Small Business Owners – How to Identify Your Target Market

I wrote this entire post with a cat on my lap. What does it have to do with target marketing, you ask? Hear me out. Before coming to sit on my lap, our cat already determined what he has to offer: being soft and cuddly is something many people find hard to resist. But…do they all? Our George (the cat) already knew that if he rubs himself against my legs and bats his eyes several times, I am more likely than my husband to let him sit on my lap. He figured me out. How? By doing his cat “research” on me, knowing what I need and how to push my buttons.
What I want to say with this rather unusual intro is, that if a cat can figure out its target market, so can you.

Now, let’s get to more serious business and see how we can help you easily understand the steps that targeting your market involve:
No matter whether you are online, or have a brick-and-mortar businesses, you have to have a marketing strategy in place.

A well-defined target market is the first element of a marketing strategy and that is what we are going to talk about today.
The first thing you have to understand is who you are selling to. Before you start doing research on your potential target market, you have to determine whether your product or service aims at individuals, or other businesses.

If you aim your marketing at individuals, this is called B2C or Business-to-customer marketing. It refers to the tactics and best practices used to promote products and services among consumers.
If, on the other hand, your aim is toward other businesses, then it is called B2B or Business-to-Business marketing. It involves the sale of one company’s product or service to another company.

If your customers will be individual consumers, you can start gathering data about them by using several sources: Census data, Demographics, Expenditure surveys, Psychographics, VALS- (Values, Attitudes, & Lifestyle Surveys). You can also use zip code psychographics.
As we wrote in a previous blog post, there are steps, you have to follow, when you propose to your target market.
The first thing to do is:

Understand what kind of problems you solve.

You have to have a pretty clear idea what problems your product or service will solve. Simply describing you product’s features or characteristics won’t do. You have to outline the benefits from your product, the solutions it provides to specific needs.
Even before doing so, you have to understand your potential customer’s problems. You have to walk in their shoes and find out what they “suffer” from. Then you have to ask yourself to what extend your product responds to their needs.
One important thing you have to be certain of is if you have buyers for your product. You have to have people, interested in what you want to offer. If, for example, you offer gluten-free muffins, you have to know well:
*What potential problems your gluten-free muffins solve.
*What benefits they provide and
*Who might be interested in them.

This is where our second point comes:

Who is your potential customer?
First you have to think statistics. Demographics. Psychographics. In our gluten-free muffins case you go and find out how many people suffer from gluten intolerance; How many don’t suffer from it, but believe it is healthy to eat gluten-free food. How many men, women, kids; The areas they live in; Their mentality, lifestyle choices, attitude and so on.
With that information in hand, you want to start:

Segmenting your market.
You have to create a complete description of the person you target your product to.
First you have to understand what kind of customers you want. Whether it is moms of kids with gluten intolerance, or people who want to change their eating habits. Or, maybe you want to cater to parties, business meetings, etc.
You cannot appeal to everyone. Remember the golden rule from one of our previpus blog post: If you try to appeal to everyone, you will not sell to anyone.
After you’ve decided who your ideal customers are, you have to

Study them.
The easiest way is through your network. Find out what they think of your product, whether they would buy it, why they would buy this product. You can also ask them to test your product for a few days or weeks and tell you what they do and don’t like about it. You can also give samples to other people and ask for answers on how your product works for them.

The next thing you want to do is

Research your competition.

You want to know their best practices. Their product’s characteristics. How they approach their customers. What kind of tactics they use. It is crucial to understand what makes your product different, what makes it better. Whether it is better ingredients, easier to use, healthier, etc, because these are key selling points.
In conclusion: Dedicating time to find out who your target market is, will help you be more effective in your marketing activities and achieve a much better return on your investment.

 

This concludes our blog post.

Happy to discuss with you market strategies, translations, or even how we work with a cat on our laps.

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