The single biggest reason for sales decline and failure

Business FACT – If you don’t know and understand your audience, you’re missing out on revenue and profit opportunities.

Do you really know your target audience? Do you know what motivates them to buy your product or service? If you cannot answer these questions with absolute clarity then you are definitely not differentiating your product or service with a compelling and preemptive sales message.

Are you PRODUCT or CUSTOMER-driven? The biggest challenge facing business owners and managers today is poor sales or slow adoption of their products or services. Continuous poor sales performance will eventually destroy most businesses.

Most owners and managers ask – “Why are we doing so poorly?” The real fault is that they simply don’t understand the characteristics of the target audience and therefore cannot suitably satisfy their wants and needs.

Companies tend to fall into two distinct categories: product-driven and consumer-driven. Product-driven firms make a product or create a service and put it out for sale, waiting (and sometimes hoping and praying) for customers to buy.

Consumer-driven and focused businesses figure out exactly what their existing and potential customers want, and develop their product or service to satisfy those needs. This approach grows sales fast.

A good example of this is the RIM Corporation, producer of the Blackberry. They clearly illustrate how it’s not only essential to know your existing customers, but keep a pulse on prospective customer trends because rapid market shifts continually occur. Ten years ago Blackberry was the phone of choice until the advent of Apple’s iPhone. Apple identified and then combined consumer desire for mobile access to communications and a computer, and packaged it as a very desirable high-tech product. The result was an instant new market leader. They totally disrupted Blackberry’s position in the market.

In today’s fast-moving market it is very dangerous being a product-driven business. You are vulnerable if you don’t know enough or make assumptions about your existing and potential customers. The result of this is that most of your marketing will never connect with your customers. This means that a lot of your advertising is probably wasteful.

Critically, remember that your target audience is not a standing army; it’s more like a marching parade, constantly changing. You should frequently be re-evaluating your target audience and updating the profile of who they are, what they need and what inspires them. This will help you to develop well-targeted products, services and marketing efforts that will connect with your existing and prospective customers. The result is guaranteed sales and profit growth.

John Lloyd is a business growth strategist, award-winning marketer, speaker, trainer, columnist and author of the book Smart Thinking for Crazy Times.     

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