The following is an excerpt from Module 14, Lesson 02 of Soap. Brand. Launch.; the leading business eCourse for the Soap and Skin Care Maker.
Finding exactly who will purchase your products is a big undertaking. It is easy to get caught up in the details, which is why I like to first take a much broader approach (see below) and then funnel into more specificity.
Among the demographic terms listed below, we’ll take a look at LOCATION in more detail here. Then, we’ll cover some research methods to get you started on your company’s demographic exploration. For information on all the demographic detail in this lesson, enroll in Soap. Brand. Launch.
- Income Level
- Education Level
- Marital or Family Status
Location Demographic subset excerpt from Soap. Brand. Launch.:
Geodemographics, the science of defining population traits by studying the demographics of targeted areas, is an incredible way to deepen the understanding of who a person is and what they want, by taking a closer look at where they live. It is an easy concept to understand; people who live in the same area often have more similar characteristics. There are also similarities in preferences, income levels and backgrounds. Furthermore, a specific neighborhood or town with a certain average income level and population will very likely have people with identical characteristics to a different town that happens to have the same average income level and population, even if they are in an entirely different state. If Town A in Georgia is identified as blue-collar with a median household income of $35,000, Town B in South Carolina with the same blue-collar identity and median household income will have the same characteristics and buying habits as the people in Town A. This is a phenomenal concept when targeting specific places in the country (or world).
Furthermore, geodemographics can be utilized not only by looking at income, but overall lifestyle. Having spent a little bit of time in the Pacific Northwest in cities like Portland and Seattle, I find that Earth-driven consumerism is much stronger than it is where I live in Kansas City, Missouri. There is an established base of people in the Pacific Northwest who strongly support natural products, sustainable packaging and companies with a strong cause-marketing program. If I were to brand a soap and skin care company according to these principles, I know my market potential in these areas would be greater than in Midwestern cities.
If you want to have some fun with geodemographics, visit the free tool, Claritas | MyBestSegments, and use the ZIP Code lookup to find out how a neighborhood is categorized. For example, I can quickly find out the following facts about my former ZIP Code, 64105:
- Population: 4,197
- Median Age: 29.7
- Median Income: $45,600
- Consumer Spend ($/HH): $28,764
Based on my old zip code, which is an up-and-coming downtown neighborhood, we see that the median age of the entire accounted-for population within the ZIP code is just 29.7, which is quite young compared to many neighborhoods. This means that young professionals are living in the area. If I had a soap and skin care company that catered specifically to millennials through quality, media-driven websites and social media campaigns, I could target-market this neighborhood through social media campaigns and local newspaper/magazine advertisements with a much greater chance of garnering customers than I could where my parents live, ZIP code 64086:
- Population: 23,278
- Median Age: 38.2
- Median Income: $83,200
- Consumer Spend ($/HH): $45,942
Even though the population is much higher in this ZIP code, the median age and income suggests an older audience, which might not be in tune with a company driven by youth and technology. Do you see how location (geodemographics) can help you find your niche market?
- Geodemographics help to focus on the consumers you’re trying to target and then tailor messages, promotions, and products specifically to their interests.
- Geodemographics help to find out where current customers and prospects live and locate more people like them, across the country…birds of a feather.
- With geodemographics, you can quickly group similar segments together and target them with similar messaging, ensuring greater efficiency in your marketing campaigns.
Keep in mind that with today’s technology and marketing innovation, you can geo-locate a specific target audience, even if your sole revenue stream is online sales. If you have ever engaged in a sponsored advertisement on Facebook®, for example, you know that you can opt for geo-locating the advertisement into an area that you deem a hotbed for consumer potential. This is true for most all social media platforms, as well as larger advertisement campaigns, such as Google®. Again, the free online geodemographics tool, Claritas | MyBestSegments is an incredible resource for finding nationwide demographic clues that will help you find your specific customers in every state, county, city, town, etc.
Do Your Job! Research!
If you don’t know your customer, then you don’t know your business. And because it’s so hard to hang on to customers you don’t intimately know, you will forever be chasing new ones. When you are constantly chasing new customers, because you don’t have a loyal following, you get stressed out. When you get stressed out, you get burned out. Speaking from experience as a business owner who has been burned out before, it takes a toll on every other aspect of your life. It sucks, but it can be avoided.
When it comes to planning ahead, an empirical understanding of your customer beats gut instinct almost every time. It is time to get facts. It doesn’t matter how good you feel about your company’s future prospects if you don’t take the time to research the market. You might be unknowingly sitting on a gold mine with one of your products, but never know it simply because you didn’t seek the right people to purchase from you.
If you are baffled about how to conduct market research, begin with some very simple online tools to find out who is currently coming to your website or social media platforms, and how to capitalize on the data.
Facebook: Unlike in days past, it is getting more difficult for people to actually see your business page on their feed, but it is still a vital component to your marketing efforts. And, it provides insight.
In your Facebook business page, click on “insights,” and then click on “people.” This alone will provide you with some fantastic age and gender demographics, along with geolocation of your largest following.
Twitter: After logging in, jump to https://ads.twitter.com. Click on “analytics,” and then “followers.” You might find similar information on Twitter as on Facebook, but keep in mind that the majority of Twitter users are male, so the demographics might look different from your Facebook analytics. This alone offers insight into how you can target a specific market simply by the platform a potential customer is using.
Alexa: Once your website gets some traffic, you can usually find a listing for it in Alexa.com. Alexa is an incredibly in-depth way to garner more traffic to your site, but more importantly, find out who exactly is interested. Though this is a pay-for-play, I would advise trying their 7-day free trial just to see what it can offer you. https://www.alexa.com/
Google Analytics: Google analytics is an unbelievable free tool to find out who is visiting your website. No matter the website platform you use for your website (WordPress, Shopify, Wix, etc…), you can easily plug in Google Analytics to start keeping track of almost every demographic subset you can imagine. https://analytics.google.com/analytics/web/
Think with Google: “Think with Google” is an invaluable free resource from Google that allows you to understand the shifts in consumer behaviors, needs, and beliefs to help you unlock fresh insights to drive your business. https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/
American Fact Finder: American Fact Finder is a resource for searching U.S. census data. You can filter by age, income, year, race, and location. http://factfinder.census.gov/faces/nav/jsf/pages/index.xhtml
County Business Platforms: County Business Patterns provides information on the areas of the country with large numbers of various types of businesses. http://www.census.gov/econ/cbp/
Nielson Mybestsegments: Nielsen’s MyBestSegments provides you with tools to understand an area’s demographics and lifestyle habits. You can find which areas would be most receptive to a campaign or launch, and trends in the areas that have shifted. https://segmentationsolutions.nielsen.com/mybestsegments
Surveymonkey: Don’t underestimate the power of a poll. If you can reach a large enough online audience that will honestly abide by your polling questions, you can garner some great insight into your customer base. https://www.surveymonkey.com/
Your Perfect Customer
Don’t take this concept lightly. There is a perfect customer for you. In fact, in many ways you create your perfect customer by first building an incredible brand with an incredible story, mission, vision, values and aesthetic. When all of these are in place, you can immediately see in your mind’s eye the perfect customer. Then you simply find where that customer lives, which will lead to you where likeminded people are living across the country (and world). You will know where they shop, what they eat, how they enjoy their weekends and who they spend time with. All of this data can then be used to cater to their shopping needs. The information available to us is incredible, so use it to reach out to your perfect niche market.
Need the full scope? Enroll in Soap. Brand. Launch. to unearth this entire lesson, which is nestled in the Marketing Module, one of the most vital modules in the course.
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Happy Soaping! -Amanda Aaron