Finding Your Target Market

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So many businesses today do not really know who is their target market; they continue to market to the masses in desperation to get a sale.

Before marketing, the business needs to find out its target market. You also need to look at your own business and identify the unique value that makes you different from all other industry segment competitors. A clear understanding of the term differentiation will then help you in determining and finding your target market.

Now, let’s go through some terms:

  • Target Market: is the market that you want to promote and sell your products and services to.
  • Market Segmentation: is the process of dividing heterogeneous groups into homogeneous groups with relatively similar product needs.
  • Niche Market: involves focusing on a very specific, very well-defined segment of the market. Sometimes when you have a niche market it’s quite easy to develop promotions for them because you understand the psychographics and demographics. They know what they’re looking for in regards to benefits and sometimes features.

Types of Marketing:

  • Mass Marketing: This marketing is called undifferentiated marketing so it’s going out to the crowd where we don’t see that there’s any difference between the people especially for the products. For example, toilet paper is usually marketed to the masses. It is something that everybody uses and we don’t necessarily need to market it any differently to a man or a woman. Now, that doesn’t say that we haven’t seen ads out there that may target females mainly because they’re usually doing the purchasing in the household.
  • Differentiated Marketing: This is the second type of marketing with a differentiated target market. Here, we are identifying various segments that have commonalities between them. When we identify this, we have a better understanding of how to actually market to them.
  • Concentrated Marketing: This is the third type of marketing where we have a defined market similar to the niche market that we discussed earlier.

There are various steps used in selecting a target market. The first one is to identify your objectives. What are the objectives of your company? Who are you trying to reach? Why are you even in business? These objectives needs to be identified to determine who you think you want to market, and then collect and analyze their data on a particular set. For instance, if you want to market in Brisbane or in Sydney then you’d want to get the demographic data of those areas. You can then start to narrow down to make sure they have a population big enough to market to. You get that data and you analyze it, so you can identify the segment.

If you’re in a small town which might only have about 85,000 to 100,000 people, you’re going to have a different data set of different numbers than you would have being in a city such as Austin Texas which has about 1.5 million people. So you need to make sure that you can access that data and then see if there are different segments which you can also target.

By identifying the various segments, you will be able to write specific promotional material targeting each segment. Here is an example. An organization that I am affiliated with had an event that would cater to the technical people in I.T. and also had very interesting information for small business. The topic was cybersecurity. So we had those two markets to target. And what we actually did wrong was we used the same copy for both markets. Though our overall attendance was good, the information that was shared was incredibly important to the small business community but the language we used in the promotional material was too technical.  In the future, we will have two different pieces of promotional material using the appropriate language for each market.

There are four aspects that determine if you have a suitable target market.  First, is it measurable? Is there data available that you can actually measure the size of the market?  Many businesses assume that if they are in a big city, they are in a big enough market to survive. Assume nothing!

Secondly, you need to determine whether the target market is large enough for you and also your competitors to exist. If you have a lot of competitors in that space and you are in a small region, the town may be too small for both of you to exist and thrive. You may realize that it’s going to be quite challenging to break through your competitors especially if they’ve been around for quite some time.

The third thing is to determine if that market is ‘reachable’.  Can you actually reach the market that you want to, through various marketing activities?  How do they want to be connected? Is it through the Internet? TV, radio, print – for example, letterbox drops?

The last one is “Are they responsive?” Now that you know your data is measurable, large enough, and reachable. The question is will they actually respond? Will they purchase what you are trying to offer them?

SEGMENTATION

There are a number of issues for segmentation.  The first and second basis is the geographic and the demographics. So first off you want to identify where you are going to offer and promote your product/service. When we talk about demographics, we’re looking at the age, income, gender, and ethnicity.

target segmenetationThe third basis for segmentation is psychographics.  In psychographics, we are looking at what the consumer’s state of mind is. Are they outer directed? Are they inner directed, needs driven or combined? Outer-directed is pretty much two thirds of the population around the world and they live under the direction of what others think so they’re less apt to be committed to the activity and spectator status. The inner directed are those people who satisfy their inner needs rather than other people’s expectations. The needs driven are people who are driven by more basic needs and get little satisfaction out of work and non-work activities.

And then you might have the combined, it`s more integrated. These people are much more tolerant, more understanding and they’re able to see the big picture.

The fourth basis for segmentation is product usage, which is divided into three areas: Usage frequency, usage function, and usage situation.  Usage frequency refers to how often the product is used, regardless of the product functions used, or the different applications for which the product is used.  Usage function refers to what extent the product features or functions are utilized by the customer, regardless of how often the product is used. Lastly, usage situation refers to the different applications for which a product is used, and the different situations in which a product is used.  (Ram & Jung, 1991).

The last basis for segmentation is product benefits.  What is the benefit the person is looking for when considering to purchase the product?  For example, each person may have a different driver when purchasing an athletic shoe.  One person may want the benefits of durability whereas another person may want the benefit of how it looks or the brand perception.

In summary, it’s important to identify the target market you want to promote too. You need to consider if it’s worthwhile segment in your market. By doing this you will then have a clear idea that what you want to target will have impact in the promotional activities that you’ll want to do in the future. Hopefully you’ve gotten some information on how to identify your target market and this will help you move forward in developing your promotional activities.

References:

Ram, S., & Jung, Hyung-Shik. (1991).  How product usage influences consumer satisfaction. Marketing Letters, 2: 4 (1991): 403-411.  ONLINE: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00664226

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