June 17, 2013

How to Determine Your Target Market

When it comes to thinking about who would want your products or services, the dream scenario always seems to be “everyone.” We get visions of global brands like Coca Cola and imagine everyone in the world will want our fabulous product or service. The fact is – this isn’t going to happen, nor is it practical to think it will. Once any visions of grandeur are allowed to pass, you can start focusing on what will really work – honing in on your actual target market.

While, yes, it would be lovely for everyone to want our product, the reality is there’s only a few specific groups of people who will LOVE what you are offering. If you’re in business, you’ve probably heard of the 80/20 rule (the Pareto principle). 20% of your customers will bring in 80% of your revenue. In the spirit of the 80/20 rule, taking the time to truly define your target market will help you target more of that 20%.

So how do you go about finding that golden 20%? Here are a few ways to help you define your target market:

Who Does Your Product Speak To?

The most effective way to find your target market is to ask yourself the hard questions about your product. Who does it stand to benefit the most? Why would they want it? How does it make that group’s life easier? What is the purpose of your product or service? Just by answering these types of questions, you’ll start to get a better picture of who your ideal target market is.

Examine Your Current Customers

The easiest way to find out who wants what you’re offering is to see who has already purchased from you. If you aren’t collecting demographic information during each transaction, craft a survey and ask your previous customers to fill it out. Ask them questions about their interests, hobbies, jobs, etc. so you can get a thorough understanding of who your buyers actually are. Doing this in the form of a contest is a great way to ensure a good amount of responses.

Examine Your Competitors

You can glean a lot of industry information just by checking out what your competitors are doing from time to time. Look over their social media accounts and check up on forums or review sites to see what type of customers they are attracting. You don’t really want to use this information to go after the same customer, but it can give you a good idea of any groups or niches that might have been overlooked.

Go Over the Basics

When looking at your product offerings, it can often become quite clear that targeting some demographics will yield higher results than others. If you have a wedding catering hall, you’ll probably have better luck targeting younger women. If you sell golf equipment, you’ll have a better response targeting men than you would women. When looking at your products, take some time to go over your basic demographics and see if there is anyway to single out a specific group to target. Areas to examine include:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Income level
  • Education level
  • Marital status
  • Occupation
  • Ethnicity
  • Value of home
  • Religious affiliation
  • Political affiliation

Dig A Little Deeper

Once you’ve established the basics of your target market, it’s a good idea to dig a little deeper. For instance, if you are selling natural supplements, targeting consumers who are either vegetarian, eco-conscious or athletes would help you get better results than a generic marketing campaign. Consider determining these characteristics:

  • Hobbies and interests
  • Clubs or associations
  • Lifestyles
  • Belief systems or values
  • Family dynamics
  • Social influence
  • Blogs or websites they visit
  • Social media habits
  • Shopping habits

Now that you have this information, you need to write it as a simple paragraph to help you clearly define who it is specifically you want to target. If you can’t write it out, then you don’t have something clear and defined that you can share within your company. If you can’t share who your target market is than you’ll end up spinning your wheels targeting the 80% who will only bring in 20% of your revenue.