The key to success with any business venture is knowing and targeting the right audience. However, while vital, any business knows that conducting target market research is a difficult task. It’s riddled with complex data sets and countless variables–where do you even begin? If you find yourself asking that question, it’s time that you begin applying this turnkey strategy to identify and analyze your target market.
The Steps to Find Your Target Market
Following these steps isn’t particularly difficult, but it can be time-consuming. If you try to find shortcuts or skip the research, you will only end up hurting your business down the road. The quality of effort you put into these stages will determine how strong your foundation is later on, which will impact the success of every marketing and advertising campaign you ever run. In other words, go the extra mile now so that you have all the information you need down the road.
Step #1: Figure Out Who Needs Your Product
The first step in identifying a market in any industry is asking who needs the product or service. If you are an established company, this step is a bit easier to complete as you can go ahead and look at your past customers. In any case, you’re seeking to find the answer to one key question: “Why would people buy from you?”
Think about the characteristics and interests that would identify a person who needs your product. Another way to figure out who may need your product is to look at who your competitors are selling to. However, you shouldn’t simply mimic them and try to compete with them for the exact same customers. Instead, work to find a niche group that they aren’t catering to.
Step #2: Segment Interest by Demographics
Once you have a general idea of who may need your product, it’s time to begin narrowing that broad audience down into segments that you can target. Age, location, and even income can all change how you market your product to customers, so you should break your audience up based on these details.
You should begin to segment your audience based answers to the following questions:
- How old are they?
- Where do they live?
- How much do they earn?
- What is their education level?
- Are they married?
- Do they have children?
- Where do they work?
Later on, when you go to advertise, you’ll be able to choose a specific segment and figure out which marketing tactics may work best to engage them. For instance, for digital marketing, the women over 50 in your target market may be easiest to find on Facebook while young adults under 25 opt for a different platform all together.
Step #3: Construct Detailed Customer Personas
After segmenting your audience using general demographic information, you can start to use psychographics, which are much more personal and unique to each type of customer you sell to. With psychographics, you can begin to build detailed customer personas, starting with one persona to represent the ideal in each segment of your audience.
Answer the following questions to begin identifying the personal characteristics of the ideal customer for each segment.
- What do they value in life?
- What are their interests and hobbies?
- What is their lifestyle like?
- What media sources do they go to for entertainment and information?
- How and when will they use your product?
- What feature is most appealing to them about your product?
One of the most common mistakes is actually breaking a market down too far. You want to segment different personas, but a good way to check your progress is to ask if two different niche markets would respond to the same messaging. If you can use one message effectively for more than one persona, you can likely make some combinations and re-group.
Step #4: Evaluate Your Findings
It is necessary to evaluate your findings because, even if they are correct based on the data you have collected, they may not always be as applicable as you’d like. This is especially true for small businesses since, most of the time, that limits the geographical region you’ll market to. If you are a small or local business, you will likely find that no one town, county, or even state has a fair distribution of the different household typologies.
To ensure success, you must ask yourself these questions:
- Do enough people fit my criteria?
- Do I understand how my target market makes decisions?
- Will the people I target truly see a need for my product?
- Will the people I target truly benefit from what I have to offer?
- Will the people I target be able to afford what I have to offer?
- Can I reach my target market easily?
If you can’t confidently answer yes to any of these questions, you need to make changes and re-evaluate. If you have determined that your target market is not big enough, try expanding your horizons and really work to identify niche markets that you can target. Listing out your product’s features and what they can offer different people can go a long way in helping you do just that.
Outsource Your Research
The toughest part of any market research is finding reliable data at scale and analyzing it down to the minute details. IronFocus enables you to step away from this time-consuming process and confidently leave it up to the experts. When you work with IronFocus, you’ll benefit from the work of industry professionals who know the likes of marketing, analytics, and data inside-and-out. Click here to learn more.
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