Making Assumptions about Your Market
Very few businesses have a complete picture of their market. Your picture will develop, as you get to know your customers. In the meantime, you will need to make assumptions about your market.
Whilst, you may have accurate data about some aspects of your market, you will have gaps in your perception. You don’t always know where you make assumptions and so the check-list below might help.
Remember, making assumptions is not always a negative! You will never know everything about your market and what is true today may not be true next year. You need to make some assumptions to move forwards. Knowing your assumptions is always an advantage.
Things to Consider
Do you make assumptions about the demography of your market? Perhaps you don’t think it will appeal to people over or under a certain age, for example.
- It is tempting to set your demographics too wide. If your market is age dependent then do not waste energy marketing to other age groups. But for some offers age is not relevant. The important thing is to target what is relevant. Some demographics may be more relevant than others.
- Local markets are everywhere. You may target people living or working in a particular place, perhaps because you are a trader based there. Other offers may be less locality dependent. You may be the sole provider in one area and others may cover other areas. If you offer something unique anywhere, you might consider marketing beyond your locality. Some businesses test in a locality before marketing globally.
- Prospects will like your offer, packages or even you! These are the people likely to come back for more. Don’t underestimate the value of returning customers. Don’t assume if they buy once, they will not buy again.
- You may assume prospects have knowledge when actually they don’t. Perhaps a common example is some prospects may not be aware they have the problem you solve. The success of your business may depend on education of prospects who may be unaware of the problem or living with a problem they do not believe can be solved. See the awareness ladder for details.
- They may know of you but do they really know you? Do they assume you are good at some things when you are not or bad at things you excel at? People make assumptions based on what they think you should know. Don’t assume they know you well enough!
Testing Assumptions about Your Market
Ideally, you need to test assumptions quickly and cheaply. This may be hard for the lone worker. Are there efficient ways of testing assumptions?
- Use this method of collecting testimonials to test your market. If you have contacts in your potential market, ask them for a 20-30 minute interview and get their take on your market.
- Informal 1 to 1 interviews may be an opportunity to test aspects of your market.
- Run a few low-cost workshops to see if you can find prospects. It is notoriously difficult to get people out to workshops. So, if you are successful the chances are you are onto something!
- Simply ask people what they think! You may be too close to your offer to see it clearly. Someone with specialist knowledge of your field may be able to help but anyone might see something you have not noticed.
- Try using social media to test ideas and assumptions.
Ultimately, you must launch and see who bites. Your assumptions can obstruct a successful launch but you can never be 100% certain your offer will work for the people around you.
Also be aware you may find early interest that does not follow through to turn prospects into clients. You may make assumptions that first attract and then repel prospects. What do you assume they want, which might switch them off?
Please let me know if this is helpful and if there are any points I could expand upon.