How to Identify your Target Market

To identify, means to establish the identity of someone or something. A market has different meanings, including, a group of potential customers for one’s product, a place wherein people buy and sell. A target means a goal or objective.

There are steps to identify one’s market target:

Step One — Identify Why A Customer Would Want To Buy Your Product

The first step in identifying your target market is understanding what your products have to offer to a group of people or businesses. To do this, identify your product or service’s features and benefits. While features are valuable and can certainly enhance your product, benefits motivate people to buy.

By knowing what your product/service has to offer and what will make customers buy, you can begin to identify common characteristics of your potential market.

For example, there are many different consumers who desire safety as a benefit when purchasing a car. Rather than targeting everyone in their promotional strategy, a car manufacturer may opt to target a specific group of consumers with similar characteristics, such as families with young children. This is an example of market segmentation.

Step Two: Segment Your Overall Market

It is a natural instinct to want to target as many people and groups as possible. However, by doing this your promotional strategy will never talk specifically to any one group, and you will most likely turn many potential customers off.

Your promotional budget will be much more cost effective if you promote to one type of customer and speak directly to them. This allows you to create a highly focused campaign that will directly meet the needs and desires of a specific group.

Again, this is called market segmentation. Market segmentation is the process of breaking down a larger target market into smaller segments with specific characteristics. Each group requires different promotional strategies and marketing mixes because each group has different wants and needs.

Segmentation will help you customize a product/service or other parts of a marketing mix, such as advertising, to reach and meet the specific needs of a narrowly defined customer group.

Step Three: Paint a Picture of your Target Customer

List all the different types of customers that suffer from the problems you solve. Once done, you can start to build up a picture of these customers. Group them by location – for example, high-net-worth individuals tend to live in certain postcodes. Group them by market sector – are they manufacturers, recruitment agents, and so on.

Ask yourself other questions about these people. Are they married? Are they male or female? Do they play golf? Define them in as many relevant ways as possible.

Step Four: Who are your Competitors

Once you have decided the answers to some of these questions, you must look at the market to see what else is available.

The question you must have an answer to is:

Why am I uniquely placed to solve the problem?

It may be that for some marketplaces there is no answer. However, in certain sectors or geographical locations there may be a compelling response to that question. If you are unable to answer the question, you either have the wrong target market or the wrong offering. In this case, more work will need to be done before you start targeting your potential customers.

There are so many advantages of identifying one’s market target, some of them include:

– Your messaging will be strategic
– You can generate Leads, loyalty and word of mouth
– It is cost effective
– You are able to do direct targeting

Abayomi Adeola (Della)

Abayomi Adeola Della is a Law Student in Obafemi Awolowo University. Author of two books, Entrepreneur, Business strategist/analyst, Leader and Blogger. She's passionate about business building and economic growth. Her best food is beans.

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