by Paula on May 25, 2011

2 conversations this week struck a chord with me and demonstrate very clearly the value of knowing your market. Companies very often fall into the trap of offering a product or service that they would buy, with little or no attention to who their customer is and what that customer would want.

They may do initial market research, but lessons learnt at the beginning aren’t going to see you through the life of your business. Times change, needs change and people change.

Social Media is a fantastic opportunity to be able to hear this feedback and keep on top of the moods and trends to ensure that you are always delivering what your customer wants.


And so to the 2 conversations. The first one was about phones. I have been looking into the current selection of phones available as I’m counting the days until my current contract ends in early June. I was talking with a friend about the ones I’d narrowed it down to and mentioned that I wasn’t sure which of the favourites to choose as I firstly needed to see what colours they came in. He looked puzzled! The furthest criteria down his list when buying something like a new phone would be colour.

To demonstrate my point I showed my friend my new business card holder (pictured above, isn’t it beautiful?!). It is a functional item, it does a job, I need one. So why not have something attractive while I’m there!


The seond conversation was yesterday in a meeting with a new business contact. The meeting had finished and in chat after he said “I’m not sure of the appeal of Facebook. My wife and her friends are always on it but I don’t know any of my male friends who use it”. Bingo! In one sentence he hit the nail on the head. It’s not for everyone!

If you are being advised that your business MUST be on Facebook without the adviser having any knowledge of what you do, what your business goals are, and who your current and target audience are, then WALK AWAY!

It’s no good putting time and effort into marketing, advertising or conversation in a place where your target audience don’t go. In the same way that I feel sorry for ice cream man on  a cold rainy day in the park, or the hog roast man at a vegetarian festival (!), I see the lack of clarity over Social Media’s reason for being, when businesses are poorly advised.

So the moral of these two stories is KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE. If you’re promoting your new phone to girls and guys then it’s your job to find out what are the criteria under which each gender buy. Don’t assume it’s just like you. And if you are selecting Social Networks and putting in huge effort and your valuable time, then make sure it’s in the right places for the right reasons, and only then will you start to see the reward for your efforts.


Kevin Leighton May 25, 2011 at 8:23 pm

This really is a good point and it does bring us directly to the point that it is so important for somebody selling a service to find out ‘what the customer wants’ before he / she either produces their range of goods or tries to tempt you with something within that range.

As a photographer it’s an essential part of the job to remember to ask the client what they want AND expect from a job or else they could end up being sorely disappointed.

As a manufacturer of mass produced goods they must do the market research before they produce the range else they could end up with a lot of stock left on the shelf.

I have put a link below to a poster up we often see on the wall in the IT world, and I think it sums up the whole discussion in a nutshell.


paula May 26, 2011 at 9:01 am

Hi Kevin

Thanks for your comments. It’s certainly valuable in your role as a photographer to be able to listen and understand the client’s expectations. I think it’s a really important part of making the customer happy with the outcome. I know from my recent session with you that favourites from a client perspective are not always the best from a photographic point of view, and with all these things it’s the coming together, listening and hearing that make for a good client/supplier relationship.

I like that poster too – always makes me smile and highlights the importance of good internal communications as well as client and supplier. Lucky then that Social Media offers such great opportunities for bringing all of these parties together!

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