How to define your target market

How to define your target market

One of the first steps in building a strong brand is knowing who you’re selling to, or your target market. It is also a dynamic aspect of your business that may grow, shift or completely change with time and new products. Knowing your target market will help your brand be more effective in marketing efforts, know how and where to spend advertising dollars, and even how to make updates to products to expand or shift the target market.

The first thing to understand when answering the question “Who is my typical customer?” is that the answer can never be “everyone.” While it may be possible for a product or service to have broad appeal, it’s more efficient to find groups that can be targeted to help you see maximum return on investment (ROI) on your marketing strategy. So how do you define this market?

Factors of your target market

A thorough target market definition is specific. While you don’t want to feel as if you’re excluding customers, the goal is efficiency. Here are a few ways you can parse down your potential customers.

  • Age
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Race
  • Income
  • Relationship Status
  • Children
  • Religion
  • Hobbies
  • Interests
  • Occupation

You’re not excluding anyone from purchase by defining your target market, you’re just determining which group(s) will be most profitable and see the most benefit from your product/service.

It can always be better defined

If the ideal is to advertise to only people who would buy your product, you’re going to want to whittle your target market down several times. You may think that your trendy shoe line would be great for women in Denver, but maybe it would be even better for young women in Denver who enjoy hiking, fashion, exercise, have a job that allows them leisure time, and no kids. Those extra details can turn a target market of 1,000,000 to 100,000 really quickly, but they also bring a higher conversion rate from advertising and marketing.

Collect data and use it

You may think you have your target market nailed down from talking to your team and coming up with characteristics, but how will you know for sure unless you actually ask the customer. If you’re in a brick-and-mortar store, it may be easier to see who the typical customer is, but no matter what type of business you have, there are ways to collect data on customers.

You can utilize focus groups to better understand what is and isn’t appealing to certain types of customers (or short of that, polling family and friends for honest opinions). It’s also possible, especially with an online store, to ask people to create a profile before purchase where you can ask some questions to get a better sense of who they are. You can also do post-purchase or follow up surveys to collect data. No matter which method your brand chooses to employ, it’s important to consistently analyze the numbers to make sure your target market is defined as effectively as possible. With the number of effective analytics tools in the market, a good brand shouldn’t have to guess their target market once they’ve collected good data.

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