The better you understand your target market, the more you’ll be able to focus your ads and reach the audience most likely to convert into customers.
Your target market sets the tone for your entire marketing strategy — from how you develop and name your products or services right through to the marketing channels you use to promote them.
Here’s a hint before we dig in: Your target market is not “everyone” (unless you’re Google). Your task in defining your target market is to identify and understand a smaller, relevant niche so you can dominate it. It’s all about narrowing your focus while expanding your reach.
In this guide, we’ll help you learn who’s already interacting with your business and your competitors, then use that information to develop a clear target market as you build your brand.
What is a target market?
A target market is the specific group of people you want to reach with your marketing message. They are the people who are most likely to buy your products or services, and they are united by some common characteristics, like demographics and behaviors.
The more clearly you define your target market, the better you can understand how and where to reach your ideal potential customers. You can start with broad categories like millennials or single dads, but you need to get much more detailed than that to achieve the best possible conversion rates.
Don’t be afraid to get highly specific. This is all about targeting your marketing efforts effectively, not stopping people from buying your product.
People who are not included in your targeted marketing can still buy from you—they’re just not your top focus when crafting your marketing strategy. You can’t target everyone, but you can sell to everyone.
Your target market should be based on research, not a gut feeling. You need to go after the people who really want to buy from you, even if they’re not the customers you originally set out to reach.
What is target market segmentation?
Target market segmentation is the process of dividing your target market into smaller, more specific groups. It allows you to create a more relevant marketing message for each group.
Remember — you can’t be all things to all people. But you can be different things to different groups of people.
For example, as a vegetarian, I’ve eaten plenty of Impossible Burgers. I’m definitely a target customer. But vegetarians are a surprisingly small target market segment for Impossible Foods: only 10% of their customer base.
That’s why Impossible Foods’ first national advertising campaign was definitely not targeted at me:
The target market segment for this ad campaign was “meat eaters who haven’t yet tried Impossible products.”
Vegetarians and meat eaters have different reasons for eating plant-based burgers and want different things from the experience. Target market segmentation ensures the company reaches the right audience with the right message.
How to define your target market
Step 1. Compile data on your current customers
A great first step in figuring out who most wants to buy from you is to identify who is already using your products or services. Once you understand the defining characteristics of your existing customer base, you can go after more people like that.
Depending on how someone connects with your business, you might have only a little information about them, or a lot.
This doesn’t mean you should add a lot of questions to your order or opt-in process just for audience research purposes — this can annoy customers and result in abandoned shopping carts.
But do be sure to use the information you naturally acquire to understand trends and averages.
Your CRM is a goldmine here. UTM parameters combined with Google Analytics can also provide useful information about your customers.
Some data points you might want to consider are:
- Location (and time zone): Where in the world do your existing customers live? In addition to understanding which geographic areas to target, this helps you figure out what hours are most important for your customer service and sales reps to be online, and what time you should schedule your social ads and posts to ensure best visibility.
- Language: Don’t assume your customers speak the same language you do. And don’t assume they speak the dominant language of their (or your) current physical location.
- Spending power and patterns: How much money do your current customers have to spend? How do they approach purchases in your price category?
- Interests: What do your customers like to do, besides using your products or services? What TV shows do they watch? What other businesses do they interact with?
- Challenges: What pain points are your customers facing? Do you understand how your product or service helps them address those challenges?
Step 2. Incorporate social data
Social media analytics can be a great way of filling out the picture of your target market. They help you understand who’s interacting with your social accounts, even if those people are not yet customers.
These people are interested in your brand. Social analytics can provide a lot of information that might help you understand why. You’ll also learn about potential market segments you may not have thought to target before.
You can also use social listening to help identify the people who are talking about you and your product on social media, even if they don’t follow you.
If you want to reach your target market with social ads, lookalike audiences are an easy way to reach more people who share characteristics with your best customers.
Step 3. Check out the competition
Now that you know who’s already interacting with your business and buying your products or services, it’s time to see who’s engaging with the competition.
Knowing what your competitors are up to can help you answer some key questions:
- Are your competitors going after the same target market segments as you are?
- Are they reaching segments you hadn’t thought to consider?
- How are they positioning themselves?
Our guide on how to do competitor research on social media walks you through the best ways to use social tools to gather competitor insights.
You won’t be able to get detailed audience information about the people interacting with your competitors, but you’ll be able to get a general sense of the approach they’re taking and whether it’s allowing them to create engagement online.
This analysis will help you understand which markets competitors are targeting and whether their efforts appear to be effective for those segments.
Step 4. Clarify the value of your product or service
This comes down to the key distinction all marketers must understand between features and benefits. You can list the features of your product all day long, but no one will be convinced to buy from you unless you can explain the benefits.
Features are what your product is or does. The benefits are the results. How does your product make someone’s life easier, or better, or just more interesting?
If you don’t already have a clear list of the benefits of your product, it’s time to start brainstorming now. As you create your benefit statements, you’ll also by default be stating some basic information about your target audience.
For example, if your service helps people find someone to look after their pets while they’re away, you can be pretty confident that your market will have two main segments: (1) pet owners and (2) existing or potential pet-sitters.
If you’re not sure exactly how customers benefit from using your products, why not ask them in a survey, or even a social media poll?
You might find that people use your products or services for purposes you haven’t even thought of. That might, in turn, change how you perceive your target market for future sales.
Step 5. Create a target market statement
Now it’s time to boil everything you’ve discovered so far into one simple statement that defines your target market. This is actually the first step in creating a brand positioning statement, but that’s a project for another day. For now, let’s stick to creating a statement that clearly defines your target market.
For example, here’s Zipcar’s brand positioning statement, as cited in the classic marketing text Kellogg on Marketing. We’re interested in the first part of the statement, which defines the target market:
“To urban-dwelling, educated, techno-savvy consumers who worry about the environment that future generations will inherit, Zipcar is the car-sharing service that lets you save money and reduce your carbon footprint, making you feel you’ve made a smart, responsible choice that demonstrates your commitment to protecting the environment.”
About Our Video Marketing Agency
Modus Film is a video production company based in Kent and London. Our services are nationwide and our video marketing agency can help you make some ground breaking content. If you want to discuss this further contact us or better yet see how video marketing can transform your current marketing mix. We are now fully PPE compliant. Plus we carry on working!
Do You Need to Talk to a Marketing Expert?
As video marketing experts we are specialists in all forms of video marketing. Here at Modus Film, we have completed many projects for our clients that have required us to define a digital strategy with really great results. If you want to speak to a specialist email [email protected] or call us on 01233 273 273.
We are still an active creative marketing agency. Video production company London, Video production agency Kent