Before you start a business, one of the first things you should identify is "who is going to buy what I'm selling?" I have heard so many times from people that their product or service is so great that it's going to appeal to everyone who's ever been alive or will ever be alive. However, it's practically impossible to expect a new small business to market to everyone in Tucson, much less in Pima County and beyond! Think about the money that you have available to you at your disposal right now for your marketing budget. You probably could not afford to reach everyone in town with that number.
To make the most of your marketing budget, you need to find those people who are most likely to be interested in whatever it is that you are selling. This will also help you find a niche market for yourself so that you are not competing against all the similar businesses in your area.
Here are some individual customer facets that you may want to consider when you build your customer profile. Keep in mind that you do not need to name something for every one of these items, but should think about what's most important for your business model. (Is your company a business to business model? We'll post a new blog about that topic soon and link to it here when it's done.)
- Household Income
- Family Demographics (For example, are they single, married, married with kids, single with kids, multi-generational households, etc.)
- Geographic Location
- Languages Spoken
- Homeowner or Renter
- Home Value
- Lifestyles, Hobbies, or Personal Interests (For example, do they need to have pets, love sports, or love hiking?)
- What else can you think of that's important to your business?
Now that you've identified a target customer, it's time to start your market research. Pima County Public Library offers a fantastic tool for both sizing your market and getting customer contact information in the form of ReferenceUSA. This database is available to our library card holders and anyone in the state of Arizona. Use the U.S. Consumers / Lifestyles section to find your customers. You can get help using this tool by:
- Attending a free class at the Idea+Space. The Idea+Space is located on the 2nd floor of the Joel D. Valdez Main Library.
- Logging in to ReferenceUSA, then clicking on the Learning Center link at the top right to access webinars, videos, or written guides.
- Contacting us by phone or email.
- Coming in to one of our libraries.
Looking for more resources on defining a target customer? Check out these recommended titles: