Your Target Market Checklist

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This is a long overdue addition to my series of checklists on knowing your marketing environment. You can also check out the first two blogs in this series; Your Secret Shopper Checklist and Your Customer Satisfaction Checklist.

When it comes to your target market we need to determine who these people are and then learn as much as possible about them so we can motivate them to buy. Sometimes, this is easy and other times it is incredibly difficult.

For example, if you sell maternity clothes then your target market is obvious. But it’s not so simple to figure out what motivates them. These women could be 20 year olds or 40 year olds. It could be the first baby or sixth. Maybe they work, maybe not. Rich or poor? Excited to be a Mommy or giving their baby up for adoption…the list goes on and on. Finding a marketing message to motivate all of these women is tough.

No matter how big or small your target market, the first step is to define and describe your target market. In doing so, I recommend descripting 80% of your target market. Trying to encompass every possible buyer is nearly impossible and we really want to focus marketing on the most likely purchasers.

With that in mind let’s look at some major factors to consider in defining your target market. Keep in mind that not all of these items will apply to your business and you may have additional factors specific to your business.

Problem: Every product or service is purchased to solve a problem. What is the problem you solve and who has this problem?

Demographic: This includes age, gender, income level, occupation, education, family circumstances (who in the family holds the purse strings?), and ethnicity.

Geographic: Brick & mortar stores must define geographic limitations whereas ecommerce sites will have few such limitations.

Social-Cultural Environment: What are the views or beliefs your target market has? This includes their views on themselves, others, society, politics, nature, religion, etc.. What are these peoples core values? What is their personality?

Technological Environment: The latest research tells us that 84% of Americans have access to the Internet, which means that most people have untold access to information about your products or services. But we do have to be careful to consider access and usage to technology. For example, marketers often make the mistake of assuming everyone is on Facebook but only 66% of American men are on Facebook. Check out more social media demographics here. You’ll also want to look at overall use of technology for your target market and even what type of devices they use.

What about B2B? If you sell to other businesses your task is even more complicated because you have to consider both the people and the organization. Take some time to look at the items above and think about each of the key people in the organization. The demographics and worldview for the gatekeeper and the decision maker may be very different, but both are critical to understand.

In terms of the organization, its’ important to look at some additional characteristics including:

– Industry
– Organization size and age
– Company scope (local, regional, global)
– Number of locations
– Type of facility or equipment
– Purchase approach (buyer/seller relations, purchase history, structure, decision making process)
– Business environment

Now you can see why it took so long to get around to writing about target market; it is complicated! Nonetheless it is crucial to making the most of your marketing budget and improving sales. Why waste marketing dollars on someone who won’t buy?

Of course, knowing your target market is just the one piece of effective marketing. Even when your market is perfectly defined, it can still be a challenge to create a marketing strategy that will reach and motivate your target market.


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