Boost Your Business: Know the demographics

How will you market correctly if you do not know to whom you are addressing?

Nothing is worse than the assumption that “anyone” can be your client.  Or, that all marketing will work for every audience.

Secondary to new clients, keeping your current ones satisfied and happy can be hard work too.

This is where demographics come in.  An upper-income mother in her 30’s is going to have completely different expectations than a small business owner in his 50’s.

There are five main areas you need to consider when defining the demographics of your audience (s):

  • Research All the Opportunities for Marketing Your Business
  • Honestly Define All Audience(s) You are Addressing
  • Listen to Your Current Customers Needs
  • Sincerely Ask Your Customers What They Want
  • Know When to Ignore Them

Research All the Opportunities for Marketing Your Business

One of the smartest things a small business owner can do for his or her business is take the time to develop a small business marketing plan that will set them apart from the competition. A marketing plan clearly outlines how you will reach your ideal customers by effectively implementing your marketing strategy.  There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so planning is so important.

Creating a small business marketing strategy is a crucial first step in starting a business.  In truth, understanding small business marketing in one fell swoop is a tall order, and new marketing tactics emerge every day. Depending on your goals, customer base, market niche, branding, and simple preference, a marketing tactic that works for one small business may not work at all for yours. There are thousands of ways you can promote your small business. With the right mix of activities, you can identify and focus on the most effective marketing tactics for your small business.

Honestly Define All Audience(s) You are Addressing

You must seriously think about defining the audience to whom you’re actually marketing. Because you can’t truly achieve goals, like converting more leads into paying customers, if your message simply isn’t resonating with your potential consumers.

One of the ways to conduct this research is simply to reach out to existing customers, friends, or business associates with whom you have a good relationship.  Ask them: what is it about my company you like? Do the services/products I supply alleviate issues for you?  Why would they choose your business over your competitors? How would they describe your brand?

More importantly, gather data on your target audience’s demographics, like their average age, gender, spending capabilities and habits, profession, and geographical location.

Listen to Your Customers

You need to listen to what they say and what they don’t say. Customers may say they want one thing and really mean something else. For example, if you customers are begging for lower prices, you may find out their real priority is value for their money.

Also, listen to your “silent” customers. These are the customers that don’t bother to complain because the service is so bad they’ve just given up and don’t feel like their voice matters. They feel unwanted and when a competitor shows up, they’ll be gone.

Lastly, you need to listen to customers who only reply with “fine.”  These customers are usually either unhappy and just answering monosyllabic or they feel that their response just won’t matter to anyone.

Sincerely Ask Your Customers What They Want

If you aren’t sincere when you ask their opinion, they are going to see right through you. You may be thinking, “What about the customers who aren’t saying anything?” You need to ask them sincere questions that get them thinking about their experiences. Make them feel like you really care, and you should!

Know When to Ignore Them

You may think this goes beyond providing good customer service, but in reality you can’t give them everything and some people you can never make happy. You have to set limits and stick to them. If your vision and company don’t meet the needs of the customer, they will be best suited somewhere else.


When you finally have your plan in place and have done your demographic research, it is time to break down your audience but don't break down your target too far! Remember, you can have more than one niche market. Consider if your marketing message should be different for each niche. If you can reach all niches effectively with the same message, then maybe you have broken down your market too far. Also, if you find there are only 50 people that fit all your criteria, maybe you should reevaluate your target. The trick is to find the perfect balance.

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About Maria Novak Dugan

Maria L. Novak Dugan is president of Marketing Solutions & Business Development, a firm in West Chester, PA, offering creative marketing services and goal implementation for small & medium sized businesses. For more information, contact Maria at 610-405-0633 or or visit She has more than 20 years experience in the Marketing & Sales Industry...13 of those as the sole Sales Representative for a Pennsylvania payroll company growing their client base by over 500 percent. Maria Novak Dugan is a member of the Southern Chester County Chamber of Commerce, Latino Luncheon Group of West Chester, Neighbors in Business of the Glen Mills Area, News4Women, and The Associated Press. She is also the former Managing Director of the Delaware Chapter of eWomenNetwork. Creating, developing, and conducting this division of a national organization strengthened her knowledge of networking, event planning, fundraising, and small-business development.



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