How (and Why) to Clearly Define your Target Market
Need more customers? Ask yourself: “Who am I marketing to?”
Simple question, right? Perhaps not. Answering that question significantly narrows the field from the entire universe to your actual target audience. If you need more customers, the trick is to define your target market so effectively that you can describe an ideal customer in specific detail. “Men aged 25-40” is simply too broad a group as it includes both a recent immigrant just learning English, and the CEO of the most successful internet company on earth.
Apart from obvious age, sex, education and income categories, you may also need to consider factors such as your ideal customer’s lifestyle, where they live, what they drive, where they shop etc. Bring your ideal prospect to life in your imagination, get to know them by examining their habits as they relate to your unique value proposition. If you want to be successful in business, nearly everything you do should ultimately be about serving that ideal prospect.
Targeting a specific market does not mean that you have to exclude people that do not precisely fit your criteria. Rather, targeting allows you to focus your marketing dollars and brand message on a specific market that is more likely to buy from you than your competitors. This is a much more affordable, efficient and effective way to reach more customers and generate more business.
Here are some tips for drilling down to find who you should really be marketing to:
• Think about the potential customer’s current relationship with your brand. What do they think when they think of you? Do they currently think of you at all? What do they “feel” when they consider your product or service? Are they likely to be impressed? And if so, do they relate that feeling to their personal use, or think that your product is great – but only for others who have a specific need for it? (e.g. “Great looking dress, if only I were 20 years younger.”)
• Research whether your prospect currently uses a competing brand, or another type of product altogether to satisfy the need you intend to serve. For example, do they use a competitor’s zip-lock plastic bags because they perceive them to be better, or do they avoid plastic bags altogether for environmental reasons and instead use re-usable containers?
• Write out a list of each feature of your product or service. Beside each feature, list the benefits – and the benefits of those benefits. For example, a great graphic designer offers high quality design services and the resulting benefit is a professional company image. A professional image attracts more buyers because they view that company as established and trustworthy. So ultimately, the benefit of great graphic designer is that customers are more comfortable making a buying decision based on the way they perceive that business.
• Figure out not only who has a need for your product or service, but also who is most likely to buy it. Consider the following factors:
DEMOGRAPHICS: Age, location, gender, income, education, occupation, marital status
PSYCHOGRAPHICS: Personality, attitudes, values, lifestyle, interests/hobbies
• Determine how your product or service fits into your prospect’s lifestyle. How will they use it? What features are most appealing to them? What benefits result in the most effective call-to-action? What media do they turn to for information about what you offer?
• Once you’ve decided on an ideal target audience, make sure to consider:
– Are there enough buyers that fit my target criteria?
– Do I understand enough about what drives them to a buying decision?
– Can they afford my product or service?
– Will my target perceive the benefit of my product or service?
– Can I effectively reach them with my message?
Answering these questions – even with educated guesses – will allow you to make far more effective marketing decisions. It’s still a process of trial and error to some extent, but using this strategy should result in a lot less of both.
For more information or to discuss your particular needs in this area with an
expert business coach, please contact me to schedule a complimentary initial
telephone consultation where we’ll provide a customized
12-point growth plan for your business.
Breakout Consulting, LLC
Dearborn, MI ∙ San Diego, CA