target market

My last blog explored the challenge of defining your product. Knowing WHAT you are selling is essential (don’t laugh – too many clients really can’t offer a succinct statement of what they sell).

Today we are going to talk about…WHO you are selling to? This involves defining your “target market.”

All these WHO’s and WHAT’s remind me of that Journalism 101 stale – a good news story explains WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY. That’s a pretty good gut check for anyone in business – Who are you selling to, what are you selling, where do you sell it, and why should anyone buy it?

As part of defining your what you sell, write down a list of benefits for each of your products or services. Then, map those benefits back to WHO can most benefit from them. If your salad dressing is GMO-free and low calorie, then the health conscious market is for you. If your widget features titanium for lightweight and greater strength, then you are looking for buyers who need less weight without sacrificing performance.

At the same time, take a look at your current customers to see not only what they are buying, but ask them what they like and don’t like about your products or services. The input will guide the creation of new products or an improved feature-set for your existing offerings.

The work just begins now that you have defined your customers. Your challenge is finding the most effective ways to reach them with your marketing message.

Time for a few questions:

  • What do you know about your customers (demographics, location, etc.)?
  • What do you NOT know about your customers? (What you don’t know can kill you.)
  • How many customers are there (target market)?
  • Are you a leader in your market, or do you have to create better brand awareness (market share)?
  • What’s hot, what’s not (market trends)?
  • Do you want to take advantage of what’s hot?
  • Do seasonality and other critical factors important in your market planning?
  • Where are your customers?

So who is your target market?

To learn more about how to define your target market, here’s a short and information packed article from about.com. My next post the Kick-Ass Marketing Plan series will focus on how to understand and out-sell your competition.