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How to Find Your Target Market

Published on 27th July 2020 - Last update on 29th July 2020

Who is the target customer for your product or service?

If you answered ‘anybody’ you have not grasped a fundamental rule of selling. You cannot sell any product to anyone. Your product or service may have a broad appeal – like bread – or it may appeal to a niche market – such as advice on copyright law. But whatever it is that you offer, you will be wasting time, effort and money if you are attempting to sell it to the wrong target market.

This means that defining your target market is one of your most important tasks. It’s the foundation of all elements of your marketing strategy, from how you develop your products or services to the marketing channels you use to promote them.

You need to know who needs, will want and will buy your products – that’s your target market. When it comes to your marketing, nobody else matters.

Target market definition

A target market is simply the specific group of people you want to reach with your marketing message. They are united by some common characteristics, like demographics and behaviours. So if you sell outboard motors, your target market is obviously small boat owners.

Sometimes it is less obvious. If you sell diamond rings, your products will be worn mainly by women – but in many cases, they will be bought as engagement rings, by men. Not all men – you are only after those who are ready to get engaged.

The more clearly you define your target group, the better you can understand how and where to reach your best prospects. You can start with broad categories like millennials or single mums – but that is only a starting point.

Don’t be afraid to get highly specific. This is all about targeting your marketing efforts effectively and making the best use of your marketing budget.

Remember, you are not stopping people from buying your product by tight targeting. Those outside your target market can still buy from you— but they are not your focus.

You may have some idea about who your target market is, but you need to be scientific. Defining your target market should be based on audience research, not a gut feeling – but there are some simple steps you can take to define the market you need.

Look at your current customers

Who will buy your products in the future? Very like those people who have bought them in the past!

So you need to understand who is already using your products or services. What data do you have? If you sell face to face, you may be able to see what the common factors are – but if you sell via a retail distribution chain or from a website things are a little more difficult.

You probably should not ask direct questions – people don’t like having to give their age and shoe size before buying a set of garden furniture, or anything else. But you may be able to look at social media analytics as a great way of filling in the gaps in your customer analysis. They can also help you understand who is interacting with your social accounts, even if those people are not customers yet.

If you are selling via social media and using it to interact with your clients, you can use the analytics provided by your platform to discover a great deal about your customers and prospects.

  • Age: You don’t need to get too specific here. It won’t likely make a difference whether your average customer is 22 or 28. But knowing which decade of life your customers are can be very useful. Are your customers likely to be college students? New parents? Parents of teens? Retirees? Their attitudes and interests will depend on their age. How they will interact with your communications, and how they use your products will depend on their attitudes and interests.
  • Job title: if you are selling to a B2B audience, knowing the job title of the people who are buying from you can be vital. Not only will you be able to address potential customers with a similar title, but it can also make it much easier to find ways to contact the prospects you need. Are you marketing to the CEO? The CFO? The social marketing manager? Understanding who you need to speak to within the company is a critical first step to making a sale.
  • Location: Where do your existing customers live? In an internet-based world, your marketplace can be global – but if you find your customers have a focus on one particular country or location, it is valuable information that you can use. Not only can optimise your sales material for the key market, but you can also tailor your service to their time zone. Don’t assume your customers speak the same language you do. You can assume they speak the dominant language of their current physical location. 
  • Spending power and patterns: How much money do your current customers spend? How do they fund purchases in your price category? Do they have specific financial concerns you need to address? Could you sell more if you dropped prices? Should you think about other ways for them to spread the cost of a purchase? Identifying price objections and overcoming them is key to selling.

Needing help to fund your start-up business? Find out more about the common finance options available to you

Look at what your competitors are doing

Your target market is probably very much the same as your competitors' target market. It, therefore, makes sense to see what they are doing.

Are your competitors going after the same market segments as you are? Are they reaching segments you hadn’t thought to consider? How are they positioning themselves?

You need to benchmark your own results against the large-scale players, and try and do what they do - but better.

Armed with this information you should be able to define your target market with a statement like this:

Our target market is [gender] aged [age range], who live in [place or type of place], and who [activity] who need [product].

Having a statement like this can help you concentrate your marketing activity on the right people. But you may be able to do more.

You may be able to support your statement with some extra information. This could include:

  • What newspapers and magazine they may read. This has two purposes – it lets you decide where to place press advertising – it also helps you see the kind of language they use.
  • What websites they are likely to visit. Again, knowing the websites they use and the social media they prefer to see will help you target your advertising.
  • What their current needs are. Knowing what a potential client needs is a vital first step to turning him orf her into a customer. If you can talk to them about a need they have, you can turn the conversation onto an answer you can provide to them.

Help with the costs of marketing

The costs of marketing can be astronomical - but good targeting can keep costs under control - and properly done, you should be able to see a rapid return on your investment.

At Rangewell we can help you find the financial solutions you need when you want to invest in your marketing. We can show you all the options, with specialised funding for start-ups

As experts in business funding, we know the fastest ways to secure the funding you need - and the most cost-effective.

Call us now – our experts are ready to help you with your finance questions.

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Richard Mitchell

Richard Mitchell

Content writer
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