Your Target Market Goal—Stop the Shotgun Approach
What’s your target market and how do you plan to reach out to it? All too often, companies and business owners use the shotgun approach; they throw their marketing dollars in every avenue they can think of, hoping something will work. Trust me, I’ve worked for companies that actually encouraged their sales teams to use the shotgun approach: throw as many shots as you can and eventually something will stick.
What they typically forget is one of the fundamentals of business—creating their target market.
Why is creating your target market so important? Creating your target market allows you to strategically build your product or service, market that product or service, and sell that product or service directly to your ideal customers. Customers are what drives your business. Let’s face it—without customers, you don’t have a business.
As a business owner, you should know your customer. Ask yourself these four basic questions:
1. What are the traits of my customer?
2. What things are important to them?
3. Where are they located geographically?
4. What medium do they use to look for offers, reviews, or referrals?
If you can answer these questions you’re ahead of most small business owners. The answers will allow you to drive your business, market, and even strategically plan for future growth of your business. Let’s look at the answers to the questions above for a trendy coffee shop customer:
1. Traits of Our Customers
- Young professionals
- Technologically savvy
2. Areas of Importance
- Value for price
- Latest technology
- 15-mile radius
- East and north of Coffee Shop
- Yelp reviews
- Google reviews
- Social media
The owner of Trendy Coffee Shop now has a good understanding of his or her customer, what is important to them, where they live, and how to reach them. This provides the owner with the ability to market a product that meets customers’ needs directly to his ideal target market through a medium that is more likely to reach them and ultimately convert them to buying customers. Mr. Owner of Trendy Coffee Shop may utilize a medium such as Instagram to offer the weekly “buy one trendy coffee get one free for a friend.” In the image he may show the trendy shop, filled with young professionals, taking advantage of the offer, drinking their coffee in the Trendy Coffee Shop mug with a friend while on their technological devices. He’s now marketed directly to his target audience through a medium they use and provided them with the image with the things that are important to them. This is just one brief general example of what creating your target market can lead to.
Think about your ideal client or customer. Ask yourself these questions. You can drill down even further once you’ve mastered the basics. But this is a great start.
Defining your target market will also directly impact the type of marketing your company will do. Imagine you’re a Pediatric Dentist. You probably wouldn’t advertise in an AARP magazine. Does it seem obvious why in this example? If it does you’re on the right track. Defining your target market gives clear direction to your marketing approach. What if we answered those same questions for the Pediatric Dentist?
- Parents of children aged 2-18
2. Areas of Importance
- 45-mile radius
- East and south of Practice
- Family and friends
- Google review
- Social media
Did you wonder why the target market wasn’t children 2-18? In this case, we aren’t targeting the children. They don’t typically make the decision to visit dentist office. Their parents do. So our target market in this example are the parents. Why would we target working parents? Dental care is a benefit provided by most employers. Did you notice the areas of importance are very different to that of the Trendy Coffee Shop customer? Again, as businesses we have to provide what’s important to our client and convey that message to them. The staff and office environment should provide all of the areas of importance to parents. The mediums are slightly different as well. Instagram may work for a coffee shop. A parent may rely more on Google reviews and their friends for advice on selecting a dentist for their child.
So before you change or add a product or service line, before you begin your next marketing campaign, make sure to define your target market. Then you’ll be ready to build your business based on the product, service, and customer your business is truly about.