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Discovering Your Target Market: The New Definitive Guide

Crafting an effective marketing strategy relies heavily on identifying your target market, as it shapes every aspect of your approach. This ranges from the development and naming of your products or services to the selection of appropriate marketing channels for promotion.

Let’s start with an important reminder: your target market does not encompass everyone unless you happen to be a behemoth like Google. Instead, your goal is to pinpoint and comprehend a specific, relevant niche that you can dominate.

The key lies in narrowing your focus while expanding your reach. In this guide, we will assist you in understanding who is currently engaging with your business and your competitors. Armed with this knowledge, you can then define a clear target market as you build and establish your brand.

What is a Target Market?

Defining a target market involves identifying a specific group of individuals that you aim to reach with your marketing message. This group consists of people who are most likely to purchase your products or services, sharing common characteristics such as demographics and behaviours.

The more precisely you define your target market, the better you can comprehend how and where to effectively engage your ideal prospective customers. While you can start with broader categories like millennials or single dads, achieving optimal conversion rates requires delving into much greater detail. There’s no need to fear being highly specific as this approach focuses on targeting your marketing efforts effectively rather than excluding potential buyers.

It’s important to note that individuals outside your targeted market can still make purchases from you; they simply aren’t the primary focus when crafting your marketing strategy. While you cannot cater to everyone, you can still sell to a broader audience. Ultimately, your target market should be based on research rather than relying solely on intuition. Your aim is to attract individuals who genuinely desire to buy from you, even if they were not your original intended customers.

How do I Find My Target Audience?

Your target market, also known as your core customer base, refers to those individuals whose desires, values, and needs closely align with what your business has to offer. These are the people who are actively seeking what you provide.

To truly comprehend your target market, it is essential to conduct research rather than relying on assumptions. This involves delving deeper into understanding who these individuals are, their motivations, and how you can effectively connect with them.

While demographic factors like age, gender, education level, occupation, and family situation provide a broad understanding of their lifestyle, it is crucial to consider the intricate details of their daily lives:

  • Where do they work?
  • What brings them joy outside of work?
  • What are their life goals?

By seeking answers to such questions, you can develop an authentic understanding of your target market instead of relying on mere speculation.

Target Market vs. Target Audience: Understanding the Difference

When it comes to segmenting customers for strategic business decisions, both target audiences and target markets play crucial roles. However, there is a distinct difference between the two. A target market refers to the specific group of consumers that a company’s products or services are designed to cater to. On the other hand, a target audience defines this group by considering factors such as audience demographics, interests, and purchasing history.

Why Should I Define a Target Market?

Why you need to define a target market

To ensure the success of your business, it is essential to have a clear understanding of who your customers are. By knowing your customers, you can effectively target those individuals who are willing to pay for your products or services. This approach proves to be more efficient and cost-effective in reaching your customers and generating business.

Broad targeting or discovering too late that there is an insufficient customer base for your offerings can result in wasted resources. However, by comprehending your market, you can promote your products or services more effectively to the right customer group. This understanding allows you to determine where your customers are located, which media channels they engage with, their purchasing habits, and how to tailor your marketing efforts to motivate them to choose your products or services.

What is Target Market Segmentation?

Target market segmentation refers to the process of dividing your overall target market into smaller, more specific groups. This segmentation enables you to create tailored and relevant marketing messages for each group. It’s important to recognise that you can’t cater to everyone’s needs, but you can offer different things to different groups of people.

For instance, as a vegetarian, I have consumed plenty of Impossible Burgers and fall into their target customer category. However, vegetarians represent only a small segment (10%) of Impossible Foods’ customer base. That’s why their national advertising campaign was not aimed at me but rather targeted meat eaters who haven’t yet tried their products. Vegetarians and meat eaters have distinct reasons for opting for plant-based burgers and have different expectations from the experience.

Target market segmentation ensures that the company reaches the right audience with the appropriate message.

Exploring the Four Types of Target Markets with Examples

To ensure the effectiveness of their marketing efforts, businesses need to categorise their focus areas when segmenting a specific market. Success relies on correctly classifying target customers into the following four categories:

Geographic Segmentation: Targeting by Location

How geographic segmentation is used for target market idenfitication

Businesses often make strategic decisions about which markets to target based on the location and nature of their products or services. This form of target market segmentation recognises that different consumer groups in various geographic areas may have distinct needs for specific products or services.

For instance, a company manufacturing waterproof paint designed to protect home exteriors during heavy rainfall would find the most suitable market in regions experiencing consistently high precipitation. By utilising factors such as country codes, postal codes, area codes, cities, provinces, or states, companies can identify appropriate locations to effectively market their offerings.

Demographic Segmentation: Targeting Based on Customer Characteristics

Before determining the ideal consumer group to focus on, businesses need to conduct thorough research on the population. This enables them to make informed decisions based on accurate data, allowing for the accurate definition of target markets and the identification of appropriate customer segments based on age, gender, economic level, race, religion, education, marital status, and other relevant demographics. For instance, if a company specialises in selling beer, it would strategically plan its target market strategy to cater to individuals aged 18 to 50.

Psychographic Segmentation: Targeting Based on Consumer Psychographics

Psychographic segmentation takes into account the lifestyle choices of individuals in a specific geographic area where a company intends to conduct advertising campaigns and introduce new products. Factors such as personality, attitude, interests, values, beliefs, and socioeconomic status play a significant role in identifying potential consumer bases.

For instance, when a company plans to launch a pet product, it recognises that its target customers will predominantly be individuals from the upper and upper-middle socioeconomic classes. As a result, the company’s marketing efforts would primarily focus on targeting this specific consumer segment as their key clientele.

Behavioural Segmentation: Targeting Based on Consumer Behavior

To gauge the performance of their products in specific demographics or social settings, businesses need to have a comprehensive understanding of consumer behaviour. This entails examining buying habits to determine how well their products can meet consumer needs in terms of features and usability, which are crucial factors influencing purchasing decisions. By analysing consumer behaviour, companies can align their offerings to better cater to the preferences and requirements of their target market, thereby enhancing their chances of success.

How Can I Define My Target Market?

What are the steps to identifying your business’ target market?

Step 1: Gathering Data on Your Current Customers

A crucial initial step in defining your target market is to analyse the characteristics of your existing customer base. By understanding who is already using your products or services, you can identify common traits and preferences to target similar individuals. Depending on how customers engage with your business, you may have varying amounts of information about them.

It’s important not to burden your order or opt-in process with excessive questions solely for audience research purposes, as this can frustrate customers and lead to abandoned shopping carts. However, utilise the information naturally acquired to identify trends and averages. Your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system can prove to be a valuable resource in this regard. Additionally, utilising UTM parameters combined with Google Analytics can provide useful insights about your customers.

Consider collecting and analysing data points such as:

  • Age: While specific ages may not be crucial, understanding the general age range of your customers can be highly valuable.
  • Location (and time zone): Knowing where your existing customers reside helps target geographic areas and determine optimal customer service and sales support hours. It also aids in scheduling social ads and posts for maximum visibility.
  • Language: Don’t assume that your customers speak the same language as you or the dominant language of their current physical location.
  • Spending power and patterns: Evaluate the purchasing capacity and behaviours of your current customers within your price category.
  • Interests: Gain insights into your customers’ hobbies, TV show preferences, and interactions with other businesses.
  • Challenges: Identify the pain points your customers face and understand how your product or service addresses those challenges.
  • Stage of life: Determine whether your customers are college students, new parents, parents of teenagers, retirees, or in other specific life stages.

If your business focuses on B2B products, your categories will differ slightly. Consider gathering information about the sizes of businesses that purchase from you and the job titles of the individuals who typically make buying decisions. Are you targeting CEOs, CTOs, or social marketing managers?

Incorporating Social Data: Enhancing Target Market Insights

Social media analytics can significantly contribute to your understanding of the target market. Even if they are not yet customers, social media analytics allow you to identify and comprehend the individuals interacting with your social accounts. These individuals display an interest in your brand, and social analytics can provide valuable information to uncover the reasons behind their interest. Additionally, social analytics may reveal potential market segments that you may not have previously considered targeting.

Social listening is another valuable tool that can assist in identifying individuals discussing your brand or product on social media, even if they are not following your accounts. This enables you to gain further insights into the broader conversation surrounding your brand.

When aiming to reach your target market through social advertisements, lookalike audiences prove to be an effective approach. By leveraging lookalike audiences, you can effortlessly expand your reach to individuals who share similar characteristics with your most valued customers.

Incorporating social data into your market research provides a comprehensive view of your target market, helping you make informed decisions and tailor your marketing strategies more effectively.

Analyzing Competitors: Understanding the Competitive Landscape

Now that you have identified your own customer base and their interactions with your business, it’s essential to examine how your competitors are engaging with their target audience. Understanding your competitors can provide valuable answers to key questions, such as:

  • Are your competitors targeting the same market segments as you?
  • Are they reaching segments that you may have overlooked?
  • How are they positioning themselves in the market?

While you may not obtain detailed audience information about individuals interacting with your competitors, you can gain a general understanding of their approach and assess the level of engagement they generate online.

By conducting this analysis, you will gain insights into the target markets your competitors are pursuing and evaluate the effectiveness of their efforts within those segments. This knowledge will contribute to your understanding of the competitive landscape and assist in refining your own target market strategy.

Unveiling the Value Proposition: Communicating the Benefits of Your Product

The crucial aspect that every marketer must comprehend is the distinction between features and benefits. Merely listing the features of your product will not persuade potential customers to make a purchase. To convince them, you need to clearly explain the benefits they will gain.

Features refer to the characteristics and functionalities of your product, while benefits highlight the positive outcomes and improvements it offers. How does your product enhance someone’s life, make it easier, or provide a more captivating experience?

If you don’t have a comprehensive list of the benefits your product offers, it’s time to start brainstorming now. While crafting benefit statements, you will naturally uncover fundamental information about your target audience.

For instance, if your service assists people in finding reliable pet sitters while they are away, it’s reasonable to assume that your market comprises two primary segments: (1) pet owners and (2) existing or potential pet sitters.

If you’re unsure about the precise benefits customers derive from using your products, consider conducting surveys or social media polls to gather their insights. You might discover that people utilise your products or services for purposes you hadn’t even considered, which could potentially reshape your perception of the target market for future sales.

Crafting an Effective Target Market Persona

Crafting a precise target market persona is the next step in the process. This involves consolidating all the information you have gathered so far into a concise statement that defines your ideal customer. While this is typically part of creating a brand positioning statement, let’s focus on crafting a statement that clearly outlines your target market.

When crafting your own target market statement, incorporate the key demographic and behavioural characteristics you’ve identified. For example: “Our target market is [gender(s)] aged [age range], living in [place or type of place], who enjoy [activity].” Feel free to adapt these identifiers to suit your unique market. You may find that gender is irrelevant, but you have three or four critical behaviours to include in your statement.

If you offer multiple products or services, it might be necessary to create target market statements for each market segment. In such cases, defining buyer personas can be helpful.

Our guide on creating the optimum marketing strategy can help you create target market personas if you want to explore this topic in more depth.

Leveraging Your Target Market Analysis

How to utilise the results of your target market analysis

Once you have completed your target market analysis, it is important to put that valuable data to good use. Here are several ways in which you can effectively utilise the insights gathered to grow and enhance your business:

  • Product Development: Identify any gaps or unmet needs in the market and strategize on developing new services or improving existing offerings to address those areas.
  • Niche Markets: If your analysis uncovers underserved customer groups, consider shifting your focus towards these untapped markets instead of directly competing with your rivals for the same customers.
  • Expansion Opportunities: Assess your local market to identify areas that are currently underserved. This can open up opportunities for expansion, such as franchising or establishing new locations to cater to those markets.
  • Pricing Strategy: Analyze your competition to determine if your pricing is competitive and aligned with market expectations. Adjust your pricing strategy accordingly to ensure you are not pricing yourself out of the market or undervaluing your products or services. Click here to view our helpful guide on creating a pricing strategy for your business.
  • Curation: Avoid overwhelming customers with too many options. Instead, specialise and focus on offering a curated selection of top-selling and exclusive items. Streamline your inventory to cater to customer preferences and eliminate redundant or low-demand products. Read more about curating the perfect website for sales.
  • Marketing: Build your marketing strategy around your target market. Utilize the insights gained from your analysis to determine the most effective channels and messages to reach and engage with your customers. Continuously refer to your analysis when implementing new marketing initiatives to ensure they align with your target market’s preferences and expectations. See our list of innovative marketing ideas here.

By leveraging the findings of your target market analysis, you can make informed decisions that lead to business growth and success.

Target Market Example

An artistic target market example

Let’s examine a case study that illustrates a targeted marketing approach. Meet Jon, a talented artist with a captivating collection of paintings. Jon’s goal is to sell his artwork to business professionals in the city. Aware of the competitive art market, Jon has dedicated considerable effort to ensuring the uniqueness of each painting.

To gain valuable insights into his target market’s preferences, Jon conducted social media surveys and implemented promotional campaigns even before his paintings were available for sale. Through this research, he discovered that city-based business professionals were seeking artwork with a distinct artistic style.

Considering various demographic factors, Jon decided to position his paintings as fine art. In his marketing campaign, he specifically targeted middle-aged business workers who desired an original and striking piece of art to showcase in their homes.

Thanks to Jon’s strategic marketing endeavours, his sales surpassed expectations, demonstrating the effectiveness of his targeted approach in reaching and engaging his desired customer segment.

This example showcases how Jon’s proactive market research and tailored marketing efforts resulted in a successful outcome, emphasizing the importance of understanding the target market and aligning marketing strategies accordingly.

Defining Your Target Market: Tips and Tricks

Define your Target Market by Focussing On Your Customers

Identifying Customer Needs: How Your Product Meets Demands

Implementing a Funnel Approach to Marketing entails employing a strategic methodology to systematically navigate your marketing endeavours, guiding potential customers through various stages of the purchasing process. Here are some valuable suggestions for effectively utilizing the funnel approach:

  1. Awareness Stage: Begin at the top of the funnel by concentrating on generating awareness regarding your product or service. This necessitates arousing interest and capturing the attention of your intended audience. Employ diverse marketing channels like social media, content marketing, and advertising to reach a broad spectrum of individuals and introduce your brand.
  2. Consideration Stage: As prospects progress to the middle of the funnel, engage with them and furnish more comprehensive information about your offering. This stage involves potential customers evaluating their alternatives and comparing various solutions. Utilize persuasive content, customer testimonials, and targeted messaging to emphasize the unique value provided by your product or service.
  3. Decision Stage: At the bottom of the funnel, the objective is to convert prospects into customers. Here, it becomes crucial to emphasize the benefits and advantages of your offering while addressing any concerns or objections they may have. Offer incentives, discounts, or limited-time promotions to stimulate purchase decisions and ensure a seamless and convenient buying experience.

By implementing a funnel approach, you can adeptly steer your target audience from initial awareness to ultimate conversion, thereby guaranteeing a more efficient and effective marketing strategy.

If you’re looking to implement a highly effective sales funnel, I’d recommend reading our article for more information. Alternatively, if you’ve already created a working sales funnel, read this guide on how to optimise it to bring you more sales.

Utilizing a Multi-Stage Funnel for Market Selection

How to apply a marketing funnel to your target market research

To streamline the market selection process, CEOs can employ a multi-stage funnel approach. Imagine the process as a series of philtres that progressively narrows down the target audience. Here’s how it works:

  • Gender: If your product or service is specific to a particular gender, start by filtering your audience based on gender. This immediate segmentation helps focus your marketing efforts and tailor your messaging accordingly.
  • Age Range: Consider the age range of your target audience. For instance, if you specialise in surfboards, targeting octogenarians may not yield significant results. By narrowing down the age range, you can direct your marketing towards individuals who are more likely to be interested in your offering.
  • Income Level: Assess the income levels of your potential customers. Different income brackets often align with distinct purchasing behaviours and preferences. For example, a family purchasing a Kia likely falls into a different income bracket than a family purchasing a Lexus. By understanding the income level of your target market, you can tailor your pricing, positioning, and marketing strategies accordingly.

By applying this multi-stage funnel approach, you can identify the intersection where highly interested individuals with the ability to purchase your product or service converge. This targeted focus increases the efficiency and effectiveness of your marketing efforts, leading to better results and customer engagement.

Emphasizing Key Value Propositions

To effectively highlight the value propositions of your product or service, it’s crucial to identify the specific demographic groups that prioritise those values. For instance, if your company manufactures a baby stroller that is easy to fold into a compact and portable shape, you need to determine which types of parents will highly value this feature. It may be parents who frequently travel and require a convenient stroller for their journeys.

On the other hand, if you produce a DSLR camera that is rugged and resistant to drops and water submersion, your target market might consist of outdoor enthusiasts who prioritise durability and reliability in their gear. Regardless of your offering, it’s essential to outline the core values your product embodies and establish connexions between these values and the demographic groups that place significant emphasis on them.

Obtaining Data: A Key to Informed Decision Making

Harnessing Surveys for Market Identification

Surveys can be a powerful tool for identifying potential markets and gathering valuable data. Whether through email blasts, newsletters, or the assistance of a marketing firm, conducting surveys allows you to collect demographic information that can help correlate positive responses with specific target groups. By leveraging surveys, you can gain insights into potential markets and better focus your marketing efforts.

Harness Existing Data Strategically

When your business operates in a market with similar products or services, it’s crucial to conduct thorough research. Take advantage of existing data to gain insights into the demographic groups that are purchasing these products, their buying patterns, and the specific products that are most popular. Online sources provide a wealth of information to give you a macro view of your potential customer base.

Additionally, you can create a micro view by conducting your own market research. For example, spend time at a local coffee shop and observe customers’ orders, noting their age, gender, ethnicity, and preferences. Pay attention to peak hours of activity as well. By analysing this data, you can tailor your marketing efforts to effectively reach your target audience in the coffee industry.

Look to your own network for data

When you’re in the company of family and friends, take note of the products they use. Consider whether they would be interested in purchasing your own product or service. Asking simple questions like, “Would you use this?” or “Do you have a need for this product?” can provide you with valuable data.

Additionally, you can leverage your network of business colleagues, funders, and mentors. Request their input and ask them to thoroughly examine your product or service, even trying it out for an extended period. They may surprise you with insights into target markets you hadn’t considered and innovative ways for those groups to utilise your product.

It’s essential to gather diverse perspectives as you develop your marketing efforts. The ultimate goal is to make it easy for your target demographic to see how your product fulfils their needs. By analysing multiple sources of data and continually identifying your target customers, you can maximise your return on investment (ROI).

Frequently Asked Questions

Understanding Target Markets

Target markets refer to specific segments within the overall market that consist of individuals, households, or organisations with distinct product preferences and budgets. These segments are the intended audience that a business aims to sell its products and services to.

To effectively reach and engage these target markets, businesses employ segmentation strategies based on factors such as location, demographics, psychographics, and purchasing behaviour. By understanding and targeting specific market segments, businesses can tailor their marketing efforts to resonate with the needs and preferences of their intended customers.

Steps to Identify Target Markets

In order to effectively identify target markets, businesses must undertake comprehensive market research and industry analysis. This involves segmenting customer groups based on their specific needs, interests, and buying habits. By examining market competitiveness and assessing product pricing, businesses can gain valuable insights into potential target markets.

Market research plays a crucial role in understanding consumer behaviour and preferences. By conducting thorough research, businesses can gather data on various demographic factors such as age, gender, location, income level, and lifestyle. This information helps in identifying the specific customer segments that are most likely to be interested in the product or service.

Industry analysis is equally important in the process of identifying target markets. It involves evaluating the competitive landscape and understanding the dynamics of the market. By analysing competitors’ offerings, market trends, and consumer demands, businesses can gain a better understanding of the opportunities and challenges within the market.

Furthermore, businesses should also consider their own unique value proposition and how it aligns with the identified target markets. By assessing the distinctive features, benefits, and competitive advantages of their products or services, businesses can tailor their marketing strategies to effectively reach and engage their target audience.

In summary, identifying target markets requires a strategic approach that involves thorough market research, industry analysis, and a clear understanding of the business’s value proposition. By employing these strategies, businesses can effectively identify the most promising target markets and tailor their marketing efforts to resonate with the needs and preferences of their target audience.


Now that you’ve successfully identified your target market, learn how to create a great go-to-market plan, or see the 40 things you need to do before launching your business.

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