By Alex Mathers - Writer & Illustator
“Good marketers see consumers as complete human beings with all the dimensions real people have.” — Jonah Sachs
It’s easy to get carried away creating quality things that are fun to make, without thinking too much about who specifically your work is for.
Anyone and everyone who can get their grubby mitts on it right?
‘My target audience is people!’ you shout.
True, but not quite.
If you want to make money and make an impact from your creations, we need to know with greater clarity what kind of people are going to consume it.
This was not something I did much in the beginning. My work was for anyone and everyone. The client work I’d get was varied, and many of the projects low paid and unsatisfying.
It wasn’t until I started thinking consciously about who would benefit from my artwork and how I could mould my work and my presentation to these kinds of people that I was able to start being proactive about my marketing and get paid much more by companies that truly understood my value.
This starts with understanding the value of what you are making and how it can improve other people’s lives and businesses.
What kind of people will benefit the most from your work, and how can you improve it to help them even more?
Who would be willing and able to pay you well?
Which people do you need to stop focusing on, who waste your time?
How can you adapt your work to attract the buyers you would love to work with?
Whom do you need to talk to in order to offer your creative services, so that you both win?
You might think that working for a specific audience compromises the quality of your work — that you won’t work as passionately for other people and the restraints that this poses.
But this does not need to be the case. You can still create outstanding, expressive work.
Working with a certain type of person or company in mind will channel your focus. This will help your creativity because you are working within limits.
When you do your research, and list everyone who could benefit from what you do, you will come up with a colourful spectrum of different people.
That’s ok, because this is the first step in narrowing down your market, until you reach a specific type of client, who will serve as your focal point.
At any stage in your career, you want to have a clear idea of the ideal client or buyer who would benefit from your main skill.
Yup, this means one, single type of client.
This does not mean that you will lose opportunities for working with other client types. When you know who your ideal buyer is, and take action to attract them and people like them, you will have direction.
With this momentum, you will take more action, and you will get noticed more by all kinds of people.
Like a ship ploughing forward to its destination, it can pull other boats along with it too.
Examples of ideal clients/buyers/end users:
– Recently funded technology startups
– Fashion magazines
– British male teenagers
– Accounting firms in Singapore
– Sports apparel businesses
– Fruit juice businesses in New York
Start somewhere. Your ideal customer can be changed over time.
The more feedback you get from the market, the more questions you ask, and the more action you take, the more you will understand who suits you.
As Harley-Davidson president, John Russell says, “the more you engage with customers, the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing.”
When you know who is a good fit, you will know whom to market to, how to brand yourself, what your ideal products should be, and how to expand to other, similar clients from there.
Knowing your primary audience will give you the direction you need with each step.