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Two Effective Methods for Online Sellers to Target Their Ideal Customers

Discover effective methods for online sellers to pinpoint and reach their ideal customers for optimal sales success
5 mins read

Are you an online seller or a start-up eCommerce looking to boost your sales through digital marketing efforts? If so, you may already know that the first step for any online seller to take is to identify and target their ideal customers before you start pouring in marketing ideas for your small businesses in Malaysia.

That’s right! One of the key factors in achieving success as an online seller is to understand that your products and services are not meant for everyone but for a specific group of target customers who will find value in what you have to offer.

Why is it essential to understand your target audience?

Identify target audience
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Precisely understanding your target audience allows you to give reassurance in the decisions that your marketing direction is confirmed on the right path with the properly collected data. This data includes knowing your customers’ purchasing behaviours, trends, and more so that you can personalise your marketing and communication strategies to have a competitive advantage over other brands. 

So, how exactly can you conduct proper market research on your existing and potential customers to find out all about their needs, desires, and pain points so that you can identify their underlying motivations and goals in buying a specific product or service? Well, the answer to that question lies in:

  1. The oh-so-famous Buyer Persona 
  2. The hidden gem!: Job-to-be-done framework

What is the buyer persona framework?

Identify target customers with buyer persona
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To have a little recap, a buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on real data collected from your existing and potential customers. Try to think of buyer persona as a painting that vividly represents a picture of your ideal customer through:

  • Target audience demographic
  • Their purchasing goals and challenges
  • Their pain points
  • What they value in the products and services
  • Their preferences
  • Their buying behaviour

The process of developing buyer personas typically involves conducting research on your existing customers through:

  • Product and services surveys
  • Interviews
  • Market data analysis

By having a proper look at every possible angle of the buyer persona, you can speak to your customers in language and content that resonates with them personally about their needs about how your products and services can solve their pain points.

What is the Job-to-be-done framework?

2 Ways 3 Min
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We’re sure many marketers or business owners in Malaysia have already heard about the buyer persona concept, but have you heard of the valuable Job-to-be-done framework waiting to be discovered?

Job-to-be-done (JTBD) is a concept developed by Clayton Christensen, a Harvard Business School professor, that explains a way of thinking about the needs and desires of consumers and how these desires are related to the products and services they’re using.

The core of the JTBD framework proposes that consumers often use a product or service to complete a job they need to accomplish in their lives. These ‘jobs’ can be categorised as functional, emotional, or social in nature.

The process to conduct the Job-to-be-done framework

The JTBD framework can be a useful tool for an online seller to identify and target their ideal customers so that they can meet their consumers’ needs more effectively. 

Thus, in order to fully utilise the JTBD framework, you should:

  1. Identify the ‘Job’ and understand what your customers are trying to accomplish, along with the obstacles and challenges they face in achieving this goal.
  2. Define the outcome and the end result of what a ‘job completion’ looks like to them.
  3. Determine metrics to measure the desired outcome of completing said ‘job’.
  4. Analyse competitors’ strengths and weaknesses in addressing the same ‘job.’
  5. Develop solutions to meet your customers’ needs better.
  6. Test and adjust your product or service to meet your customers’ needs more effectively.

Why is the Job-to-be-done framework a better framework than the buyer persona?

A Businessman Tries To Balance The Positive And The Negative.
Credit: Freepik

While both the JTBD framework and the buyer persona are useful for online sellers to identify and target their ideal customers, there are three reasons why the JTBD framework is considered better than the buyer persona:

  1. Focus on the outcome: 

JTBD focuses on the goal that the customer is trying to achieve by buying a product or service rather than relying on demographic or psychological information about the customer. This allows companies to understand better why customers ‘employ’ their products or services to complete the ‘job’.

  1. Timelessness: 

Data collected through JTBD are usually more stable over time compared to the buyer persona, which may change due to new trends, technologies, or other factors. Meanwhile, JTBD provides a bigger picture of the customers’ needs, which can help you to develop long-term strategies.

  1. Actionability: 

Rather than relying on assumptions made based on demographic or psychographic data, the JTBD framework allows you to understand what ‘job’ your customers want to get done so that you can better improve your products or services to meet their needs.

How Job-to-be-done can help you optimise your marketing efforts?

At its core, the JTBD is a framework designed to help business owners or marketers to understand why consumers purchase a specific product or service. The basic idea behind this framework is to explain that people don’t really just purchase a product because they want to, it’s more like they ‘hire’ a product to do a particular job that needs to be done.

For example, if you take a look at McDonald’s, everyone’s favourite fast food chain, what do you see? Through the JTBD framework, you can understand the customers at McDonald’s ‘hire’ its product to complete a specific ‘job’, which is to get a quick and convenient meal to satisfy their hunger. 

Thus, by understanding its customers’ underlying needs and desires, McDonald’s might’ve used slogans like ‘Satisfy your hunger within seconds’ to appeal to their ideal customers looking for a fast and convenient meal.

In a nutshell, through the example given, the JTBD framework is a useful tool to help identify the real reasons why your existing customers ‘hire’ your products and services. This then allows online sellers like you to identify and target your ideal customers through marketing strategies that cater to their underlying needs and desires. Once you’ve gotten the JTBD confirmed, you can then write catchy targeted headlines that speak to your audience’s pain points and create valuable content you know your customers are searching for or eager to find out!

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