Ah, the target market. It’s one of those lovely things that marketers breathe, but the average business owner may not have thought much about. However, they should, and a great deal. Target markets are a great way to hone in your message and make the most out of your marketing dollars. But we can’t tell you much of anything about the target market or market segmentation if you don’t know what it is, so let’s go ahead and define our terms, shall we?
What a Target Market is and Why it is Crazy Important
A target market is a specific segment of the general audience that is most likely to show interest in your product. If it helps, think of it in terms of an actual target. Your bow would be any platform for reaching an audience (website, social media), and your arrow would be your message. The target is your ideal audience, the specific area where you want your message to stick. And friend, you’d better hit it.
If you’re wondering why target markets are so important, ask yourself which you’d rather be doing--screaming yourself hoarse into the void, hoping a few people tune in, or talking intimately with a solid handful of people who are invested in what you’re saying? The latter saves you time, energy, and cash--all things you can’t afford to waste. Right now, we’ll do a quick exercise to determine what your personal target market looks like. This is big, so you’ll want to grab a pen and paper.
What Exactly Your Target Market Looks Like
To know who will benefit from and show the most interest in your product, make a list of the following: age range, gender, location, education, income, and family status. If you really want to hone in, describe their values, lifestyle, personality, and general interests, too.
Let’s take a look at a company that’s only 7 years old and is raking in a casual $273 million a year. The Honest Company, founded by mom and actress Jessica Alba, has a clearly defined target market and does a fabulous job speaking to their interests. In general, their ideal buyer is 25-40 years old, female, college educated, affluent, and a mother. They value style, their family, and using organic products that are good for their children as well as the environment, and they don’t mind spending a little extra to get them. Coming up with a message to that particular buyer seems a lot easier than screaming a general promo about baby products out into the world, doesn't it? Doing the work up front to define your target market will inevitably help you crush the end game with ease.
Now that you’ve done this exercise and know who your target market is, you can learn how to talk to them. Use language that resonates with their values and personality. Sharpen your message to resonate deeply with their age group and family status. Tailor your visual content to pieces that ring true to their location, lifestyle, and interests. The best way to find out what your target market is interested in? Just go ahead and ask them. Social media gives you the tools you need to ask direct questions and get trackable feedback from your target audience, which you can read more about here. Take their feedback and use it to hammer out content and social posts that speak directly to their needs and wants.
When to Use Market Segments and Never Miss a Customer
One thing to keep in mind is the fact that you may have more than one target market. Often your product may have more than one use, and users can vary within its functions. Take Pedialyte, for example. What started as a drink for children who suffered from stomach flu has turned into a multi-faceted weapon for adults as well. Many athletes forgo sugary sports drinks and opt for Pedialyte after a game or intense workout to aid in rehydration. Speaking of rehydration...it’s even become a Sunday morning savior for anyone who indulged in a drinkypoo or two too many. If your product falls into this category, you can use market segmentation to develop messaging that speaks to each group and targets them specifically.
Feeling like you have a little better grasp on what a target market and what to do with it? Good! Just for funsies, let’s do a quick recap of your process:
- Determine your target market using facets like age range, gender, location, education, income, family status, values, lifestyle, personality, and general interests.
- Ask them DIRECTLY what they want to hear about to so can nail your messaging and talk even more directly to your target audience.
- Be sure you’re not forgetting market segmentation if your product has more than one use.
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