn’t mean to say that you won’t have a range of different types of customers, but it does mean you might have different offers, different messages and use different media for each of those target markets. Just as you would give different presents for each of your friends or family.

So let’s look at a couple of examples. 

Let’s say for example you are a visitor attraction.

You might have some activities which are geared towards the family market, whilst having others that are more suited to testosterone filled adrenaline junkies. So the chances are these will be very different and very distinct activities for your two different markets. Therefore initially the way in which you describe those two contrasting activities would be very different, and the messages that you want to convey will also be totally different.

Whereas the family you may want to emphasise safety, doing things together, education or creativity, for the grown-up fun you want to stress the challenge, excitement, competitiveness, thrill, and so on. The chances are that your audience are going to be ‘hanging out’ in totally different places as well, so the medium you use to get your message out to them will be quite different.

The same might apply for a therapist or salon.

This time the treatments you offer might be very similar, but the packages and the way you structure these might be quite different for, let’s say, a pamper party, with the emphasis on fun and indulgence, compared to an in company de-stress day where the focus might be more on employee benefits or reducing absenteeism.

Let’s look at the example of a hotel where this time you might have the same guest, but they may stay in your hotel in very different circumstances.

On the one hand a guess might be booking with you for company business where the emphasis might be an away-day to focus to work on a key project, or to entertain a key client. Compare this to the same guest staying or dining with you for leisure with family and friends, where their expectations and requirements are more likely to be geared towards relaxation are getting away from the pressures of work. So quite, quite different.

So each of these situations, just like choosing a gift, by having a very clear picture of your target market in mind helps you create the right offer, the right message to attract your customer’s attention, and enables you to decide on the right medium to get your message in front of your customer.

And in the same way it’s really hard to choose a gift for somebody that we don’t know really well, it’s really hard to get the right offer and the right message and the right medium if we don’t know our customers.

So be as specific as possible and go into as much detail as possible about each of your customers and have them absolutely forefront of your mind in any of your marketing communications.

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