Establishing Your Market Positioning: Start With Your Target Market
If you’ve heard the phrase before you may have asked yourself, what is a target market? Your target market is not a complicated thing, but it’s important to know who yours is! There are all types of target market groups, but knowing the details of who is in yours can make ALL THE DIFFERENCE in the success of your marketing efforts.
Don’t let yourself get bogged down with terminology like target market segmentation or market positioning. The basics of evaluating your target market are straightforward and whether you are selling a product, running a blog, or offering a professional service – it’s important to know who you are trying to reach with your marketing.
So let’s look at the basics of what a target market is, why it is important, and work on defining who yours is.
What is a target market?
Put simply, a target market is the group of people that you are trying to “sell” to. It really is that straightforward. Whether you are selling a product, your influence, content, or a service – there is a group of people that you are trying to engage. There is no cookie cutter or difinitive target market example that fits each business, and target markets can range in size from very small and specific to very encompassing and large. Competitors may share similar target markets, but because a target market is generally specific to each individual business, it’s important to figure out who YOURS is!
Why is knowing your target market important?
Knowing who your target market is is extremely important because it guides the direction of all your marketing efforts. It also often guides details of how you set up and administer your business from the ground up!
For example, let’s say you are opening a small cosmetics shop featuring trendy new makeup at affordable prices. You have the option of renting store space on a street corner in town or in a small building right outside a women’s dorm on the nearby college campus. If you know your target market (which most likely is young women for a cosmetics company) then choosing a location central to that market is a much better choice for your business! Does it mean you’re doomed if you choose the street corner instead? Not necessarily. But you will most likely see much more success if you are located right on the foot-path of young women with an interest in beauty on the college campus.
That may seem like an obvious target market example, but you get the idea – knowing who you are trying to reach with your business helps to define your business decisions and ESPECIALLY your marketing strategies and plan.
Who is your target market?
So let’s get down to the application for your business… who is YOUR target market? You might know right away or you may have to think about it for some time. Every business is different and for some it is far more clear than for others.
Note: Even if you are a part of a multi-level marketing company and they have defined your target market for you somewhat, I challenge you to think for a few minutes for yourself about who exactly you want to reach and sell to in your business. Just because a company you are partnered with has a general target market it does not always mean that you share the exact same target market.
For example, let’s say that you are selling boutique clothing with a multi-level marketing company. They may have a target market of all women of all shapes and sizes ages 18-70. Probably that whole range of women could potentially have interest in the product. However, YOU, as a smaller leg of their overall marketing channel, YOU may want to target a smaller or more specific range of women. Maybe it makes sense for you to target other moms, to target career women, or to target heavier or slimmer women. You get the idea. If you are marketing the clothing (or other MLM product), then it is a good idea to define who you are trying to reach individually. It will help you to streamline your efforts and attract a loyal following.
For some businesses their target market is one specific group of people. For some it is a couple different groups that are connected by a common thread. If you feel like you have two very different groups of people that you want to try to sell your product, service, or knowledge to don’t get discouraged. You may be able to find a common thread that binds them together where it still makes sense to target both groups – or you may find that it’s going to pull your business in too many different directions to target both groups and to move forward well you will need to stick to one. If you’re torn between two very different target market groups it helps to try to think ahead a little bit to how you would market to them both. If the modes of marketing to them both are too different it may not make sense to try to keep both as targeted audiences.
The more you can narrow down the specific details about your target market the better it will serve you as you develop a marketing strategy and plan, but at the least I would encourage you to think through the below attributes of who you are trying to sell to:
Their age range
Their general income level (middle class vs. wealthy, etc.)
Their life situation (ie. are they in college, moms, career women, etc.)
Their interests (where does this group of people focus their attention and/or spend time?)
It’s OK if there’s a range within your target market on some of these answers like life situation and interests – but if you do your best to generally answer the above details about who you are trying to reach with your business, it will help you to reach them well!
No matter what scale of business you are jumping into (or already pursuing), I highly encourage you to take a few minutes and write down and define your target market and some of their attributes.
If you know WHO you are trying to sell to or reach with your business you will be far more equipped to develop a plan for HOW to reach them!
NEXT: After you’ve defined your target market, read on here to learn how to begin creating your marketing strategy.