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Understanding your target audience

Today I would like to introduce the concept of “a target audience”

I deal with this comprehensively in Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround and it takes a view that the successful bowling clubs of the future will look quite a bit different to the ones we are familiar with today.

The essence of this is that not all of your club’s revenue will come from bowlers and that you will need to set your sights on a much wider range of “customers” within your local community if your club is to thrive.

This is why I have repeatedly used the terms Member, Customer and User; to try to differentiate between the traditional bowling club member and the future mix of customers a club (the word “customer” of course emphasising the need for clubs to think like businesses) will require to focus on if it is to attract and sustain sufficient foot-fall to thrive in the future.

Of course, people won’t be conveniently pigeon holed and there will be a lot of crossover and cross pollination between groups, where, for example, a local society that uses the clubhouse for meetings might be introduced to bowling or the interests of other user groups just because of location, timing and chance introductions and associations. This of course should be one of your main aims in your efforts to expand the use and spread the word about your club.

Your perceptions of what is expected of you by your customers are made based on the knowledge gained through whatever means you decide to use to collect feedback from them.

However, your chosen methods might not always be reliable and could lead to inappropriate handling of problems or needs that arise.

For any product, service or resource to become a success and sustain itself there is a definite advantage to understanding your target audience and their needs.

What’s needed?

The importance of understanding this process is to effectively eliminate any wastage of effort and resources on dealing with incorrect perceptions. Understanding the difference between the actual needs of your target audience and your preconceived ideas about their needs will help you to redefine or tweak what you offer them.

Sometimes, however, such information can be rather difficult to process as the customers themselves may not entirely know what they specifically need or want. This can be looked upon as an advantage on the part of the seller (your club) as it creates the opportunity for you to promote the product or service in a way that is attractive to the customer.

Also when the customer’s needs are clearly understood, you can then create a clear plan for fulfilling that need through your facilities. Your information pack, advertising and any other promotional work can then be driven by a clear understanding of the needs and wants of your target audience, which might well be made up of many different user groups

Continuously adapting to the customer’s interests will allow for the success rates to be better in ensuring the loyalty factor. This in itself can contribute further in creating the customer’s faith in the club; as it demonstrates your level of commitment to creating a long term relationship with them. This level of commitment can help overcome pricing objections, ensuring that you can always sell on quality and not price alone.

So, now that you are armed with the knowledge of what your target audience needs and desires, how will you fulfill this? We will look at that tomorrow.

This article is an extract from my forthcoming eBook, titled: Bowling Club Membership Retention and Growth, which will be available here from 14th November 2011 onwards.  This builds upon the concepts of the “customer” or club “user” as discussed in Bowling Club Survival and Turnaround.

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