target market identification

After years of research, building models, testing, and improvements your fuel-saving carburetor is ready to be introduced to the market. 

The question is, which market will you target for your carburetor? 

Blindly marketing your product to a massive audience of consumers is like using a shotgun to hit a bullseye on the broadside of a barn. For sure you will hit something but most of your pellets will hit the wall and not the target. 

Identifying your target market is the most efficient way of promoting your business. The time and resources spent on your marketing campaign will deliver better ROI than just distributing content without intent or purpose.

In the following section, we discuss in great detail 4 effective ways to identify your target market.

1. Create a Buyer’s Persona

The first step to identifying your target market is to create a Buyer’s Persona. Essentially, a Buyer’s Persona is a list of the characteristics or qualities that best describe the prospective end-user of your product.

The Buyer’s Persona will give you a profile of the type of person who understands the purpose of your product and believes it will fulfill his need. 

To come up with an effective Buyer’s Persona, you should define its demographics:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Marital Status
  • Number of Dependents
  • Level of Education
  • Occupation
  • Designation/Position 
  • Income Range

Add more factors that will help tighten up the demographics of your target market as you see fit.

It is more important now than ever, to identify the key demographics of your target market because tastes, demand preferences, and influences are changing more rapidly than ever before.

Thanks to the Internet and the growing popularity of mobile devices, consumers have immediate access to information.

Consumers can easily be influenced by what they come across on the Internet and social media.

If your business sells affordable fitness trackers that cater to mostly male runners in their mid-20s who are starting their professional careers, in a few years your key demographic may be males in their 50s who prefer low-cost fitness trackers because running is more of a hobby than a sport.

It’s not because your fitness tracker is a poor product. 

The mid-20 males who used to buy your products may already be in the late-20s, financially successful, and have the money to spend on higher-end, branded fitness trackers.

It’s not enough to define your Buyer’s Persona, you must routinely update the information. 

Keeping updated and informed on the changing characteristics of your demographic is a great way of staying relevant; think of it as an exercise for protecting your future.

A 2010 study “2010 America” revealed that updating the key demographics was a low-priority for many small businesses. Underestimating the importance of demographics left these businesses vulnerable to the changing wave of the future.

2. Run Your Buyer’s Persona Through Multiple Filters

Once you’ve created a Buyer’s Persona, the next step is to run them through multiple filters. 

Filters are more specific qualifiers. Let’s go back to our example regarding the fitness tracker and assume your product caters to the male population.

The possible filters could be as follows:

Filter 1 – Years running

Filter 2 – Frequency: number of running days per week, hours per session

Filter 3 – Competitive or recreational runner

The use of filters will help you tighten up your Buyer’s Persona and sharpen the focus of your digital marketing campaign.

If your fitness tracker appeals to competitive runners who train 5 days a week and have been running for more than 2 years, you should market your product to the following segments:

  • Running clubs
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Running community websites and social media pages
  • Running event organizers
  • Retail stores that sell running products

The content of your blogs, curated articles, and social media copy could touch on the following topics:

  • Benefits of using a fitness tracker
  • Why a fitness tracker is important for competitive runners
  • Improving running time
  • Injury prevention
  • Balancing time for work and training
  • How to stay on schedule
  • Maximizing the value of the fitness tracker

Thus, fine-tuning the Buyer’s Persona saves you time and reduces the risk of creating, implementing, and managing marketing campaigns that don’t resonate with your target market.

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3. Define Your Product’s Value Proposition

The qualities and features that differentiate your product is the proposition that gives it value. By defining your product’s value proposition, you can pinpoint the market segment who will greatly benefit from it.

For example, if you are selling lightweight running shoes that are waterproof and durable enough to handle the pounding of rough terrain, who do you think would find value in it?

It could be the serious trail runner – a person who hits the terrain at least 3 days a week and possibly competes in a road race every few months.  

To identify your product’s value proposition, create a list of its features. Under each feature, write down the demographic or type of consumer who would recognize the value. 

4. Use a Data-Driven Approach

A decision can result in only 1 out of 2 possible outcomes: success or failure. To improve your chances of success, remove the guesswork by using a data-driven approach. 

Data provides you with hard evidence – actual figures, statistics – that you can use as the basis for your decisions. 

The numbers will give you an idea of the consumption behavior of your market – are they still patronizing your business or have they switched to a competitor? Which products are selling fast and which ones are slow-moving? You can identify trends and developments that are unfolding in your industry. 

Keep in mind that data is not irrefutable. People analyze numbers differently. Your interpretation could be influenced by biases and obscure the real picture. 

Thus, with a data-driven approach, you remove guesswork but take calculated risks. As such, you can prepare alternative courses of action in case your analysis of the data is proven incorrect.              

There are 3 valuable sources of data:

a.     Surveys

Conducting surveys on your demographic can help identify changes in behavior, trends, tastes, and preferences. You can gather data from consumers who are potential end-users of your product.

You can conduct surveys through a variety of channels.

  • Email Marketing – Send newsletters to your subscribers that include a CTA asking them to participate in a short survey about your business. In exchange for their participation, give them something of value such as a free e-book, limited access to premium content, or a limited-time-only discount.
  • Social Media Marketing – Invite your followers to participate in a survey on Facebook or Twitter. Let them know the survey is to help improve the quality of service and products.
  • Outsource to a Service Provider – To save you time, hedge on the expertise of a digital marketing agency and ask them to run the survey for you. There will be a cost to the service but the agency’s resources can gather more pertinent data. Likewise, you can ask them to interpret the data for you.

b.     Current Data

You may not be aware of it, but your business may have amassed valuable data over the years.

Review your sales and inventory records and find out which products have been selling fast and which ones are lagging. Who are the primary buyers of these products? Which area or location do they come from? How often do they buy from you?

Go over your social media accounts and take note of the level of activity. Which posts have the highest engagement levels? What topics are frequently shared, commented on, and received the most likes?

You can do the same on your website. Find out which blogs have generated the most views, shares, and comments.

Visit the business of your competitor and observe customer behavior. For example, if you own a bakeshop, take note of your competitor’s customer’s orders.

Which cakes are frequently ordered? What beverage is commonly paired with the cake? If the beverage is coffee, how do the majority of customers order their coffee?

c.      Your Current Network of Contacts

Family, friends, and business associates are valuable sources of information. They will not be afraid to tell you like it is. If you want a sincere and honest opinion, dig deep into your current network of contacts.

For example, if you are launching new menu items in your restaurant, invite them to a taste test or sampling dinner.

If you are preparing to introduce a new app to the market, consult with a trusted colleague in the I.T industry or perhaps reach out to a former professor from the university.

Collect data as meticulously as possible. Make sure the participants can convey their responses in black and white or in a file that can be stored. 

Conclusion

Identifying your target market is not a one-time thing. You must find ways to stay updated on your market because the key demographics can change abruptly and without warning. 

If you ignore the “warning signs” and maintain your current practices and policies, the content you produce will be rendered ineffective and obsolete. 

The reason for the decline in sales may have nothing to do with the quality of your product. It is possible that your current market of end-users see less value in it because their needs have changed. 

To be sure, follow the 4 tips outlined in this article. The remedy to your sales woes may not necessarily require you to introduce a new item, product improvements or discount pricing. 

Perhaps all you need is a change or shift in marketing strategy.

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And if you want to learn more about target marketing, give us a call or send an email. We’ll gladly discuss strategy over coffee!

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