What is a Target Market?

Do you know your company’s target market? A target market is the specific group of people who you are marketing toward for your product or service. There are many different types of groups that can make up a target market. If you want to have a higher number of conversions, you need to understand what a target market is, and who specifically you’re marketing toward.

Brainstorming To Get Your Market

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Image via Flickr by Luca Mascaro

Some products or services will have a number of different target markets. One of the first things you need to do when putting together your marketing plan is to decide which markets you’ll be targeting. Are you breaking down markets by age, gender, religion, geographic location, or something else? A lawyer who lives and works in one city is going to target the people in that same city and surrounding areas. It isn’t going to be worth the lawyer’s time and energy to try to sell his service to people in other states.

When deciding on a target market, take a look at the product or service you’re selling. Brainstorm and write down who you think would benefit from what you’re selling. During this brainstorming process, write down everything that comes to mind, even if it seems silly at first. After you’ve finished brainstorming, it’s time to go through the list, and find the most likely candidates.

Look at Current Customers

Do you already sell your product or service? Take a look at your current customers. These are the types of people you should be targeting. This doesn’t mean you can’t branch out and work on other markets as well. However, if you’re currently selling mostly to men in their 30’s, it’s important to make sure to create a marketing plan around this.

Understand What You Sell

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Image via Flickr by timquijano

It’s likely that you know your product or service well. However, you need to make sure that you understand it, too. What are the benefits of what you sell? How can it help people? What kind of people are likely to use it? Take a look at some of the less traditional ways your product can be used, and consider the types of people who would use it. The more you understand your product, the more likely you are to understand the people who use it.

Conduct a Survey

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Image via Flickr by Jesús Gorriti

If you’re unsure about who is using your product, you need to find out. This is crucial to effective marketing. Consider conducting a survey to find out the markets you should be working in. There are many ways today that you can conduct surveys.

  • Put a short questionnaire on your landing page
  • Ask questions of followers on your social media sites
  • Send a questionnaire with the product to those who are already purchasing
  • Do a live survey at conventions, home shows, etc.
  • Send out a mailer to local people with a survey about your product
  • Send out emails to those who have filled out your email capture and ask them to answer a few questions

Each of these have different benefits. If you’re trying to find out about the people who already purchase your product, you’ll want to send surveys with the product, or as a follow-up. If you know that you’re most interested in local customers, sending a mailer is a great way to generate local response. Social media sites offer a new, unique look at your customers.

Use the Research of Others

There is a lot of information out there that you can get from other people selling similar products. Take a look at who your competitors are selling to. Most likely, you’ll want to target these same markets, in addition to others. Do a few searches online for the best markets for products or services in the same category. You may be able to find survey results, white papers, and more about the best markets.

Don’t be Too Broad or Too Narrow

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Image via Flickr by Poster Boy

Defining your market is all about balance. You don’t want to narrow the market too far. This will leave you with very few potential customers. If you’re only marketing to married women in their 20’s who have a household income of over $150,000 and three kids, don’t be surprised if your sales start dropping.

On the other hand, having too broad of a market will make it difficult for you to get the customers you need as well. If you’re marketing to all women, you’re going to need to put a lot more time, effort, and money into your marketing strategies. You’ll quickly find that a lot of these women simply can’t afford your product, or don’t need it, because of their demographics.

Consider Focus Groups

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Image via Flickr by mkrohne

Once you’ve decided on a few markets, you need to figure out what they like best to enhance your marketing strategy. One way you can do this is with focus groups. Bring together some people who are a part of your markets. Ask them questions not only about your product, but about similar products. If you sell brooms, find out what they like about cleaning supplies in general. Other questions such as how often they use a broom, and how often they replace the product can also give you great insight into how your customers think and act.

Keep Track of Information Gathered

It’s important that you keep all the information you gather well documented. You can create a basic profile for your target audience. This should include all of the information you’ve decided on, including income level, gender, age, etc. In addition, if you’ve conducted a survey or focus group, you need to ensure that answers are kept for future marketing strategies. The information you gather now, even if it seems irrelevant, will help you create a great marketing campaign.

Having a target market in mind, and understanding how those people think and act, will help you create the perfect marketing campaign. This in turns helps your conversion rates, no matter what type of service you’re offering.

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