Hey CEO, You are NOT your target audience
You’re an [Insert your profession here]. You’ve been in the game for a few years and somewhere along the way you had an idea. It’s an [Insert product/service description here] that seamlessly solves a pain point people in your profession tend to have. You know if you start your own company and make this idea a reality it’ll blow up. How do you know? Because you’d love to use it yourself!
So you quit your job and start your entrepreneurial journey.
A lot of things about your life are going to change once you take this route, including one you might not realize – you may still be the same person you were before you started, with the same skills and capabilities in your now ex-profession, but…
You are no longer your target audience so DO NOT base the product or it’s marketing strategy on what YOU would want.
Topics covered in this post:
3 reason why you are NOT your target audience:
1. You’ve changed (in case you haven’t noticed by now…)
Once you have an idea for a new product or service you inevitably immerse yourself in researching it thoroughly, developing it, refining the initial idea, perfecting it. This process is important if you want to build a sound business, but you need to be aware of how much knowledge you gain during this time, knowledge you didn’t have before, at least not to the same extent, and that you might mistakenly attribute to your target audience (a part of whom you likely still see yourself as).
2. Do you know what influences your purchase decisions?
Most people think they know why they buy the things they buy but Keep in mind that most people (70%) also think they’re above average drivers so it’s best not to trust people’s self-assessment…
In fact, most people are very easily influenced to buy anything, you just have to find the right trigger (usually an emotional one by the way).
To the point – even if you think that you know what it takes to sell your product to the target audience you once belonged to, you probably don’t. If you’re perfectly honest with yourself, and after you’ve assessed the last purchase decision you’ve made, I hope you come to this conclusion as well and leave audience targeting and marketing strategy to professionals.
3. You made the product for group X, but maybe group Y is a more lucrative target audience
Finally comes the most interesting and exciting part of building a business from the ground up – you never know in advance which audience your product would resonate with. It might be who you initially thought, but it might be someone completely different. Now that you’re a business person you can’t get hung-up on anything, you have to think about your bottom line and if there happens to be a more lucrative direction to be taken with your product – a better target audience than the one you initially thought of, be flexible enough to pivot as soon as possible.
It’s generally a good idea to go into business for yourself in a field you understand, creating a products that answers a need you have first-hand experience with, but don’t be so closed minded in thinking that you know exactly what your audience wants.
Even if you based your customer “persona” on yourself, the moment you became an entrepreneur you are no longer in that group, that persona can and should evolve beyond you, just as you evolved beyond that initial profession into the business owner you are today.