Tip #3: Do Your Research

Hey there,

In the previous lesson, we discussed ways to define your goals using the SMART approach and how to stick to them.

In this lesson, I’m gonna share with you some of the best-on-the-planet research tips to help you define your target audience.

I know… I don’t LOVE research either.

But understanding your target market is a fact of business. Especially if you actually want to succeed 🙂

So before we get into the tactical stuff, let’s go over what the various elements are when defining your target market.

First, a target market is a refined group of people who are most likely to purchase your product or service.

For example, Mario Kart 8 is rated E for everyone, so conceivably, the target market could be anyone. But Nintendo could still tailor their target market to people who are less than 30 years old or families with teenage children. That narrows down the market a bit.

But if you’re selling Resident Evil 7 board games, your target audience definitely isn’t younger than 17. So this target audience might be anywhere from 17-45, and maybe even only males.

But aside from age and gender, demographics for your target audience may include other criteria.

Here are some things to consider:

  • What are some characteristics of the market you are about to enter?
  • Who is your competition? What services do they provide?
  • Who is your ideal customer? Some things you should know about them include:
    • socioeconomic status, marital status, education level
    • their goals and challenges
    • what types of media they enjoy (blogs, podcasts, video, etc)
    • what social networks they use most often
    • phrases and words they use

The more you know about your market and your ideal customer, the more successful you will be at converting window shoppers into willing buyers.

Let’s dig into some of the elements you’ll need to know about your ideal customer.

Socioeconomic Status

Understanding your target market’s socioeconomic status will give you valuable data about their ability to afford your products or services.

Gaming and hobby businesses are considered entertainment. Entertainment businesses usually target people with disposable income.

That means—people with extra cash to blow.

It wouldn’t make sense to focus your gaming business towards people who have little to no extra money in their pockets. They’re probably not in a position to spend as easily as someone with more disposable income.

But I’ll be clear about a particular point: watch out for stereotypes here.

Just because a market doesn’t have a ton of money in savings or has a low annual income doesn’t mean they’re not interested in your products and services. In fact, they may like what you’re selling so much they’ll find a way to purchase it.

So while this data is important, it’s equally important to look at the big picture and understand that people find a way to buy things they want.

Marital Status

This one just makes sense: if you’re married you probably have less time to play video games or engage in your hobby.

Relationships take time 🙂

So if you’re selling video games or game and hobby products, you’re probably gonna target people with a lot of time on their hands. This may include:

  • Children
  • Teens
  • Single individuals

These groups of people are more likely to engage with your products than, say, a 40-year-old married executive.

Education Level

For video games and hobbies, this element isn’t as clear a target point for various reasons.

People who are more educated (college degree or higher) may be less inclined to play tabletop games because (conceivably) they have better-paying jobs that eat up more of their time.

On the flip side, people who have a high school degree or less may be more inclined to purchase videos games or engage with hobbies because (conceivably) they’re less likely to have jobs that demand time outside of a set hourly schedule.

To be clear, these are extremely broad assumptions and generalities. But the benefit to you is that you can focus your marketing budget towards people who are more likely to buy your stuff.

Goals

What are the goals of your target audience?

For gamers and hobbyists, their goals might be to:

  • Be at the top of leaderboards
  • Win a gaming competition
  • Know everything there is to know about World of Warcraft
  • Always be up to date with the latest technology in gaming

These are all worthy goals for a gamer.

So when you’re starting to form your business idea, you’ll want to align your business goals with your target audience’s goals.

When you’re both on the path to the same destination, you’ve got a winning business idea 🙂

Challenges

This is another important factor to consider when defining your business goals.

Your target audience has certain challenges. So if you can overcome those challenges FOR THEM, you’ll be showering in cashola for a minute.

What are some challenges your target audience might face?

Some might include:

  • Finding a community with other gamers who are like-minded
  • Finding the right balance between gaming, life, and work
  • Figuring out which controller is best
  • Trying to decide if virtual reality gaming is worth the money

Since you’re a gamer and a hobbyist, ask yourself:

What problems and challenges do I face when playing video games? Are these problems and challenges common enough to create a nicely-sized target audience?

Types of Media

Your audience undoubtedly likes to consume media through their favorite game’s online announcements. But what about other sources of media? This includes:

  • Movies
  • Podcasts
  • Blogs
  • Videos
  • Magazines
  • Books or e-books
  • Social Media

People consume information in different ways. So your task is to figure out which type of media your audience prefers.

If they like to watch videos, it would be smart to focus all of your initial energy into creating videos for your business. You’ll increase your chances of building an audience (especially at the beginning) if you focus your energy on one specific type of media…and just dominate.

Social Networks

You can bet your audience is on some social network.

There are tons:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Snapchat
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Flickr
  • Reddit

And so on.

You’ll want to spend some time on these sites and just engage with people. You’d be surprised what you can discover about your target audience by just engaging with them at a very personal level.

Some people will start pouring out their frustrations over a particular game or something related to their hobby. This type of information is excellent raw data about the challenges people in your niche are having.

Phrases and Words

Every target audience has a particular way of speaking. So when you’re browsing through various websites and social media sites, you’ll want to take note of how your audience speaks and which words they use to describe their challenges.

Keep a list of words, phrases, and slang terms so you can build a personal library of your audience’s preferred way of speaking.

For example, when talking with a gaming audience, it’s probably safe to say they understand what FNM stands for. If you start referring to every instance of FNM as “Friday Night Magic,” your audience might get the impression that your content is for amateurs or beginners.

Or even worse… that YOU’RE the amateur.

When going through various sites, comb through every comment to scoop up words and phrases that are common and familiar to your target audience.

This stuff will literally be gold for your business. If you can speak the language of your target audience, you’ll increase your likability factor tremendously.

And that can quickly boost your brand loyalty.

Psychographics

Now if you really want to go deep with your target audience, you can get into their minds a bit and figure what their attitudes, beliefs, emotions, and values are.

Attitudes

Your target audience may be snarky or they may be shy and quiet. These personality traits will affect their worldview, and ultimately, your business.

If you can align your company messaging with the attitude of your target audience, you’ll be connecting with them on a deeper level, one they may not even understand themselves.

Gamers and hobbyists are all over the map with different attitudes. That’s why there are so many different genres in gaming. Everyone has a different preference based on different attitudes.

Some gamers are analytical. They like puzzle-based board games that require heavy thinking and problem-solving. They may even dislike 2D games because they’re too simplistic. If your products are not challenging enough, the analytical-type gamer will most likely scoff at your brand.

Other gamers are sentinel-types, who don’t really play trading card games much, but when they do, they opt for games that are fun ways to pass the time. For this particular group, if you try to sneak in a serious challenge, you might just lose them for good.

Beliefs

Believe it or not (pun intended) your target audience’s beliefs affect how they engage with your business.

Some gamers believe that overly-gory games encourage violence. So based on that, they may opt for games (and companies) that are committed to making games that are more toned-down and based on lighthearted fun.

Other people believe that games should have a dramatic storyline. These gamers look for games that have a decent story attached to it and look for dramatic elements to keep them engaged with the characters of the story.

Emotions

Don’t forget: your target audience is still made up of people.

And people have emotions 🙂

Some gamers like the romantic elements of characters in the story and actually want to see two different characters get together in the end.

Others hate all the mushy stuff and just want to play a game that lets them blow stuff up.

And don’t forget that excitement is an emotion too. That’s why people love sport games. In many ways, sport games are just as exciting as the real sport because it’s still highly competitive.

Values

Values get a bit more philosophical, but you need to have some understanding of what your target market considers valuable.

For example, maybe your target audience doesn’t value having a large community of other gamers as much as they do having a better-quality community.

In this case, they would rather be in a small community with only a handful of other gamers that they can truly connect with compared to a large community where no one knows anyone’s name.

The values of your target audience will ultimately direct how you decide to market your business.

Finding your target audience will take some time, but once you’ve honed in on them, you’ll only have to make minor adjustments in the future.

And this data will be a tremendous resource to you as you continue to build everything from products to ads.

By | 2017-08-05T02:00:16-07:00 August 5th, 2017|Categories: All, Marketing|0 Comments

About the Author:

I have a passion for helping others achieve their dreams and delivering a world-class branding experience. One of my biggest drivers in life is to help other people succeed in the areas they are passionate about. For nearly 11 years, I have been extending my love of branding to hundreds of unique brands, including Local Game Stores, all over the world. Now that I’m a Brand & Marketing Manager in CrystalCommerce, it is an excellent opportunity to spread knowledge and education to our members - and to you - so you can succeed and thrive in the Game and Hobby industry. I am proud to be part of a team with a mission to continually provide the tools and innovative solutions to build, connect, and grow strong Game and Hobby businesses. When I'm not gaming, you can find me scouring Asian markets for the best green tea or in the pool working on my swimming skills. That’s my story, what’s yours? I'd love to get to know more about you! Feel free to email me at marketing@crystalcommerce.com.

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