Aaron VanderGalien is a Senior Partner at Deksia, he founded Deksia in 2004, and Deksia has been recognized for its work both regionally and nationally.View all articles written by this author
Potential client research provides us with information that is different yet equally valuable to that of current client research. Taking the temperature of people who may want to interact with your brand is helpful for growing your business. But you need to determine some criteria when researching potential clients because, in theory, anyone who isn’t currently using your service could potentially; you need to use your unique selling proposition to decide on which demographics within the various potentials you’ll be targeting.
Let’s say you own an auto garage. You know that your current clients work with us because we specialize in servicing foreign cars. With potentials, we may find they’re interested in an auto garage that not only works on foreign cars, but that specializes in servicing German cars. You have to not only look at what they want in a company and figure out if you’re already that, but also if you need to change a bit to be what they need or if you just have to play up a pre-existing aspect of your service. Once you decide which of the above is most applicable, you can begin determining how to market to that person. So if you service all foreign cars, but 80 percent of the potential population cares about German cars, then it makes sense to play up the German angle.
You want to appeal to the people you already have; but obviously you want to cultivate more customers. Part of the process is taking the things you know your current clients value already, and seeing how that can be applied to potentials. But you need to set your criteria. For example, if we do a Google survey and send it out to prospects, you may choose to focus on people who are between the ages of 40 to 50 with families who also own businesses. From these results, we may find that most of the people who fit our criteria don’t use Facebook, they use Twitter. If you know your current clients also favor Twitter, it can greatly affect your promotional efforts going forward.
It makes sense to start with the stakeholder research (the business owner themselves), because you go from the most known element and work out to the least known, the potential. Once you’ve got solid potential client research for a brand, plus good stakeholder and good current client research, at that point you should be in a good place to start coming up with the brand strategy. These three sources of information are the foundation that allows you to move forward with the competitive audits and pathways, leading to the building of a better brand.