Finding Your Customers in Strategic Marketing
In order to create a strategic marketing alliance, you first need to determine who your customers are. No one’s business is needed by 100% of the population, so you need to figure out the people that need what you have to offer. If you’ve never thought about your business in these terms, then you need to move from a broad, general approach, where you view everyone as your customer; to something more specific, where only a certain number of people want what you are offering. Here’s how you can accomplish this.
One strategy for reaching your customer base, is to make a list of customers who own businesses that are compatible to your own, or who belong to organizations whose members would have an interest in what you are offering. For example, if you sell kitty litter, you would not look to reach dog owners. Rather, your customers might include cat owners, as well as those who own businesses which cater to cat owners. Also, cat lover organizations would also be an ideal group of people to whom you can market your product.
Building relationships within your own customer database—reaching potential customers through existing customers—is an effective strategy that produces solid results. While it should not be your only strategy, do not sleep on the potential of utilizing the list of people that know that you can deliver on what you have promised.
As was hinted at in the prior strategy, there are other ways to create relationships. Attempting to build them outside of your customer base is a possibility, although it will prove to be more difficult to do so. There is a good chance these individuals do not know you, and do not know what you are capable of producing, or even if you will deliver on what you say you will deliver. Using letters of reference can possibly help you reach these potential customers, as well as being able to cite examples of some of the working business relationships you have with other businesses. If you are able to overcome the challenge of marketing to those who do not know you, and convert them into customers, the potential is tremendous; you can expand your business in ways and into markets that were not open to you previously.
The alliances you create with businesses or organizations with similarities to your own are your means of creating a solid, viable, trustworthy, and lasting business that can attract customers for years to come. Employing some of these strategies to make that happen are worth the time and effort it will take to put them in place.