Do you really know your customers? When it comes to marketing, we’ve been taught that you must know your target market. To do that, you have to get into their heads. There are various tools that are supposed to give you that insight. You do the research and you talk to people, but this really only gives you a peak into who they are. If your demographic isn’t the same age as you, it is hard to really know what they’re about. You may not identify enough to be able to help them.
Be Your Own Customer
Why not be your own customer? This could give you great insight into their needs. Having your own experience with the product can allow you to understand how others will benefit from it. Figure that out, and you can easily market it with confidence. When you understand your customer base and create a product for them, it’s likely to succeed. You can be the first customer so you don’t have to pay for those marketing costs. This process can help you create a truly solid product for your target audience.
Test it Out in Your Own Life
Many great inventions and products were born from at-home creations. A woman named Julie Haught created “No Flap Ear Wrap.” It was never her intention to start a business with her product. It was a solution to her own problem. She was looking to protect her 65-pound dog from getting out of the bandages and e-collar he had to wear after an ear surgery. She took Archer, her dog, to the vet so he could have the stitches removed. At the time, he was wearing the product Julie had created and the vet took notice. The vet said she should put the product on the market. That’s exactly what she did.
This is a fantastic example of being your own first customer. She created a product that was absolutely necessary for a real-life situation. This happens to many dog owners and she had created a solution that was good enough to protect her beloved pet. She maintained her sanity without having to fight with a dog while trying to ensure that he healed properly.
Create the Solution to Your Problems
If you yourself are using the product, you may run into problems with it. You can then fix the problems and make them better. All this can be done before you even start marketing it. This will allow you to make something that really is special on the market. Your friends are a reflection of who you are, so it’s likely that if you’re interested in what you’re creating, they will be too. So you might want to give them access to your products so they can test it too. They can give you feedback, and you can make adjustments to the product.
Formulate a Friends Group
Alternatively, you have a market immediately available to you. You already have people you know will love your product. Your friends can be your focus group and also your first customers. Friendship groups can give you extremely valuable data. They are participants you can have in your home. You choose the people you know who fit into your target market. A group of friends are a great way to get greater insights on your product. You get feedback and the greater potential for a wider customer base. You can rely on friends to care about the outcome of your business so they want to be honest. They will pay attention to what it is you’re trying to do and see if there’s any way they can help you and your product to be better. It takes a lot of effort, money, and time to find random people who will test your product.
Don’t Forget Where You Came From
Once your company is going, don’t forget where you came from. You started this idea with a purpose. Remain true to that purpose, despite how much you grow. Of course, you can expand your customer base, but make sure that you remember the original people who loved your product. Airbnb started out as a couple renting out air mattresses to make money on their unused living space. Sure, the company has grown, but it retains the same idea. In many ways then, the same clientele are interested. They just get their own bed and room. In some cases, a whole house. Regardless, it’s still about having a place to sleep for the night.
Learn from a Server
A good way to explain what you’re going through is to look to the server. When a server goes out for a meal or a drink, they are very likely to be friendly to their server and tip well. They understand the challenges of the job, and know how it feels to get a good tip. As the server grows in their career and moves on to other positions, they may lose that insight. They don’t tip as much because they’re forgotten how it feels to be in the server’s shoes. They still know it’s important, but they’re not being empathetic or as conscious about it. They may even forget to tip.
As you grow, remember how it felt to be your own first customer. Remain in touch with that part of yourself, and you will retain the same quality and consistency of your original product. Things are going to come up, and change is inevitable. Keeping your hand on the pulse of your product will help you make decisions that keep everything consistent.
Being your own customer is going to save you lot of money. You can stand behind your product, because it also helped you in many ways. Confidence is key as you go forward. Knowing that your product makes a difference keeps you passionate about marketing it. Keep going and create more products or services that are in alignment with the same needs. Leverage your successes, rinse and repeat.