The 1 Trick Most Businesses Fail On When Researching Their Target Market

Thinking about your target audience, you need to first consider if there is a need for what you do. This will determine, not only your price but the place you have in the industry. Yet there is so much more to customer research than a lot of businesses admit to doing. In fact, it is believed that for every customer to obtain, you could be handing another 5 over to your nearest competitor simply because you haven’t done your customer homework thoroughly.


The key that separates your business from the biggest competitor is this: You MUST fully understand who your target market is, not the demographic of your ideal customers but their language, how they think, how they feel, their desires and wants, what their struggles are and their values.

Without a clearly defined specific understanding of your target audience, you will not be able to implement firm marketing strategies, objectives of your business or sales trajectory.


Clever target audience homework

You would have already acknowledged the opportunity of your business venture in the current market, if you had done your homework. The cleverest marketers will see opportunities and needs to a customer before they have understood there is a need themselves. Apple is an outstanding example of this. They foresaw a desire in the customer in terms of technology before the customer even realised they had one. All Apple had to do then was to create the product and present it to the world with the accompanying pitch.

Any successful business will have identified a clear gap in the market and the consistent necessity for their product or service. There’s no point creating a product that the consumer only wants for five minutes, on one single day in a year, if it’s your one and only product.

So, the first question you need to ask yourself (and it’s surprising how many businesses don’t do this) who is your ideal customer is, inside and out?


Where is the money being spent?

Any healthy business attitude seeks out competition automatically. Know who your competitors are in your industry and monitor their behaviour and that of their customers carefully.

Almost all businesses can be improved in one way or another. Therefore, take it upon yourself to find out the trick they’re missing and offer that to your customer base. – Michelle Hatcher

Many businesses believe that if they understand what gender, cultural background, demographic, age, social class and income their target market is, then that’s all they need to know. But clever customer research goes much deeper than that and it’s here, where the money truly is.

So, ask yourself about your competitor – what is bringing their customers to them and not to you? Who are your customers and what are the difference between yours and theirs? How much are the customers spending with you and your competitor?

Understand the differences clearly and you will be on your way to understanding consumer behaviour and how to win more custom.


‘Get’ your customer

Any good business, whether they are retail, a service provider, for customers or other businesses, who have done their homework on their target market will understand each customer inside out – how they feel, what their goals in life are, their values, what’s important to them, who they want to be, what they dream about, what they worry about, read and talk about to their friends. You must know as much as possible about their emotional pains and struggles and provide a solution for them.



Take for instance, Nike.

On the surface, they are just another big name in sportswear. You might argue that their target audience are people who like to keep fit, play sports and enjoy being healthy. Yet if this is all the customer research Nike ever did, they wouldn’t not be the multi-billion-pound retail outlet there are today.

Nike understands that their customers like to feel like world class athletes. They understand that the struggle of their target audience, their pains, what stands in their way from being brilliant at sports and keeping fit, who they admire, who they would like to be like and so on. They ‘get’ the desire, the hunger, if you like, of their target market. They understand the dreams their ideal customer has in being the best version of themselves as they possibly can.


Mirror marketing

What is very clever is that Nike’s brand and understanding of their market is that if you see someone wearing Nike gear, they are likely to be the type of person who we have described above. This is what I call mirror marketing. The customer becomes the marketing advocate reinforcing the brand through being a customer. One literally reflects the other, thus creating a mirror effect in psychological advertising for new custom (new customer thinks ‘I want to be like them…’) whilst making the wearer of the gear feel important and the best version of themselves.


Blanket marketing

Blanketing marketing will only ever get you so far if you want to build a successful marketing plan. This is when we simply market ‘at’ everyone in the hope that someone ‘bites’; the marketing bait. Even giants such as supermarket chains (and we all need food, don’t we?) Will have studied their target audience carefully, even though we all need food to survive so there is a definite desire for supermarkets! Notice how household products, clothes and non-consumable products in Sainsburys are very different to those in Asda. That’s because both companies understand their different target audience.


Customer research that is flexible keeps you in business

There are some things about your business that should never change – your branding is one of these aspects. The vision, mission and WHY factor of your business that makes up the company brand should remain clear and consistent. Your products and services, you will always update to match the demands of the customer, but what about your target market research? This should be reviewed frequently and monitored just as carefully just as regularly as your marketing and sales analytic reports.

Never assume because you know your market, you never have to review it ever again. The world and its inhabitants change almost daily, and your target market last year might not be the same this year. Always keep on top of your customer research. That way, your products and services will always stay fresh and you will stay on top of your game.


Michelle Hatcher is an award winning digital marketing and leadership consultant for 15 years with credits that include Surrey 2012 Team and the London Olympics. She is a member of the Association of Integrative Psychology in Seattle and lives in Wiltshire with her family and three cats.



About Us

Award Winning Marketing and Leadership Coach


Editor of the first ever digital only vintage fashion magazine, Michelle Hatcher was never shy of taking the bull by the horns and striking out into a predominately male orientated world. Reshaping the publishing industry, her determination set her on a path of being the ultimate marketing agent.

Travelling up and down the country, clocking up 1000 miles most weekends, she bravely became the voice for small businesses in the vintage industry across the UK.


In Business

She has gained with distinction 6 Diplomas in Business over the last 6 years including Advanced Marketing and PR and Business Management and Accountancy.


Awarded membership of the Association of Integrated Psychology 2016

Award membership of the Institute of Leadership and Management 2011



If leading the digital industry wasn’t enough, she found time to run the highly successful TVG Magazine weekly – the newsletter in which big events from rockabilly raves, vintage festivals and glamorous fashion shows were covered by a team of budding journalists waiting to hit the big time.

michelle hatcher media


The pioneering newsletter, without fail, ran for 5 years solid, never missing a week and clocking up in the first six months of publishing, a shocking 60,000 readers a week.

In her personal life, she remarkably took on the challenge of campaigner for a number of personal projects and charities close to her heart, the most important of all of these was Autism since her own son was diagnosed in 2011.

Taking her professional qualifications in these field, she became the U.K’s leading CBT therapist in treating Autism, chronic illnesses and depression; all three she has known, first-hand!

She also travelled to the U.S where she became one of the very few British NLP Practitioners to be trained directly under Dr Matt James at the Association of Integrative Psychology.

Being the mother of an autistic child encouraged her to fuse both British and American studies in therapy for the condition and adapted them to give the world her unique perspective on 21st Century psychology.

Michelle sits on the members board for the Maudsley And South London NHS Trust and is a campaigner for mental health awareness in the workplace.



Private Clients and Marketing Coach

2017 saw an explosion for Michelle Hatcher Media.

Taking on some of the big names in industry and commerce, she excelled in her Marketing Consultancy, now enjoying working with private clients across the UK. You can find out more about the company’s current portfolio here by clicking on Partners and Clients at the main menu.



A certified Life and Business Management Coaching, again, one of very few in the country, she has also studied and mastered for her own interest, Shamanistic Theories and Past Life Regression.

None of her professional goals have stopped her penning a large array of self-help books on everything from Asperger’s Syndrome to Autism, Communication Skills and Psychology titled ‘Cause and Effect.’

Her #1 Best Selling Amazon creation ‘HOW TO TURN YOUR CHILD’S AUTISM AROUND AND SAVE MONEY’ rocketed up the the asperger's guide to living herecharts pushing some of the leading names of Wellbeing and Self Help off the top slot in 2015.

She has written e-books and publicly spoken on national radio about her life with M.E and the strategies she used to go back to being fitter than she ever was.

A loyal and trusted marketing and PR consultant, she has worked with businesses as far away as Australia and the Far East, pushing cultural boundries and helping to support people from challenged backgrounds to build profitable businesses. From private to public sector, not job has been too scary or too challenging.

how to get your child up to speed on communication skillsIn 2018, she has joined the Schools and Educational Programme EdFirst to work with Heads of Academies and leaders of comprehensive schools in the South West of the UK to improve mindest in both students and faculty.


If you would like to get in touch personally with Michelle on her work, public speaking, Business Management and books, then please her directly on



7 Reasons Why You Need To Plan Your Career Path Right Now

We plan for most things in life.

We decide what we want to study at college or university when we’re kids. As adults, we are drawn to the things and people who allow us to feel we’re growing and expanding our knowledge. We think about the books we want to read, music we want to buy, how we want to look.

We plan almost everything in our lives from what we fancy for dinner tonight to where we want to eventually live, yet it is surprising how many of us don’t think about the one vital piece of that journey – how we’re going to get from A to B in our careers.


Modern psychologists and self-help gurus often advise us with an irritating saying that goes ‘don’t worry about how you’re going to get there, just focus on where it is you want to be.’ That’s all very well and good, but if you don’t have some idea as to HOW you’re going to get somewhere then how will you know you have arrived at where you want to be?

This saying is still a great piece of infinite wisdom. BUT, not for every aspect of your life.


There is, really only one place where you desperately need to have a plan or you will fail and that’s in your career progression.

If I think back to when I first went out to work, I was convinced that all I wanted to do was be a journalist.

Since I left school without sitting my A levels because I needed to get out to work fast, getting to Fleet Street seemed further away that most.

Had I made a constructive plan and focused on a clear goal in my head at the time I turned 17, I would have become the inspirational journalist I wanted to be in half the time.

However, I didn’t, and took an immediate right turn into the Emergency Services in 1991 instead where I sat for the next ten years.


The conclusion of this story is that I didn’t get to be a journalist until I was well into my 30’s. Taking a trip around the houses took longer than it should have done had I planned my chosen career. It cost me more money than I had and wasted many precious years I can’t get back.

Would I have done it differently? Heck, yes!


Why people don’t plan their careers

The problem for most of us, is that we fall into jobs rather than careers and usually to benefit someone else rather than for ourselves.

I joined the Ambulance Service not for me but to impress my family. Many of them had carved out long careers in the Ambulance Service, Armed Forces and Police so I wanted to find appreciation and acknowledgement for my apparent chosen path.

We tend to slip into things where we feel we are meant to be rather than where we actually want to be. Of course, I speak for many people. Some of us are lucky to focus early on, on what we want. But for the rest of us, we struggle often finding it difficult to fit in somewhere because we are not being true to ourselves. If we were honest, many of us would be somewhere else, doing something else.

Life can sometimes dictate to us to walk a certain path only because we feel we have to conform to what everyone else is doing. The upshot of this process is that we end up unhappy with almost everything else in our lives simply because we conform to the wrong type of life, like wearing an ill-fitting suit. We feel uncomfortable and restless.


The 7 key benefits of planning your career path

There are a wide number of reasons why making a plan in your career is something you can’t afford not to do:

  • Saves you years in drifting about doing jobs you would prefer not to do for half the money.
  • Can double if not triple your salary once you get there.
  • Can save you tens of thousands of pounds because you haven’t wasted any time.
  • You can enjoy your life earlier.
  • Being true to yourself and who you are.
  • You’re likely to be healthier and live longer.
  • Possibly even retire decades before everyone else.


Actually, the list of benefits is endless.


So, what are the first steps you need to take?

The first thing, I have to point out before we dive straight in, is that it really is never too late to make a career plan. I didn’t start my own one until I was in my 40’s, so even if you are older (or younger) it really makes no difference.

Below is my guide to finding the right career path. It is made up of things you need to remember as well as important steps. Follow them through and stick to where ever it is you want to go. Get clear to your image in your mind and hang on to it, no matter what.


1. First of all, get absolutely clear as to where you want to go.

Often people think, ‘well, I’d like to do X but not exactly sure what.’ Then they take a vague route in what they think is the right direction only to not get to where they thought they wanted to be. Get clear and as specific as you can on where you want to be. If you can’t then think of other aspects of your life and work out how much (realistically) you need to make then find a career goal that matches that need.


2. Don’t think about the very next step, concentrate on the one after it

This is an odd one. One of the things that makes Ronnie O’Sullivan a world-class snooker player is that he is always thinking about the next shot after the one he is about to take. Always think that one step ahead of where your next move will be. That way, you will automatically know where you need to be right now to make that vital next move after it.


3. Remember: worthy goals never happen over night. Stick it out, no matter how long it takes

It took me about 15 years before I got anywhere where I had wanted to be all those years before. Yet, I didn’t give up.

All the time I was serving with Surrey Ambulance Service, I took courses, went to Night School and wrote endlessly for newspapers, theatres and magazines, often being turned down, yet I didn’t give up.

It was only in 2003 that a Canadian editor gave me a chance to be a UK reporter for his paper. I stayed there for 7 years, not giving up the day job and working well into each night writing news and current affairs articles for a Canadian audience. I wasn’t getting paid a great deal – not enough to give up the day job but I was STILL getting paid – making me a professional journalist. I went on to be an Editor in Chief in 2013.


4. Any worthy goal will take longer to achieve than a less worthy one

My whole journey in journalism from beginning to end took me just over 20 years. But I got there. It might seem like a heck of a long time, but this is what I mean about worthy goals. The universe has a perverse way of testing you. It will say ‘ok, so you want X, now let’s see how much you really want it,’ and it will test you beyond measure.

Stick it out, prove your doubters wrong and you WILL get there.


9 Vital Brand Questions Most Businesses Don’t Bother Answering

michelle hatcher media -brandingOften, businesses tend to skip branding when it comes to their marketing strategy and usually push it to the back of the agenda because, well, they think that branding is for Cocoa Cola and no one else.

Yet, branding is an essential part of your business. Without it, expect no one to ever buy from you (unless they are related to you.)

Most businesses get caught up in the ‘sell sell sell’ mindset from the word go and perhaps don’t truly feel confident in their own identity or their own reasons for starting the business in the first place.

Whichever it is, building a brand your business is vital and, in this article, I shall tell you why…


The Nike tick

Who do you think about when you think about a strong brand?  Pepsi? Nike? Superdry, perhaps? Funny enough, as soon as someone says, for example, Cadbury’s you might not necessarily think about the rich taste of their chocolate, but I can guarantee you that the first visual you have is that deep colour purple and possibly a warm feeling inside.

That’s a strong brand. It gives you an immediate image in your mind only at the mere suggestion of the company name.

That’s why your logo or marketing visual design needs to be the creative expression of your brand (like the Nike tick.) It needs to be a consistent presence everywhere across all your marketing materials and especially social media platforms. A strong brand will only be successful when the consumer sees in their mind a clear representation coupled with an emotional connection.


A clear branding message that says it all

Branding is all about the emotional connection you have with your target market. If someone walks passed your shop and doesn’t feel the need to step in to see what you’re selling, then, you’ve left money on the table for someone else.

When a company doesn’t have a clear brand message, it is very difficult to expect new custom to buy into the business. As someone very famous once said, we buy with emotion and reason with logic later.

If your business doesn’t have a strong brand, then there is no emotional pull between you and your customer. For example, people don’t buy pizza because they want pizza, they buy it because they are hungry, and they want to satisfy that hunger, usually as fast as possible.


Why Domino’s strap line spoke to a nation

That’s why when Tom Monaghan and his brother brought what later became Dominic’s Pizza, they rocketed the sales of the failing business because they got strong on branding through the marketing message ‘delivered in 30 mins or it’s free.’ By using this message, they identified the need of the consumer – fast, hot pizza or they get it for nothing.

The fact that the pizza wasn’t the best tasting pizza in the world was kind of neither here nor there. It was that the branding and its message rang the emotional doorbell with the consumer.


In short, it is vital that your brand statement needs to do 2 things:

Address the pain of the consumer (what they suffer from) and how you are going to cure it for them (end result.)


9 essential branding questions every business needs to ask

Great branding needs to answer the following (either consciously or subconsciously) to the consumer. If they don’t they will go elsewhere to buy:

  1. Who you are
  2. Why you are doing what you’re doing
  3. What you stand for and why
  4. What your vision is and your mission
  5. What is your mission statement (think Dominio’s)?
  6. What your values are
  7. What your brand personality is
  8. What the urgency behind your business/what is it you want to change in your chosen industry.
  9. What your unique value proposition is.


Communicating the value

When you consider any communication, you want to make to your target audience, you need to be demonstrating the value of the product/service you are offering. Value is the most important thing you need to get across. It is this that will separate you from your competitors and essentially, win over your target market. Something that in more recent time, Poundworld have struggled with.


Final thoughts – forget the product

Remember, whatever it is you are selling/offering to the user, it is essential you take the actual products and services and push them to the back. The WHY always comes first. Communicate that fact effectively and you can sell them anything. The consumer doesn’t care about what it is exactly you are selling, they care about how you are going to make them FEEL after you’ve sold it to them.