When you’re selling something, whether it’s a stock of physical products, the materials, tools and expertise to install a new kitchen, a bank balance or a West End Show, you need to make sure you know how to appeal to your customers.

If you don’t know how to make what you have look as attractive as possible to the people who can be persuaded to buy it, then your business is going to falter. It’s not about lying, or misleading people, it’s about presenting what you’re offering in the most attractive possible light, making sure the people you think will be interested in it find out about the most interesting thing about it.

It has to start with understanding just who your customers are: if you don’t know who you’re selling to, then you’re blind, unable to see who’s right in front of you. You’ll likely want to work with a market research agency here. They can do the hard work of surveying customers and interpreting the results, while you focus on running your business.

A Deep Understanding

It’s worth putting the time into understanding the results of your surveys. If you only take a glance at the surface level of results, you’re going to undermine your ability to make good decisions in the future.

For example, it’s worth learning about audience segmentation and developing an understanding of the different groups that make up your market. If you don’t look more deeply into this you’ll only understand the biggest group of customers you have, cutting off your understanding of smaller but still significant groups.

Segmenting your audience into different groups lets you understand their specific needs and prioritise different strategies for appealing to them.

Putting Data into Practice

Once you’ve understood who your audience are, you’ll need to build a strategy to appeal to the biggest groups in that market. You’ll have learned what they value, and so emphasising that in ads is the key to capturing their affection for your brand.

If you can make it clear that your brand embodies something they value highly then shopping with you becomes, for them, not merely a choice about value for money or functionality but an expression of their identity.

As an example of this principle in action, look to Apple or Waitrose, two very different brands that have learned how to identify their audience and make buying their products a vital part of their personality.

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