Thursday, July 9, 2020

DECA Crash Course Week 6: Defining the Target Market

Hello everyone! Welcome back (and welcome if you're new!). Today's topic from my crash course is how to define your target market.
Week 6: Defining the Target Market
First, what is a target market? The target market is your audience that has buying power and wants/needs your product.

The most important thing to remember when defining your market is to be specific

"But my product is perfect for anyone!" you squeal. 

No, little broccoli. Not everyone will want to buy your product, and unfortunately, some people have to learn this the hard way in the real world. The better you can narrow down your audience, the better chance you have at developing marketing strategies tailored toward them, and the better your product can sell.

I like to use the below 4 factors when defining my target market. These were discussed back in my class freshman year, and I still remember them because they covered so many crucial subfactors! Here they are:
  • Demographics
    • Age
    • Gender
    • Marital Status
    • Income level
    • Occupation
    • Education
    • Etc. 
  • Geographics
    • Where they live
  • Psychographics
    • Lifestyle factors: attitudes, beliefs, interests
  • Behavioral Characteristics
    • How customers react to your products: how often they use them, etc.
*Here's a quick link to the difference between psychographics and behavioral characteristics if you're confused. I know I was back in freshman year :). 

"But," you grumble, "my product is still applicable to everyone!"

First, realize that it sounds a bit narcissistic to the judge if you think everyone will be interested in what you have to offer. Heck, even simple items like breakfast products have a well-defined target market: Lucky Charms, Frosted Flakes, and Cocoa Puffs target children's parents while protein bar companies target older, health-conscious individuals.

What you sound like when you claim that your product appeals to everyone (Source).

Final tip: just because you advertise to a certain group does not mean that they are your target market. "What?" you sputter, but I bet you actually already know this! Think about it: if a brand places advertisements on children's TV channels, they're probably really targeting children's parents.  Because compared to their kids, parents likely won't feel as strong of a connection to Barbie's Dreamhouse, for example (well, that's what they all say, anyway ;)).

the office barbie GIF
Everyone in secret (Source).

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions (doesn't have to be related to today's post), please ask them either in the comments below or on this form here. This series is for all of you, so get the most out of it! And, I'd really appreciate a quick follow if you're enjoying the content (the button's on the bottom for the mobile version and in the sidebar on the PC version). See you next week :).

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Social Media In the BLM Movement

Hello everyone. Today I wanted to discuss why social media is crucial in the BLM movement and encourage you to get involved. This post is not meant to fuel insecurities; if you're taking action offline (donating, watching videos, writing emails, etc.), then you're already doing what everyone is trying to promote in the first place!

First, an incident I observed.

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A social media account was consistently posting their usual feed with no mention of the BLM movement, and someone angrily commented that they were going to block the account because it should be used to spread awareness instead. 

Though I don't agree with the tone of the message (and I'll explain why at the end of this post), I do agree that refusing to acknowledge the movement is a real issue. Right now, the movement needs supporters to fight for change for our future. We have to stand in solidarity, but if people consistently posting can't even take time out of their lives to write a post on social media about the BLM movement, what guarantee do we have that they will text, donate, or take action in other forms?  Additionally, celebrities have huge followings and the power to influence others. If they don't use their platforms constructively in the times when it's most needed, then what is the platform for? As Desmond Tutu said, "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have taken the side of the oppressor".
---

But what, exactly, is needed and expected from others (and hopefully, you!) on social media? Right now, we need posts about education and action. Why we specifically use hashtags like Black Lives Matter and not All Lives Matter, the history of discrimination against Black people, victims of racial violence, common microaggressions, ways to donate, who to call/text, petitions to sign, Black business owners/authors/creators/experiences/etc. to support, services offered in exchange for donations to motivate people to take a stand, and so much more. Don't feel the need to post just because everyone else is, but if there's an initiative you support, share it!

And don't be afraid of making mistakes. It's just statistical probability that the more you post, the more mistakes you will make, but at least you are trying to make a difference. Learn from what you did wrong (definitely do your research before sharing resources with others), fix it, and continue to support this cause. I am proud to be part of a community that cares to make a difference rather than one that says nothing out of the fear of making mistakes. 

Also, don't shy away from posting a cute profile picture or bookstagram photo if you're still continuing to update your account with BLM information; in fact, infusing aspects of the BLM movement into your usual feeds/stories (which you can do in so many ways) can be even more powerful because it shows that you refuse to gloss over the movement, reminds you of what you're fighting for, and reminds others to keep taking action, too!

The idea that one repost or one Instagram story can reach hundreds of people is empowering in times like these. For once, we can use social media to lift each other up and drive change for something bigger than ourselves. You've been given a chance, make sure to use it.

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And another note about commenting on social media: instead of an angry comment, you may want to consider a persuasive, encouraging tone. If you're putting in the effort anyway, educating someone on why their voice matters is likely to drive more meaningful change.

Additionally, no matter how unlikely it may seem, we really don't know how much time the person behind the account is spending off social media to drive the BLM movement (remember that everyone has different ways of showing support, online and offline, whether through protesting, donating, texting, calling, watching videos with ads, supporting Black business owners, voting, and more). We are all angry and hurt, but it is time to direct our anger toward the right individuals. Let's encourage each other to do more rather than tear ourselves apart.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

40 Diverse Reads

Hello everyone. Because of these past couple of weeks' events, I wanted to spend some time honoring #ownvoices authors and novels with diversity in them. I'm trying to feature as many books as possible today, so I'm pulling from my TBR and books I've read. The first several titles focus on Black authors, protagonists, and experiences, and I also wanted to take some time to acknowledge some other stories with POC that haven't come up much on this blog before. All of these colors link to Goodreads (where you can read their synopses), and please remember to support these authors by buying their books if you can.

I present to you...

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I hope to do many more posts like these since this is only the tip of the iceberg; there are so, so many more diverse reads out there! If you have any recommendations, feel free to suggest them below.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

DECA Crash Course Week 5: Defining the Three Main Problems

Hey everyone! Welcome back to Week 5 of this crash course. Today I'm moving on to an exciting part of your DECA journey - writing your written report! This post is geared toward entrepreneurship events, but I believe the underlying messages hold true regardless of whichever event you've chosen. Let's get started!
Week 5: Defining the 3 problems
Me, geeking out over starting my report. Source.
Defining the 3 Main Problems
As I said in numerous earlier posts, there has to be a reason why you're choosing to create the company you want. It has to make people's lives easier somehow; DECA's not a competition for purely entertainment businesses or gimmicks. To define what problems your companies solve, consider the following:
  • What are problems currently being faced today in the industry? Obviously, do some research. Define the industry. Check the news. What's going on in the world?
  • What is lacking in current solutions? What are other companies missing out on? 
  • Why has no one been able to solve this problem? And why do you think you can solve it?
  • Who faces this issue? Just as you should try to choose a business that the judge can empathize with or connect to in some form, you should try to select problems any judge could connect with to grab their attention. 
  • How many people face this issue? Niche markets are fine (to give you an idea, my business sophomore year was geared toward pet bird owners). However, I noticed at ICDC that the businesses there seemed to have more universal appeal, so try to step out of niche markets if you can.
  • IMO, avoid using price as a problem. In the real world, if you discover a way to cut prices, you'll be very successful. However, a judge might just wonder that if you could come up with a way to cut prices (paying for less labor, adopting a different marketing strategy, etc.), why haven't real companies already done it? This may lead them to think that you haven't done your research. So, unless your whole business is designed around some patented way to automate processes and you have prototypes and videos to prove that you could launch this system in real life, don't use price as a problem.
Me when people try using price as a problem. Source.
Also, when you finalize your problems, obviously make sure to understand how your company solves them. You wouldn't want to come up with 3 excellent, unsolvable problems, would you?

That moment when you come up with 1243 problems with 0 solutions. Source.
The problem section is graded out of 5 points, so it's worth about as much as any other section. More importantly, the problem section is what your whole company is built upon. Choose three key problems and make sure to refer to them throughout the report. Good luck! If you have any questions (doesn't have to be related to entrepreneurship events), please ask them either in the comments below or on this form here. This series is for all of you, so take the most out of it! And, I'd really appreciate a quick follow if you're enjoying the content (the button's on the bottom for the mobile version and in the sidebar on the PC version). See you next week :).

Monday, May 25, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Why I Love Historical Fiction

Hostess
I forgot to do this topic last week, so here I am, on time as usual haha!

1. The setting. Historical fiction is truly a chance to travel the world. A lot of my favorites actually take place in California/other pretty famous locations in the US, but each author points out incredibly new things to learn, so no setting really gets boring!
2. The culture. Most historical fiction novels are so rich in diversity. Plus, each ethnic culture comes with their own cuisine, so that's fun XD.
3. The perspectives. Getting to view the past through a lens of someone living through it is exciting!
4. The outfits + activities. Wild tea parties. Carriage rides. Victorian gowns. Me like.

Some of my favorites include:
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This one's more like magical realism. Info.
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Info
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One of my favorites of all time. Info.
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One of my first historical, powerful reads. Based on a true story. Info.
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Featuring Gretchen, Adolf Hitler's niece (if he had one). Info.
Do you enjoy historical fiction? What's your TTT? Let me know below!
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