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Defining Your Target Market

Have you ever heard the saying that you can’t be all things to all people? In the business world, this couldn’t be closer to the truth. If you set out to create a product or service that will work for everyone, you won’t succeed in the end. It’s impossible to market one specific product or service to everyone, because people want and need different things based on their demographics, behaviors, and various other factors.

In order for small businesses to effectively compete with larger businesses, it’s important for them to find their target market and work to build strong relationships it’s members.

If you’re like a lot of small business owners, you might have read the first paragraph of this blog and are now wondering “What is my target market?” We’re here to help you figure that out. If you’re still trying to find your niche, read on and learn how to market to that group of people.

Analyze your Current Customers

See what kind of people are already buying your products or paying for your service. First, consider demographics: Male/Female? Do they live in the city or in the suburbs? Age? Married/single/divorced? Do they have kids at home, grown kids, or none at all? What is their occupation or their income level? What’s their education status? Then, consider what the experts call “behavioral and psychographic attributes”, or things they do often/ways they act. Do you own a nice restaurant and consider your customers to be foodies who eat out often? Do you own an organizational service and see that most of your customers work long hours or consider themselves to be messy and disorganized?

Find the commonalities between those who are already buying from you. Chances are, those people should be your target market. Others like them would probably be interested in your products or services as well, and by marketing to them, you can be sure that you’re spending your marketing budget with a higher chance of profit.

Understand What Problems your Business Solves

People buy your product or use your service because you’re fixing a problem that they have. Think back to the attributes we talked about earlier. An organization company solves a problem for people who are too busy to organize themselves. Another example might be a retail store that specializes in business clothing for young college grads and those starting jobs for the first time. If you didn’t solve a problem, people wouldn’t be buying from you. Consider what your business has to offer and who stands to gain from it. Those people are the ones you want to target with your marketing efforts.

Consider your Competition

It’s always important to look at your competition and see how what you offer is different and unique from what they do. Why is your offering better? It might be a simple answer— maybe your office is closer for people who live in a certain neighborhood. Maybe your product is slightly less expensive, or maybe people are willing to pay more for your customer service experience. Whatever that advantage is, promote it! Reach out to those who would benefit from your business and make sure they know why your product or service is the most beneficial option for them.


Target markets should be very specific, but they shouldn’t be so specific that there aren’t enough people in that group to justify spending money on marketing to them. Recent college grads who are starting their first business job within the Charlotte metro area is an awesome target market. Recent college grads from a NC college who are starting a business consulting job and will make more than X amount in the South Park neighborhood ….that’s a little bit too specific.

Once you think you have a great target market, ask yourself some of these questions: Are there enough people that fit my customer description? Are these people going to be interested in my product and can they afford it? What information can I learn about this group that would help me market my product more effectively to them? What marketing channels are most accessible to this group?

Although defining your target market might take some time and effort, it’s well worth it in the end. Defining your target market is the difficult part; after it is decided, you will have a much easier time developing a marketing strategy and determining how you’re going to reach out to those people. In the marketing world, one size doesn’t fit all – make sure that your marketing message is effective in reaching those who will be most interested in your product. The rest will be a piece of cake.

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