A target market is a specific group of consumers to whom you address your product or service. They're the people you want to reach with your marketing message; your potential customers. Instead of trying to reach an entire market, you select a particular audience, putting time and energy into connecting with a defined group. There are four levels of segmentation that are generally used to define your target audience.
- Demographic segmentation divides the market based on demographic variables; age, gender, marital status, family size, income, religion, race, occupation, nationality and education. It's the most common segmentation practice among marketers.
- Geographic segmentation involves dividing a market by area; city, county, region, country or international region. It may also include breaking the market into rural, suburban and urban areas. This strategy allows you to serve customers in a particular area when your broad audience has preferences based on their location.
- Psychographic segmentation is a method used to group consumers based on personality traits, beliefs, values, attitudes, interests, hobbies and lifestyle. This strategy helps marketers understand what drives purchase decisions.
- Behavioural segmentation is based on actual consumer buying behaviour. It takes into account when a product is purchased, how often a product is being used/consumed, brand loyalty, and benefits perceived by consumers.
How do I determine my target market?
Your target audience should be based on research, not a hunch. To determine your target market:
- Look at your current customer base: Gather the information you have regarding your existing customers into a database used to track trends and averages. Include age, location, time zone, language, income, spending patterns, interests, and stage of life/lifestyle. Look for common characteristics and interests of those customers that bring you the most business. If your customers are other businesses, consider the size of the business and what member of the company does the purchasing.
- Use website and social media analytics: Social sites are a good way of filling information gaps and help you understand who's interacting with your accounts. Use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and Snapchat analytics.
- Check out the competition: Who do your competitors target? Who are your competitor's current customers? Get a general sense of the approach they're using and whether it's working. Then find a niche market they're overlooking.
- Analyze your product/service: Create a benefit inventory by listing the features of your product and the benefits each feature provides. This helps you make the next list; the people who have a need for your benefits.
- Create a target market statement: Use your research results to create a simple statement that clearly defines your target audience. Incorporate three or four important demographic and behavioural characteristics you've identified. This statement will guide your marketing efforts. You may need separate statements for each product/service you supply.
- Evaluate your decision: This is where you ask yourself pertinent questions.
- Are there enough people who fit my criteria?
- Will they benefit from my product/service?
- Do I understand what drives their decisions?
- Can they afford my product/service?
- Are they easily accessible?
- Will my message reach them?
- Test social ads on your target market: Create social ads targeted to the market you defined. Make sure the language speaks to the market you determined. Be creative! Then use social tools to contact your target audience. Use your demographic information to determine which social networks best allow you to reach your market. Track the performance of your ads. Decide whether you need to tweak your approach.
- Revisit your market statement: The response to your ads may provide additional insights. Revisit your target market statement incorporating any new information. Amend the statement as often as needed. Remember that you can target more than one niche market.
Finding the right audience is crucial! Once you've established your target market, it's easier to decide how to reach them and what message will resonate. Use your marketing budget wisely and get a better return on investment by clearly defining your target market.
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