3. Understand your target customer

To be successful in your overseas market, you need to build your business around the customer you are aiming to serve, rather than pushing onto the market the product or service you want to sell.

Define your target customer, and understand how your customer base is broken down in terms of needs, wants and behaviours. You should also familiarise yourself with the culture, language, religion, ethical standards and business/consumer practices of your market of choice.

When thinking about the needs, wants and behaviours of your target customer, ask yourself the following questions:

understand your target customer

To help you better understand your target customer, try breaking them down into the following components: end user and decision-makers.

  • End user: The individual or organisation who will use your product or service.
  • Decision-makers: The individual(s) who decide whether the end user will buy your product or service. The decision making unit is usually made up of the following:
    • Champion: The person who wants the customer to purchase the product; often the end user.
    • Primary economic buyer: The person with the authority to spend money to purchase the product or service. Sometimes this is the end user.
    • Influencers: People who have sway or direct control over the decision of the primary economic buyer.

The end user is an integral part of the decision-making unit, however may or may not be the most important, as the decision to purchase the product or service may reside elsewhere.

It is critical that Australian startups continually talk, observe, and interact with their target customers to obtain information and reconfirm it. Primary market research is fundamental to success.