Treasure Hunting For The Best Customers

Tom Egelhoff  |   Saturday Oct. 1st, 2016

Treasure hunters are an interesting breed. They don’t just hit the woods and start looking under rocks or pick a stream and start panning for gold.

They look for the signs and clues of where treasure is likely to be. They might use history, maps, geology, or topography to help narrow their search areas.

Unfortunately many business owners just take to the woods and start turning over rocks in their efforts to find customers. Can the discipline of the treasure hunter benefit the small business owner? My answer would be yes.

Common Denominators
The first mistake that many small business owners make is thinking all their customers are just like them. This is rarely the case.
They like country music so their customers must like country music so the country music station is where they will advertise. Meanwhile the bulk of their customers might be on the oldies station or talk radio and never hear their ads.

Treasure hunters look for common terrain when hunting for gold. Business owners need to look for commonalities in their customers. They often spend little or no time at all researching who their ideal customer might be.

Without a clearly defined customer, advertising becomes a crapshoot. You spread money all over various types of advertising hoping you get lucky. That would be like a treasure hunter picking several spots and just start digging with fingers crossed. It’s not hard to see how counterproductive that might be.

Make Your Own Map
Pirates of ole would mark their buried treasure on a map. Having this map was a big time saver in the search for the exact spot to dig. Sometimes the map was right and sometimes it wasn’t but at least it gave you guidance that might have resulted in riches.
Business owners need to create their own map of buried customer treasure. If you can identify the ideal customer then where are they most likely to be where you can reach them?

Your map might consist of information such as their age, marital status, education, income, and home ownership. Armed with this knowledge you could easily match up an advertising medium that could reach the bulk of these groups.
The cost to reach these idea customers would be less by concentrating your efforts to reach a smaller target market more often.

Some Final Thoughts
In some cases the product determines the type of customer that might be attracted to it. Skis will sell better in the winter than summer. Guns sell better right before hunting season begins. And, during hunting season, while the men are scouring the countryside for that 8-point buck the women are at home with the credit card. Seems like an advertising opportunity to me.

A college professor of mine once told me, “If you want to catch a tiger; learn the ways of a tiger.” Learn the ways of your customers and the treasure will be yours.  

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