Find your target market

How to understand and find your target market

It’s amazing how targeted your marketing can be today. If you find your target market, you can focus messaging for specific demographics so you don’t waste time or money reaching out to people who aren’t interested in your product. But despite these advances, businesses often don’t know their target market, and when asked who it is, they might (naively) say “Everyone!” However…

…you are bound to lose money at an incredible pace, if you don’t know your target market.

If you feel that something just isn’t “clicking” with who you think your targeted customer base is, then it’s time to try a few things to get back on track.

Research

Take a deep dive and look into your competition, analyze the findings, and compare it to your offerings. Are your competitors reaching a segment that you aren’t, and what are they doing differently? Are they using tactics that you could replicate, or do you want to use this opportunity to differentiate yourself?

If all your competitors offer mid-range products and services at equally mid-range prices, then perhaps pivot your business to reach for a higher-earning demographic, with premier products or more of a luxury-minded service philosophy. And while plenty of companies thrive by targeting the cost-conscious consumer, it’s a delicate balance. Too many discounts will often just bleed your profits and cheapen your brand.

Just Ask

So you’ve scoured Google for industry-related articles, competitor information, and you’ve dug into census data to pin down insights into what demographics you believe should be your target market, but you’re still feeling kind of lost? It happens. Between variations in industries, geographic locations, and demographic subsets, there’s only so far that raw data can get you. To complete the picture, you quite simply need to talk to your customers.

First, try to locate your weak spots by talking (and listening) to them. Ask about their feelings on price points, and more importantly, how they perceive your value. Next, ask about how you’re doing on customer service, and ask about marketing to see if all your efforts are even building your brand at all. Then, if possible, assemble focus groups of your “ideal” customers to test if your assumptions are correct. Otherwise, consider distributing surveys to gain further insight. Surveys gather information AND show a genuine interest in improving the customer experience, something that every shopper needs to feel a sense of loyalty.

Create a Persona

As we mentioned, assuming that “everyone” will want your product is a big mistake, but so is narrowing your focus too much. More than one niche consumer will have an interest in your business and for more than one distinct reason (or at least, there should be). So by this point, after researching and asking your customers pointed questions, you should have a better idea of who is likely to be a patron and why.

With this information, create customer ‘persona’ profiles. These profiles help capture business by grouping together the age, sex, and location, as well as income level, hobbies, occupation, spending habits, preferred brands, and motivations for patronizing your business into different ‘types’ of customers (complete with names). It’s a great way to get a more concrete understanding based on somewhat abstract information. Not everyone will have the same wants or needs, so it’s imperative to be able to position your company as a business that doesn’t do just one thing for one type of person.

Make a Change

Don’t be afraid to make changes. Maybe after all this you find that your business isn’t the right fit for your initial target market, but it’s a hit with an unexpected demographic. Maybe you’ll discover new customer motivations that hadn’t occurred to you before, but have the potential to increase your sales. Or perhaps you’ll gain solid insights into what steps you can take as a business owner to turn a one-time visitor into a loyal customer. Whatever the case, use this new knowledge as an opportunity to modify some of your business tactics, your target market, or both.

Need help understanding your target market? Contact me today for knowledgeable coaching through the process and check back in soon for pet business-specific marketing tips.