Knowing your target market is pivotal to most marketing and operating business decisions. From creating your brand image, designing your products, through to all your marketing decisions, and even defining your SEO.
It is no wonder how important it is to clarify and hone this important aspect of your business. It is central to all your core issues and can make or break your business.
A target market is a group of potential customers, sharing common characteristics, who are most likely to purchase your product and have customer loyalty to your business.
If you want to not only create new customers but also retain them, then defining this market is critical to your long-term success.
It is also important to continually keep reassessing this market especially in our current world of increasing technology, rapidly changing trends, and industry developments.
Target markets and target audiences are often confused to be the same thing. However, a target audience is actually a subset of a larger target market.
A target market defines the group of customers that you plan to sell your products to. A target audience is the more specific subset of that group that your individual advertising should be aimed at.
For example, you may be an artist who designs cards and invitations (your target market) however your products include wedding invitations, holiday greeting cards, and children's party invitations. Each one of the latter will have a different target audience.
If you find your business spreading too thinly, to increase your time, cost, and production efficiency, sometimes it may be wise to determine your most profitable core business and focus on that area to improve profits and customer loyalty.
The terms, target market and target audience, however, can sometimes be used interchangeably, but it is important to understand the differences and that audiences are a subset of markets.
Creating target personas is a great way to hone in on your ideal customers and to keep this forefront in your mind when creating products, defining your marketing, branding, SEO, and placement of your products.
Try and create a complete picture of your ideal customer, including details of their likes, dislikes, age group, gender, income range, shopping patterns, needs, buying pains, hobbies and other activities, what media do they read, watch and participate in.
Do this for 4 or 5 different personas that represent those who will buy and remain loyal to your business.
Whether you want to go into this in a big way or just for a better picture of who you are (or should be) selling to, it is important to at least make a start. Any insights are better than nothing, and may give you many ah-ha moments along the way.
Sometimes we may think we know who our target market is, but often with more actual data, we find that we have missed something important or may find better options and ideas for what products to offer.
Defining your target market is not the be-all and end-all, and sometimes can have some slight disadvantages such as closing you off to new potential opportunities, so it is important to combine this with other analytical tools.
The most important thing is to keep revising your data on a regular basis. In this way you should capture developments in the overall market, potential niches, buying trends, and ultimately what new or revised products to create to enhance your income.
Here's a quick questionnaire to help guide you. Write down as many answers to each question that you can think of.
Milleflore Images specializes in photography, graphic design, and stop motion video, with on-trend themes for designers and online marketplace sellers. We love to create imagery, such as product mockups, shop banners, listing videos and social media sets, to help your business grow.
Annie, of Milleflore Images, the author of these articles, has a Bachelor of Business, diplomas in photography and graphic design, and a background in accounting, marketing, and business consulting.