Optimizing Profits

header photo

Sales success Step 3 - your Target Market Part 2

Our last article on Sales Success Step 2 – your Target Market Part 1 was dry as can be, yet essential to your success. I can’t tell you how many millions of dollars are wasted on advertising in the wrong way to the wrong person. Does this mean the advertising doesn’t work, far from it. Does that mean that advertising is a waste of money, hardly. What it means is that we have to do our homework and be smart with our efforts and our money.


As I wrote in the last article we need to look at who are (or would be) our main customer. We need to look at their age/length they have been in business, sex/focus of their business, location, income/budget, and education/level of business sophistication. Most importantly their needs!


How do we get this information?

There is primary research which basically means asking clients or potential clients questions and reviewing the answers. You can do this by surveys, questionnaires, interviews, and focus groups; by mail, face-to-face, online, a telephone.

There is also secondary research which you get by buying research results or going online and see what is already published. The government and chamber of commerce has a tremendous amount of information for free.

Data is collected by many groups for many purposes. There are two types of data, quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative looks at numbers; who is buying, how often, and how much. Qualitative is more of an exploratory form of research looking at underlying  reasons for why things are bought the way they are bought, people’s opinions, and motivations. 

Scenario 1

A friend of mine came up with the original fruit roll snack. The problem was, how big a portion and what flavours should be packaged for sale. This is how they solved the challenge. 


  1. They prepared a series a various flavours and went to several pre-school and provided the snack to the kids to sample. Based on questions, watching expressions, and seeing which plates emptied the quickest they saw the most popular flavours.
    1. If the children wouldn’t eat the fruit snacks there was no point is creating them to sell.
  2. After they determined the flavor, they went to several other pre-schools with rolls of fruit snacks and saw how much each child ate till they were full and determined that the average size was about 75 grams.
    1. The rationale was when the children were picked up from school they were usually hungry and wanted a snack. You wouldn’t want to package more than a child could eat because it would end up all over the car seat and floor and mom would get upset over having to clean up every time. Likewise if there wasn’t enough in the package, the child would complain for more, causing a different type of problem.
  3. How to market and what to charge? Here they came up with some innovative ideas. They were marketing to the kids, because if it was good, fun, and healthy for the kids, moms would be more inclined to but the product. so what they did was to provide specially made cardboard stands the height of a 6 year old child, so they could see it when they were shopping with mom. Bright, fun coloured packing was used to attract attention. Each store had taste testing session to get the kids excited. The cost was determined by margin but also ease; 10 packaged for a dollar. It helped mommy make it fun and engaging for the children, they would have to count out their treats. A good idea, well researched out and executed will go a long way to success.


Scenario 2

Another couple who are friends of mine came from an event organizing and television background and wanted a change. So they took the suggestion of “find a need and fill it” to a logical conclusion. They knew they wanted to start a business, do something in the community where they lived, and help people. They went to a busy intersection of the village where they lived and asked people. That’s right, people walked by and the stopped them and asked them if there was one or two businesses or services that they would like to see in the village what would they be? 

After doing that for several weeks they saw a pattern. A couple weeks, that’s a lot of time and a lot of money you may think. Well losing your shirt by not doing the proper research would be a greater loss of time and money. The formulated several ideas and then went is search of people that were doing the type of things they saw emerge. It took them across North America, but they had a blast and learned a lot.

In the end they opened up a coffee shop/soup and sandwich bar/ local handmade crafts/art gallery/music drop in place/ and all round feel good meeting space. It took off and is doing well, growing daily, and helping many people out.

If you help enough people get what they want, they will provide you with what you need! Zig Ziglar