Targeting Your Customer
In Issue 37 of the Residential Metal Roofing Executive Report, we began digging into the great subject of Marketing with a discussion of how to create brand identity for your company. By determining the identity of your business, you identify those things that are inseparable from your business – those things that hallmark who you are and what you stand for. In this issue, we will look at how you then determine what customer will be most attracted to your business identity and therefore most likely to do business with you.
Targeting a particular demographic of customer does not mean that you ignore all other prospects. However, what it does mean is that you identify your “most likely” customer and then tailor everything about your company, as well as direct your marketing toward, that particular individual or family. You will get prospects and customers outside of the folks you are targeting BUT you want to make sure that everything you do gives you the best possible chance of getting in front of, and being attractive to, your most likely customer.
Following are some key steps to identifying your target market, and taking steps toward getting in front of, and being appealing to, your targeted prospects. Again, these are the folks who you identify as being most likely to do business with you.
ANALYZE YOUR CURRENT CUSTOMER BASE. If you currently sell residential metal roofing, think about your past customers. What commonalities do they have? What were the characteristics of the customers who became “stark raving fans” for your company? What did the prospects who most quickly and easily turned into customers “look like”? As you identify these types of people, some groups should emerge of the folks most likely to buy your product in the future – based upon who has bought in the past.
CONSIDER WHETHER THEY ARE A CASH BUYER OR SOMETHING ELSE. Is your targeted customer likely to have cash to pay for the roof or will you need to help them find financing options? If they are a finance customer, what financing options can you make available to them or connect them to locally? Also for non-cash buyers, what other sources of funds are available to them? Local grants, rebates, or finance programs? Insurance money for damaged roofs?
LOOK AT YOUR COMPETITORS. If there is another company in your area also effectively targeting residential metal roofing customers, analyze their advertising and marketing. Determine who they are targeting, and then think about how you can best differentiate your company and your customers from them. Generally, I would suggest targeting a slightly different customer but, if you must target the same customer, give serious thought to how you can be more attractive to that target than your competition is.
CONSIDER OUR TYPICAL CUSTOMER. Look back to Issue 36 of the Executive Report. In that issue we talked about demographic information we have collected from homeowners who have purchased our roofs. We also discussed typical characteristics that have bubbled to the surface of other industry studies. Many past customers of specialty metal roofs have fit one or more of the following characteristics:
- Big fish in a small pond
- “Old money” families
- “Legacy” or “estate” homes being passed on to family members
- Have worked with and understand metals, such as engineers or pilots
- Are heavy into research and analysis, such as educators
- Retired or soon to be retired but with an ongoing income source possibly including investments or a pension
- Care passionately about aesthetics
KNOW YOUR UNIQUE SELLING PROPOSITION. Analyze the benefits that customers will receive from buying your product and from working with your company. Highlight those benefits, both in terms of product and service, that you offer that prospects are least likely to find also offered by your competition. Give careful consideration to the problems that your company can best solve, and begin to determine who the prospects are that are most likely to have those problems, as well as to have the resources to pay for a cure. Craft a message that explains why you are most uniquely suited to solving their problems.
PAINT A PICTURE OF YOUR TARGET. What do they look like in terms of age, income, education, and profession? Where do they live? What hobbies do they have? Which media do they pay attention to and trust? How do they relate to other people – introvert, extrovert? How do they like to receive information and be presented to? Define them as best as possible in terms of the things that your company can do in order to reach them and be attractive to them.
EVALUATE YOUR TARGET. Once you feel that you have defined your target market, do some analysis of it. If 7% of those folks will re-roof their home in a given year, how large is the target? What would an 11% market share of that group for metal look like? What if you could capture 5% of that business? Additionally, consider the following questions: How much will it cost to reach that target with your marketing? What will be the buying cycle and process for your target customer? Have you defined what will really turn a targeted prospect into a customer?
DETERMINE YOUR KEY MESSAGES. In your earlier analysis, you should have defined what key benefits you have to offer which will resonate best with your target customer. You also should have determined what media or venues offer you the best opportunity for getting in front of your target customer. As with everything though, it matters not only “what” you say when delivering your message but “how” you say it. For example, if your targeted audience is 55+, you probably won’t connect well with them if your message includes contemporary slang or references to contemporary pop culture. Every word of your message should be carefully crafted to be well received by your target. Your message should also include your Company Identity so that those who see your message will immediately know what makes you different from everyone else.
PLAN, IMPLEMENT, AND TRACK YOUR MARKETING STRATEGY. Marketing Strategy is a subject all its own. It includes such things as: What will be your message? Where will you place it? How frequently will you place it and will there be seasonality to it? What sort of results can you expect? How do you ensure that your selling prices cover your marketing costs? These are all great questions to work through – keeping your Target Market in mind at all times! Once you implement your marketing though, you must track everything very precisely. You need to know the results of your marketing activity which then tell you the cost per job of your marketing activity, or the cost per revenue dollar. Reviewing Issue 2 of the Executive Report, on Lead Generation, will be helpful as you plan your Marketing Strategy. Be sure to ask the product manufacturer you work with for what support they can provide as far as guidance and perhaps even value added services such as advertising creation.
Last year, during the Isaiah Industries annual dealer meeting, we held a Marketing Workshop to help attendees work through much of the above process as it relates to specialty residential metal roofing. If you’re interested in meeting with us personally to go through this analysis, we’d be happy to do that.
As always, feel free to contact me anytime. I would be very pleased to hear from you.
Todd Miller has spent his entire career in the metal building products manufacturing industry. He is president of Isaiah Industries, an organization recognized as one of the world’s leading metal roofing manufacturers. Todd is currently Vice President of the MRA (Metal Roofing Association) and a Past Chair of MCA (Metal Construction Association). Through his website, he strives to raise the bar on standards and practices to provide property owners with the best possible products for successful roofing projects.
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