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How To Determine Your Target Market

How To Determine Your Target Market

It may seem the obvious choice to hone in on a target audience after the entrepreneur has poured his heart, soul, and money into the development of a product or service − that it is easier to market after the creation of said product or service.  However, just the opposite is true.

Before physically, emotionally, and financially investing in a product or service, you should determine your target audience.  By doing so, you are able to tailor your product to your audience and will find it much easier during the creation process.  After all, different products appeal to different people and if you don’t understand your market, you may find yourself struggling to sell your new product

Understanding key customer demographics helps business people refine their advertising and marketing campaigns.  For example, snowmobiles may not be an ideal investment for a teenager in Hawaii but they are a great investment for upstate New York homeowners.  Knowing a target market will increase your visibility, word-of-mouth buzz, and, in turn, your profits.  The following tips will give you plenty to think about as you consider your target market and help any identify the ideal customer for your product or service.


    1. How Will The Product Be Used?

      The first step to identifying a target market is thinking about the worth and importance of a product.  Watches and coffee mugs serve a specific purpose as do vacuums, briefcases and running shoes.  Knowing how a product is used and why it is used that way helps an entrepreneur zero in on who would buy the item.  For example, women tend to control expenses related to a household – cleaning supplies, groceries and furniture – while men often control expenses related to automobiles and technology.  A young college student will look for something different than a senior citizen, and so on.  Knowing the general group of individuals that will be using your product with provide you with the initial framework for developing your target market.


    1. Look At The Competition.

      Smart business people spend a great deal of time looking at competitors’ products – where they are sold, where they are marketed, and to whom they are marketed.  I have listened, time and again, as entrepreneurs claim they have a one-of-a-kind product or service.  And, while this may be true, there are certainly similar products on the market.  Understanding this will help you determine a marketing pitch you can use to explain what it is that sets you apart from others.  When you are ready to look at the competition, thanks to the internet, finding the information needed is easy.  Entering a few search keywords helps people look at the branding and marketing of similar items or services.


    1. Track Recent Performance.

      Before launching items, it’s smart to test them out in smaller settings like trade shows, promotional give-aways and more.  This provides another method for gauging a target market.  Additionally, past sales performance matters too.  If items have already been sold, it’s also important to think about who bought the product and in what setting.  If you are writing a book, giving a pre-release copy to a group of people for providing feedback will help you fine-tune your writing or make necessary changes to the cover.  Regardless of the product or service, receiving feedback before the actual launch will increase your chances of success dramatically.


    1. Do Research − Ask Others About Products

      In line with tracking performance, sending out surveys and asking people their thoughts on a product or service is a smart move.  This is a chance to see who is interested in the item and what their key demographics are like.  Smart entrepreneurs will track respondents’ age, gender, geographic location, education level and more.  Data is Power in the business world.  Surveys are easy to make, especially with technological advances.  Some businesses will contract this out to professional groups because they have a network of people ready to respond.  Such information can even help people improve the products labeling, aesthetics, usage and more.  Survey Monkey is a great tool to utilize for something like this.


Knowing a target market helps entrepreneurs launch their products, improve branding, and increase in profits.  Keep in mind, however, that it is always possible to expand or build on this audience.  The suggestions above are not only for the new entrepreneur.  An established, successful business is also able to benefit from these tips.  It may be that an existing product, successful as it may be, may not be as appealing to particular demographics as it has been for others.  With a few branding shifts or design changes, that product can become just as attractive to a new marketing segment as much as it has been to the existing segment.


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