Target Your Core Market
I once heard of bit of advice from a direct marketing guru that
sticks with me to this day: Before deciding WHAT to sell, determine WHOM
you’re going to sell it to. What he was suggesting was to first find an
audience--the people who can and will buy your products or
services--and then decide how to create or modify your offerings to fit
that marketplace. In other words, target your core market. Your BEST
Having a target market is one of the best ways to focus your business.
Ivana Taylor, of DIY Marketers, has targeted small businesses without
marketing departments. Her offerings are not for every businessperson
who can fog a mirror. That focus allows Ivana to craft her messages to a
specific target, making her more relevant and making her own marketing
efforts more efficient.
How about the super-crowded non-cola and energy drink space? There are
drinks for gamers, athletes, college students, you name it. Now there’s a
new wellness beverage called ZAZY; an upstart drink aimed at the aging
female demographic, supplies calcium and vitamin D supplements to a
female’s healthy diet. While available only in New England for now, what
better way to cut through the clutter than to BE only for a specific
When you see the How-to-Branding.com Toolbox, it designates that the
following content is a tool, exercise, or technique you can use to help
develop your affordable brand strategy.
How to Target YOUR Market
Here are four easy steps to targeting the ideal core market for your small business.
your target market have a need that only you can fulfill? Are they
willing and able to spend money for your product or service to solve
their specific need? Does your background and experience point to this
specific audience as being ideal for your offerings? A Conservative Café
is a coffee shop for, wait for it, conservatives. The Indiana-based
café claims that it’s “coffee served right.” Do conservatives NEED their
own coffee shop? Who knows? But Conservative Café thinks so.
the size. Is your target market large enough to sustain your business?
Don’t worry about precise numbers, because as in the United example
above, your brand will also attract an aspirational audience; those who
want to participate even if they’re not considered your target. Take
Seventeen magazine. While the publication’s strategic target is young
girls around 17 years of age, their actual market is young girls aged
13-15 who want to act like they’re 17.
- Is your
target market, well, target-able? If you can’t find them, you can’t sell
to them. What does your desired target audience read? Where do they
hang out? Who else competes for their loyalty and devotion? Even an
iconic brand like Harley-Davidson can reinvent itself by remaining true
to its roots, but appealing to niche audiences through creative
marketing and social media approaches. Once the domain of inner-rebel
and CEOs, Harley is reaching out to younger demographics, women, and
Hispanics—each on their own turf and in their own “language.” And these
vertical audiences are find-able.
- Do you have a
passion for this target audience? If your product or service is for
accountants who work for nonprofit associations, you better make sure
you LOVE accountants who work for nonprofit associations; that you can
relate to them and that you can pour your energy into serving them and
making their lives easier. The target audience for Freshpet (fresh,
refrigerated dog and cat foods), is well-defined: empty nesters age 45
to 54 with household incomes of $100,000-plus. “These are people whose
kids are now busy with high school or off at college or in jobs now, and
who are now lavishing their affection and attention on their pets,
which they basically view as their ‘children,’” says Freshpet VP,
marketing Kathryn Winstanley.
The benefits of
selecting a target market for your business are many. But before
choosing a core audience, ask yourself these two critical questions: Is
my product or service relevant to these people? Will these people care
about what I have to offer?
What to do when the competition seems overwhelming
Return to Identifying Target Markets for Your Brand