Target Markets Don’t Work

20 August 2014

What is a target Market?

A target market is a defined group of customers with shared characteristics, whom a company wishes to sell its products and services to. Defining a target market, also helps a business determine where to direct their marketing efforts.

Every good business owner knows that defining your target market is critical. However, what we’ve found, consulting businesses, is that most of them don’t know just how specific they should be getting so that their marketing is bringing in the perfect people.

Let’s take the target audience “interior designers in London”. That sounds pretty specific, right? Not specific enough. In fact, that’s pretty much a loose target.

Why target markets don’t work

When you market your product or services to everyone, in actual fact, you are marketing to no one. This is because your messaging is too generalised, your reach is not targeted and it can be overwhelming for your audience as you try to get in enough points to speak to everyone at once.

This leads to unclear marketing efforts, potential customers ignoring or not digesting your marketing message and overall a disjointed marketing strategy.

So how should you be targeting your potential customers?

Target markets redefined

Try to think of it this way: Marketing is not 1 to many. It’s 1 to 1, many times.

What that means is that you should not be marketing to an audience. In fact, you want to communicate with an individual. And then you want to do that over and over again.

How to define a target audience

When trying to define your target audience, instead define your target person. Who is your ideal customer or client? What kind of things do they like? What are their challenges? What are the ways that they communicate with the rest of the world?

An easy way to begin defining this person is by taking an ex-customer or client – or even a current one – who was the best one you’ve ever had. If you can, interview them and find out as much detail as you can about their lives.

Target audience checklist

If you’re struggling to define your target, here are a few rules of thumb when trying to choose that perfect person:

  1. First and foremost, it is important that your perfect person is likely to want to use/already uses a product or service like yours. For example, if you are trying to market a brand new technology, you should consider the age/profession of your target. It is unlikely someone in an older generation who has always worked in manual labour, is going to be as receptive of your new product, as a young entrepreneur of an IT start up.
  2. The target person should be easy to communicate with (responsive to marketing). At this stage, you may simply have to consider which channels will be most valuable for your marketing strategy.
  3. The target person should pay you a reasonable price with what they purchase from you (high average £ value). At this point, you should also consider the income range of your potential target. It would not be sensible to market high end cars to a younger audience or people with a high level of debt.
  4. The target person should not have a long lead time for decision making (short sales cycle). You should consider the various stages of the buying cycle and target your messages to those further through the process.
  5. The target person should be likely to come back and buy from you again and again (Repeat Business).This does not necessarily have to be a repeat purchase of the same product, but could refer to brand loyalty. For example, if launching a new laptop, you could target those using mobile phones on the same OS.

Whilst many of these points may seem to be common sense, they can often be overlooked when you are attempting to grow your customer base. It can be tempting to ‘go after whoever you can’ in an attempt to make more sales – But this simply doesn’t work.

Once you start building up that perfect person, you can then realise how to communicate with them on a personal level – and convince them that your product/service is the solution to their problems. And once you can convince that one perfect person, you’ll realise that everyone else who responds to your marketing is also another perfect client or customer.

If you would like to discuss any of the points covered here, please feel free to request a free call below.

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