Targeting Your Market
In general the childcare market targets families in which both parents work as well as single-parent households. The need for childcare seems to bear no relation to income. However, the government does offer a number of programs that help families with little income finance childcare so that the parents can continue to work.
Think about the limits of what you want to offer and the timeframe in which you'd like to make your services available. If you're thinking of offering full-time child care, for instance, your marketing focus is parents of infants to 5 year-olds. Do you prefer opening an after-school program? Your marketing target is parents with children over five.
Though by now, you have narrowed down the marketing target, you still have a ways to go. The next step is to do market research. Whom do you want to attract and how can you best entice them to use your childcare service? Where is your market located?
If you already know the location of the future center, a demographic study can help you determine your target audience. For instance, a typical demographic study might reveal that 11,000 children up to the age of 5 live within a 5-mile radius of your chosen location. Digging deeper into the facts, such a study may tell you that one quarter of the preschoolers in this area are already in daycare of one type or another since their mother or both their parents work. Continuing on, the study offers statistics on growth rate: the number of households in this area is expected to triple within the next ten years. Right now, there are 7 area childcare centers which serve around 1,000 children.
But you may not need this level of sophistication. If you live in a small town where everyone knows each other and you are aware of the paucity of childcare services available, you may not have to worry about market research and demographic studies. You may not even have to advertise in an area where the demand is very great and your good name precedes you.
Parents have long learned to network. If you offer a good product, the word is bound to get around, parent-to-parent, around the water-cooler. But in some cases, it pays to do research and marketing.