Contrary to popular belief, marketing is not an exact science. Millions of dollars have been wasted by many on a project or product that just didn’t sell. Many of us have learned that the “ready, aim, fire” approach is just as bad as “ready, aim, aim.” We can’t afford to rush a product to market and miss the mark, nor can we get into analysis paralysis by over-thinking our strategy.
As an amateur trap shooter, I’ve learned it’s best to focus on the target and not gunsights. When you focus on the sights, the target becomes blurry. If you focus on the target, your sight blurs but the brain compensates and directs your muscles in line with what you see. It’s something like marketing, but let me explain.
Target marketing is an educated approach to aligning employees, budget and timing with a specific group of customers. The purpose is to create an accurate and efficient sight plane that will direct your efforts and bring you closer to a bull’s-eye. While it may sound simple, it can be quite challenging in execution.
Your goal is to identify boat and RV tenants and gather as much information about them to make educated business decisions. The more you know, the better you can reach out and communicate with them using this knowledge.
What do your ideal customers look like? Are they young or old, rich or poor, with or without kids, renters or homeowners, working or retired? How can they benefit from your services? If you have an existing client base, ask yourself how people within that group can benefit from boat and RV storage. If you’re targeting a completely new audience, speculate on what needs exist based on the benefits you offer. For the best impact, investigate boat/RV-storage competitors in your area and try to differentiate your services and customer benefits.
Focus on Benefits
Two of the toughest marketing fundamentals are understanding and articulating benefits. Establishing an intimate understanding about the needs of your target market is critical. How will your customer benefit or gain from using your products or services? Meeting this need is one of the most convincing points for sales to be made. Make a list of every attribute and amenity you offer, along with benefits of each, answering each of these questions:
- Why is this important for your customer?
- What do they gain by having this product or service?
- What intangible benefits might customers realize, and is it possible to quantify these benefits?
- What is your customer really buying?
People purchase products and services to save money, time, effort and resources; to increase income and investments; to reduce expenses, taxes, liabilities and trouble; to improve productivity, abilities, confidence, appearance and peace of mind; or for future personal relationships.
The target-market process allows us to break down these groups of people so we can better understand how to reach out to them. One way to do this is to create a target-market profile. Here is a sample profile:
- Concerned about security and customer service
- Emotional buyer—generally female
- Married, aged 35 to 65 with at least one child
- Multiple-home owners
- Owns a $100,000-plus, high-performance boat or RV, and other vehicles, jet skis, etc.
- Lives within the ZIP codes, i.e., starting with 91 and 92
- Values time and considers it the single-most limited resource
- Excited about new facility with high-tech security
- Consistent Web users, preferring the Internet over magazines and newspapers for information
- Likes amenities such as wash bays and showers
The more detail you know about your “ideal” customers, the better you can inform them of your products and services, and how they can purchase them through you. Target marketing allows you to reach, create awareness in, and ultimately influence that group of people most likely to select your products and services as a solution to needs.
Once you’ve completed your entire profile—and only then—can you “ready, aim, fire” and hit your target audience. Happy shooting!
Terri Heil is the business development manager for Lake Havasu RV & Boat Storage in Lake Havasu, Ariz. For more information, call 877.764.1961; visit www.lakehavasustorage.com.