When you first opened your business, you conducted research on needed capital, rent, utilities, salaries, etc. Very specific factors, correct? However, if you just blindly buy TV, radio, or other advertising without knowing who you should be talking to…You are not targeting the RIGHT audience with your business marketing.
So, what is a “Target Market”? A target market is a set of individuals sharing similar needs or characteristics that your company hopes to serve. These persons are usually the end users most likely to purchase your product. A big plus is that identifying the right group to advertise to before you even schedule one media buy, can really save you money in the end!
Start the process by simply defining clearly your product or service and then creating a profile of the person or business that will want to use what you have to offer. Understanding the needs of your potential customers is essential. You can often discover exactly how you can meet consumer needs through careful market research including running a focus group, scanning industry reviews or doing a market survey. Once you have identified your target market, then you can craft customizable messages that appeal specifically to them and increase your potential for return of investment, e.g. people most likely to use your product/service.
Even if you don’t have a budget to conduct a detailed survey, you can still learn a thing or two by watching your competition. What kind of messages are they putting out there? Who is their customer base? Is it comparable to what you want for your business? If it is, see about doing some of the same actions they are doing. But be careful. You still want your message to be unique and identifiable to YOUR business. The last thing you want is a potential customer to confuse your business with the competition. Also, think about limiting your marketing to groups that can give you the highest profit potential. Remember…Return of Investment!
Finally, is your business in a very competitive field? Consider marketing to consumer groups that may be under-served or downright neglected. Rather than trying to reach every customer who could use your product, maybe focus on a niche segment for your product. Maybe you have a high-end service or product that the average consumer would only consider a “luxury”. These people will probably not use you on a daily basis. By focusing resources on a specific customer segment, those with considerable discretionary income, your business may be able to better serve this smaller segment of the market.
In conclusion, target marketing helps you save work and money in reaching out to your potential customers. Even if you don’t have the budget to conduct thorough research, you can still learn a lot by both watching your competitors and doing some investigating on your own.