Growth and expansion plans are something most business owners factor in as part of a long-term survival strategy. This strategy can include adding physical locations and product lines. It can also mean finding more target consumers who will use the company’s product or service in different ways. There may be something about your products you haven’t emphasized in the past that appeals to new audiences.
Using stale messaging to reach the same target audience usually isn’t effective over time. Even if those consumers continue to come back due to loyalty or preference, eventually that audience fades away. You’ll need unique messages and ways of reaching new generations, consumers with different interests, and those living in various locations. Here are three steps you can take to support your expansion strategy.
1. Thoroughly Research and Define Your Audience
When businesses go after new audiences, they’re not just attempting to steal market share from competitors. They’re looking to capture the interest and eventual loyalty of new consumer groups.
Another strategy is to go after the same type of audience in a new geographic area. A company’s existing target audience could be U.S.-based middle-class families with school-aged children, for example. An expansion strategy might involve targeting an audience with the same characteristics in Europe.
Thorough research can reveal where your ideal audience lives and represents a sizable market share. If the data shows international markets have potential, you can grow your staff and physical locations. With this type of strategy, you’ll want to support your international team with a global payroll solution and local leadership. Reaching international audiences is often easier when you can tap into the insights of locals. How you handle cultural and social nuances can make or break your ability to communicate effectively with an international audience.
Even if you’re keeping your operations at home but want to target new consumer segments, you’ll need to do research. It’s critical to define who your audience is and how these consumers are different from those you’re currently reaching. Look at the current products and services in the industry or marketplace. Are they missing the needs of a crucial demographic? Is there a consumer group that’s been overlooked due to assumptions about their income levels?
Research can often uncover potential audiences who want a service or product but who are marginalized in some way. When defining your target audience, you want to go beyond listing basic demographics such as age, income, and ethnicity. You want to dig deeper into what makes that audience tick, including buying patterns, lifestyle habits, and subjective purchase motivations.
2. Develop or Augment Your Offering
Businesses sometimes expand by introducing new products and services. Other times they repackage and add on to existing solutions. For example, a leading ice cream brand found its existing product line and packing wasn’t resonating with Millennials. To reach this increasingly influential audience, the company redesigned its packaging and logo. The company also expanded its product line by introducing new flavors. By doing this, the company sent a different message that appealed to this powerful generation.
Once you know who your target audience is, you can position or expand your product accordingly. You’ll want to do this in a way that triggers a need, a desire, or lifestyle preference. Does your product have eco-friendly ingredients you haven’t emphasized before? Is your new target audience interested in environmental sustainability and natural ingredients for health purposes?
In some cases, you may not need to completely reinvent your product or add to it. You could reach your target audience with a slightly new message or packaging that calls out what’s already there. In other scenarios, research can indicate that your audience needs your general product category. However, your specific product line doesn’t meet your target consumers’ needs or preferences.
To keep appealing to your existing consumer base and capture new audiences, you can create separate brands. You can also leverage existing brand equity by introducing new product lines while keeping the current ones.
The packaged foods industry has done this within the past decade due to growing concerns about nutrition and health. Classic soup flavors and product lines still line grocery store shelves. But, you can also buy some of the same flavors with less sodium, fewer calories, or with organic ingredients.
3. Choose the Right Media and Message
To reach your target audience, you need to know what media they consume and why they’ll buy your product. It doesn’t do any good to place TV ads in a rotation if your audience doesn’t watch much television. Even if they watch TV regularly, those ads should target the streaming platforms they subscribe to.
Gathering data from your audience about their media usage is pivotal to delivering the right message at the right time. You can get this information from secondary sources that track media consumption habits among different groups. Some of these reports focus on a wide range of media, including traditional and digital formats. Others examine how various consumer segments use a particular format, such as social media.
You can also survey your target audience. This can be done in house or with the help of a vendor. Some market research firms have databases of consumers that match the profile of your ideal customer. You can also conduct focus groups or individual interviews with members of your target audience. This may help you gather more well-rounded insights into what media your audience gravitates toward.
Focus groups can provide the opportunity to test a variety of messages and creative concepts with new audience members. You can also do this through A/B testing with social media, website, and email content. This works best if you plan on reaching an audience similar to your current one. However, you may need to make adjustments for regional or international differences.
The decision to expand your business came from a need to diversify your audience. Whether your current consumer base is shrinking or the existing market is becoming more competitive, growth means reaching new customers. These consumer segments might represent entirely new sets of demographics, preferences, and interests. On the other hand, your “new” audience may look a lot like your current one. It’s just that they live in a different area of the country or another global region.
Reaching your target audience starts with detailed research and ends with a clear definition of who they are. By knowing the ins and outs of your audience, you can tailor your products to their needs, habits, and preferences. You can learn what messages have emotional or practical appeal and what media formats and vehicles to place them in. Taking these steps will steer you toward meeting your growth and market share goals.
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