Define Your Target Market in 5 Simple Steps

Mar 08, 2013
Marcie Hardy

Research suggests as much as a whopping 80% of marketing dollars are wasted…marketing to the wrong person.  Without knowing who wants to buy your products or services, you could be wasting time and money marketing to the wrong people. It is essential to define your market before you start your marketing campaign. Follow these five simple steps to define your target market, so you can advertise to the right people, in the right way, at the right time.

Step #1: Survey Customers

Your customers aren’t always who you think they are.  Send out surveys to current customers to learn about them. Offer an incentive for completing and sending them in. In the customer surveys, ask about the following:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Interests
  • Employment
  • Products or services they like the most/least
  • How they found out about your business
  • How do they like to receive information about products and services

Knowing about your current customers can give you clues into the groups of people you should be targeting in your marketing campaign.

Step #2: Analyze Competition

Your competition is likely to have the same target market, so use that to your benefit. Follow your competition to see what they do to market their products, and whom they are marketing them to. If you pay close attention, you can find out as much information about their target market as you could from surveys completed by your customers. This means that if you are a new business owner, you can save a lot of time by using your competition’s customer base to learn about your market.

Step #3: Match Products to Customers’ Needs

Once you know your customers, analyze your products to find out how they will benefit from them. Create a list of products, write down the benefits of each one, match those benefits to the target markets you’ve identified in steps 1 and 2. These benefits will be the hook you will use to get new customers interested in your business. 

Step #4: Decide How to Disseminate Product Benefits

It’s likely you have more than one target market for your business. You may target women who are 30 years old, but you may have another market of men in their early 40s. You may have to approach these two markets differently. Brainstorm ways to reach out to these markets effectively using the information you’ve gathered about their interests, employment, etc. Once you have some ways to advertise the products and services that are effective for your target markets, start to deliver information about products or services to them.

Step #5: Reevaluate Regularly

Defining your target market isn’t a one time job. People’s interests change, and so do target markets. Continue to utilize the steps here to redefine your business’ target market and the advertising that has been the most effective.

Practice Makes Perfect with Market Defining

You may not get your target market exactly right the first time around. For many of the demographics you’ll need to define, you will need to speculate the details. Sometimes those details may not make much of a difference in your marketing efforts, but other times, it could make a big difference. Marketing is many times a trial and error process, so keep refining information and improving advertising techniques until you get it right. Even then, keep researching, adjusting, and testing. The more you keep up on it, the better the results will be, and the more business success you’ll see.