Competitor analysis

Understanding your audience

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Why Bother?

Understanding the needs of your business come first, but your audience are your customers, your clients, your revenue and ultimately the success of that business. They have their own needs and problems that need solving and they may not care what you have to say unless you're directly solving those needs or helping those problems. Going through a process to profile your ideal customers and clients can show a deep understanding of their situation and can build loyalty and engagement.

Where to start?

The first place to start is to write down your ideal types of client or prospects (the profitable ones are always a good place to start) and get as granular as possible with the roles in those organisations or groups. Imagine you're a supplier working with corporate businesses, you might be communicating with the CEO, the FD, the IT manager, or even a PA / administrator who has been given the task to find or work with a new supplier. Each of those people will have their own requirements and questions, so a one-size-fits-all approach won't work.

You should profile each of these individuals within each industry, sector, market etc, and think about things from their point of view by building a profile of each of them. Again, there are plenty of templates and guides on the Internet but essentially you're trying to ask three important things:

  1. Who is this person, and what is their scenario or situation or reason for connecting with your business, or reading your marketing material.
  2. What specifically are they looking for, what questions do they have, what problems are they trying to fix.
  3. Points one and two will identify what you should be communicating to draw their attention, and once you have them engaged, think about what else you can offer them that they might not have considered, and what added value can you demonstrate and what can you do differently from competitors?

Useful tips:

  • It's vital that you create these profiles with relevant members of your business who know the audience well. Too much guesswork or conjecture and the whole exercise will fail.
  • Conduct some surveys and ask your real clients and customers for some of this information which will help validate your thoughts. As with setting goals and objectives, asking a variety of people might lead to some surprising insights.
  • You can discover a lot about your ideal clients by using social media channels such as LinkedIn by searching for job titles, companies and groups to find out more about these people. This is often called "social prospecting" and again can also yield some valuable information if you can dedicate the time to the research which will pay off in the long run.
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