Defining & understanding your target market can help you become clear about the marketing & advertising strategies you deploy for your business. Oftentimes, I’ll get push back when I ask clients [especially in small towns] about who their target market is. They’ll say – “Well, it’s everybody.” While that might be true that your business interacts with almost everyone in town, it doesn’t mean you should be spending your time, money & energy on marketing to everyone. In order for you to grow, you must get clear on two things: 1) who your target market is and 2) how you can best serve their needs.

To get you started on deciding who your target market is, I’ve provided a list of questions around demographics, geography you serve and psychographics of your target market. You don’t have to answer all of the questions, but I anticipate you’ll have 3-6 that you have a response to. If you can identify even more, that’s great. It will help you fully understand who you are trying to reach so you can figure out ways to best serve them.

[Demographics]

  • Are you targeting males or females? Or both? Are they married or single? Is your market single individuals or families?
  • What age ranges do they fall into? For these purposes, try to think in these buckets (as will tie into some info in my next blog post): Generation Z (23 years old & lower); Millennials (24-42 years old); Generation X (43-54 years old) and Baby Boomer (55-75 years old). 
  • Are you targeting business owners, home owners, moms, dads, college-aged kids, nursing homes, etc? Think specifically about the type of people you do business with.
  • What is their education level?
  • Do they have a particular profession or income level?

[Geography]

  • Where are the people in your target market living? Be specific with towns, cities, counties, states, etc.
  • Do you serve a 50 mile radius around you? Is it bigger? Is it smaller?

[Psychographics]

  • What do the people in your target market value? 
  • Do they have specific interests or hobbies that pertain to what you offer?
  • What type of lifestyle does your target market have?

Next, I want you to think about that particular market segment/target market. List out 2-5 things happening in their life right now (with them, their kids, their lifestyle, decisions they are making, etc). Examples might include:

  • Generation Z – high school, entering college, in college, coming out of college, looking for their first job.
  • Millennial – starting out their career, getting married, buying houses, having kids, starting to care for aging parents.
  • Generation X – established in career, moving up in career, buying bigger houses, kids are growing into young adults, busy schedules with activities, aging parents, parents are dying.
  • Baby Boomers –  kids are growing & establishing their own lives, having grandkids, they are finishing out careers, entering retirement, etc. 

Now as you think about your target market(s) and where they are at in their lives, it’s time to evaluate the products and/or services you offer. How can you offer them in a way that might make it easier to do business with for your particular target market? Could you position yourself differently? Could you provide information to them that might be of service? Is there a way you could do business differently that might be of benefit to them? It’s always important to be asking yourself these questions so you can continue to evolve & grow as a business. 

An example that comes to mind is the Hy-Vee Aisles grocery pick-up service. They recognized that their customers are busy people and they find shopping for groceries an inconvenience. They figured out a program that people could order their groceries online and then either pick them up at their convenience. The smart folks at Hy-Vee put themselves in their target market’s shoes AND then adjusted their game plan to be easier to do business with. The other day when I picked up my grocery haul, I asked the person who met me at my car and he said they used to have two people that worked in the HyVee Aisles program throughout the day. Now they have TEN people dedicated to the service because of it’s popularity and convenience. It goes to show how evaluating your market, their needs and how you can make adjustments to your offerings can have impactful benefits to your business.

I encourage you to put some thought into this exercise. If you have a team, ask for their input. Write out answers, get clear on who you want to do business with and how you can make yourself easier to do business with. Here’s the deal: customers have lots of choices when it comes to doing business (including online sources), you must give them reasons to do business with you. In a world with lots of noise, you have to cut through the clutter. Understanding the market you want to serve as well as how you can serve them better is also key in evaluating what marketing tools you implement into your campaign. Be sure to stay tuned for my next blog post with tips to improve your marketing campaign in relation to your target market.

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