Target group?

How do our customers behave? What makes them use our service? Why do they choose our product at this exact moment in time? How to discover what lures them to our brand? The case study below describes the process of examining the target group – the recipients of our services or products. You should be aware of the target group at every stage of business development. Why? If we forget about the fact that our target group is evolving and modifying during the product development cycle, we may miss out on a good chance for growth. 

2 intensive week-long sprints, workshops, existing data and in-depth research. During an interview with project leaders from the client’s side, we discovered that they came to us with a document resulting from a strategic workshop with their team. Research of the target group, which… was very, very broad from the perspective of our client’s employees. 

People working on, for example, communication, product development and activities related to promoting and raising involvement in the product had, as a team, a strongly differentiated vision of who the product should target. 

However, the situation is not unique. Such things happen in many companies whether they are service providers or sell their products. Often when we ask about the target group of a solution developed by the company, we hear the legendary “Our product is for everyone” and “We don’t want to focus on one target group because the number of users will be lower”.

The paradox, however, is that the wider we look and the more diverse the audience we reach, the more the communication towards the group that really is our real recipient blurs. 

We have discussed this subject a lot with Joanna Ostafin in our collaborative episode, also mentioning this project Project: People Podcast – 50 twarzy wyników badań w projekcie

From the case study below you will learn:

  • why should you narrow down your target group and how to analyze it
  • how to best optimize work in a short time
  • which tools can be used for target group research
Client
technology startup developing an application
Goal
to narrow and validate the target group
Period of cooperation:
2 weeks
Number of stages:
2
Number of people in the project:
2

Why do we need target group research?

As early as in winter at the beginning of 2020, we have been working with an international company from the new technology sector. The goal of the project was to narrow down the target group, which seemed to be very broad for the client at the time, and to understand their needs and behaviors, as well as to build a list of recommendations basing on the interviews with them.

Our experience shows that the syndrome of a wide target group is one of the most frequently occurring among companies – regardless of the industry – whether it is new technologies or traditional business. But just being familiar with the group is not enough, understanding their needs, problems, things that excite them and drive them to buy are vital. You should know your customers’ expectations and the way they want to use your services.

This approach has guided our work, divided into 2 sprints involving 2 people from our team. 

Sprint 1: Kick-off workshop and data analysis

Kick-off workshop

The purpose of the first, weekly sprint was to learn about the history of product and company. Even though the company is relatively small and young, it has experienced a few business twists. The history and analysis gave us a lot of insight into what the WHY behind the development of the product and the customer’s company was. Also, during the kick-off workshop we used: 

  • team canvas, 
  • historical company timeline,
  • definition of business goals.

At the meeting, initial research hypotheses were determined, which later served us to build a research plan. We also decided, according to our recommendations, that we should base on the data and resources the organization has in order to use the company’s potential and start testing hypotheses at the lowest possible cost.


Data analysis – what’s behind the numbers?

A very important aspect for the client was to make decisions based on data. This approach matches the way in which we do business as well. In terms of our desk research and data analysis, it was extremely beneficial for us to gain insight into this tangible aspect of business. As part of our cooperation, we analyzed data from the following tools:

  • website traffic tracing tools, 
  • Google analytical data, 
  • access to a database of users worldwide, 
  • access to a B2B customer database.

Having an insight into the data collection tools, we were able to investigate repetitive patterns and see clearly some of the most active target groups. This was a breakthrough for the project, because until now the company relied more on its own impressions and team observations, which have never been verified and confronted with reality before. 

This allowed us to prepare questions for beta interviews, to build a survey and scenarios for conversations with people who matched the target group picked out on the basis of data. 

 

Sprint 2: User research

The second sprint was entirely devoted to users from one particular target group. We have used several methods for the research – this approach where we have data from several sources gives us the opportunity to more thoroughly verify the research hypotheses based on which the research is conducted. For research on the group of potential users, we used:

  • Twitter,
  • quantitative survey,
  • in-depth interviews.

These interviews helped us confirm the first target group, showed us what the habits, behaviors and motivations of people who may be potential consumers of the product are. Each of the research showed us the decision-making patterns of the group of potential users, their age, origin, as well as professional and life situation.

With these data, we were able to prepare a summary document containing: 

– data analysis,

– research recommendations,

– further recommendations.

We have also prepared further recommendations, which may translate into business aspects that the team need, for instance, for communication, market activities, or building a tool and its functionality. 

Why might even 2 sprints be vital for a project? The million dollar principle.

Imagine that you have a million dollars to invest in your business. If you want to develop a product without researching the needs, behaviors and specifics of your target group, then both the communication and features of the product will be fuzzy, since the product will be addressed to everyone. 

However, if you examine the way users react to the product, how they solve their problem without your business, if you find out what features they value, what they say about your product, you will be a few steps closer to success.One million dollars invested in a tested target group is much more than a million spent on many small-scale activities for many recipients speaking different communication languages. 

A summary of our work in numbers:

2

one-week sprints

240

respondents

35

pages of documentation containing analysis and recommendations

Target group research – tools used in the project 

  • Team Canvas
  • Historical organization timeline
  • Google Analytics
  • Google Forms survey
  • Google Spreadsheets
  • In-depth interviews
  • Twitter Surveys

Project team, i.e. who was responsible for what

Author of the Case Study

Rita Pater Lean Marketing & Communication Strategist
Rita is a communication strategist of brands, places and events. At Project: People she builds marketing strategies and works with organisations, designing their processes and initiatives supporting company culture development. For a few years her field of exploration is focused on leadership in businesses related to the sector of new technologies. Author of #changeisfemale interviews - a series of portraits of change leaders in new technologies and business. Founder of the mentoring group for women in IT (Table Talks inspired by Lean In Circle) and Founding Partner at Leaders Hive - a mentoring club for leaders. She claims that the best investment you can make is an investment in yourself, which is why she travels a lot and also constantly explores topics related to psychology, coaching and psychotherapy.

Other members of the team

Joanna Ostafin Co-founder & Lean UX Strategist
Co-founder of Project: People, co-founder of the Krakow Design Initiative (KID), organizer of DesignWays Conf.

As a Lean UX Strategist, she deals with... disagreeing with her clients - she supports them in verifying ideas for new products, services or businesses. She helps them to move from "innovative idea" to "real product", validating the assumptions based on business and strategic competences, UX, UI, Service Design and Lean.

Sincerely in love with the Lean approach (Lean Startup & Lean UX & Lean UX & Lean UX Research). She believes in workshops and collective building of projects, solving problems and generating ideas.

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