SCORE

No business can be all things to all people. Instead, you must reach specific customers and satisfy their particular needs. As an entrepreneur, you must identify those customers and understand as precisely as possible what they want.Who's your target market?

Having presented many workshops to new and existing business owners, I continually hear that they truly believe everyone on the planet is a potential customer for their business.  That couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Look at major corporations. The ones that are growing and making money have their products and services segmented out even though they may cross over. Proctor and Gamble (P&G) have 100’s of products. They know and understand who the target market is for each one of those products and market a specific product to a specific target market. That is what makes their brands very effective. If they had ads that showcased all their products at once their message would be lost and consumers would be very confused.

The process of finding and studying potential customers for your business doesn´t have to be complex or expensive -- but it is extremely important. In a nutshell, it requires you to find out everything you can about the customers you intend to pursue. Once you have that information, you´ll have a much better chance of capturing those customers for your business.

The simplest way to do this is to look at your existing customers and see who they REALLY are. Many business owners believe they are targeting one market, but when we do a deep dive on who their customers are it is not the market they are targeting.

The facts you need to know about your target market fall into these three categories:

Demographics

Begin your research by checking the demographics of the region you plan to target. You´ll want to know the population´s make-up in terms of age, gender, income level, occupation, education, and family circumstances (married, single, retired, and so on).

To find that information, you´ll probably need to visit the local library (can be done online if you have a library card). Good sources available at most libraries include:

  • Country and City Data Book, published by the U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Survey of Buying Power Data Service, published by Sales and Marketing Management

For National:  U.S. Census

(Also, Google, "marketing data" with whatever lifestyly target market

Geographic and Lifestyle Factors

Give some thought to where and how your target customers live. Are they Southerners or Yankees, urbanites, suburban soccer moms, or country-folk? Are they risk-takers or conservative; athletes or couch potatoes; spenders or savers? The answers will help determine what you can sell to them, how you should sell it, and at what price.

Customer Needs

Consider all the reasons why people might buy your product or service. For example, say you´re opening a string of health clubs. Will your customers come to meet other people, to take exercise classes or to play racquet sports with their friends? Find out by talking to people in the local fitness industry and by quizzing friends or acquaintances who go to health clubs. Then you can design and market your club accordingly.

Once you´ve considered the key demographic factors, you can begin to assemble a customer profile, a more focused statement that describes your target market in detail. Consult that profile when you make decisions about issues such as what products and services to offer or advertise; how much to charge for various products and expansion plans.  We could get into other areas such as Psychographics-looking at your consumers based on their activities, interests, and opinions. It goes deeper than demographics.

For now, who is your true target market?

Is your marketing speaking to them or someone else?   

Contact SCORE today to get matched up with a Mentor who will help you in your business.

About the Author(s)

 Steve   Feld

Steve Feld is a Certified SCORE Mentor and a business coach.

Business Coach, Feld Business Growth
How to Understand Your Target Market for Marketing Success