How to Shift Target Markets in These Uncertain Times

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By Kendra Lee

The foundation of your lead generation strategy is your target market. It defines the personas you are going to target, the key messages and problems you should talk about, and even the activities you should use. The question I’ve been asked a lot recently is “What do I do if my target market has been hit hard by these uncertain times?”

Target Market Lead Generation Strategies

There are 3 different strategies you can use to figure out how to switch your target market because, frankly, that’s probably what you have to do until your target market recovers.

1. Analyze Past Customers

The first thing I recommend is to analyze all the different companies you have sold to in the past 3 years. Look and see:

  • What type of industry they are in
  • What size they are
  • Are there any that are in different target markets that haven’t been hit as hard?

A great example I’ll share is from a client I was speaking with today. In her situation, she had been focused on large enterprises. As you may be aware, enterprise companies have pulled projects in-house or paused them. They are not doing much using other resources right now. As our client analyzed past customers, she noticed she’d worked with some privately held companies that were smaller than the enterprises, but had been equally pleased. In reviewing the solutions they’d purchased, she realized that she was able to charge the same with her privately held company clients, if not more, for similar offerings. In her case, moving from an enterprise market to privately held businesses, for now, is the right answer. She’s switching up her target market. She’s not giving up on the enterprise, just pausing it.

That is one thing you can change. Consider adjusting the size and type of the company you are working with by looking back and seeing what organizations you have sold to in the past. Look for:

  • Companies where you have good testimonials you can use in your lead generation, on your website, and in sales conversations
  • Industries or businesses where you have experience that will help you know how to sell to them, including what their businesses do, the problems they have and how your offerings help them solve those problems

2. Analyze Email Campaign Data

The second thing you can do to identify a new target market is to analyze more recent email data from campaigns you have been sending.

As you analyze the campaign data, look at:

  • Who has been clicking on links to content about problems your solutions solve?
  • Who has been clicking through to information about your solutions?
  • Who has been opening your emails consistently?
  • What types of companies or industries are inquiring about your company in response to emails?
  • What’s the profile of the inbound leads you’re receiving?

Look and see what the marketing data tells you. You may be surprised to find that some new target markets are emerging that you could work with, or that you haven’t thought of or you’ve ignored in the past because you had your other primary target markets. Now is the time to revisit and expand into 1 or 2 of these markets that seem most interested.

3. Brainstorm

The third thing you can do is brainstorm what other types of companies could use your solutions. Maybe you haven’t worked with them in the past, but if you look at your solutions, you realize they could be a very good fit for you. While a new market may feel risky, if your current one is not buying, how great is the risk in actuality? Probably not as significant as if you continue working a market that can’t invest right now.

Ideally, look for those types of organizations where you have some connection:

  • A referral
  • A LinkedIn connection
  • A contact in an ancillary target market to one that you already serve

Look for some similarities you can use as you approach these contacts.

Target Market Next Steps

Now, with your new target market, you have the opportunity to expand your lead generation strategy when you might not have done so pre-pandemic. You can:

  • Define those personas that you should target, but never have
  • Focus on new business problems those personas have that you can address
  • Start your new marketing and lead generation activities

When we return to a more normal business environment, this new target market strategy may become one of your primary focuses alongside your original target markets. Not only will you have survived, but you’ll have expanded your business in these uncertain times!

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