The process of defining a target market is arguably one of the most important steps when establishing a company. How can you truly market yourself and your business if you don’t know who it is that you’re marketing to? Every company has a unique target market of consumers. Forever 21 is not remotely concerned with appealing to 65 year-old-men just as Men’s Warehouse does not spend its time or money trying to appeal to 19-year-old girls.

After it is defined, your target market should be considered during your company’s decision making. This process can be tedious, but will save you time and money.

Determine the Problem

Who needs you, anyways? The first step in determining your target market is figuring out what need you are fulfilling or what problem you are solving. Amazon simplified the online shopping experience, and Uber gave you an on-demand ride, so what does your company contribute to the world? Being able to show empath and understanding toward your target market’s daily concerns and needs goes a long way.

Create a Customer Description

Now that you have defined the problem to which your company offers a solution, it’s time to ask yourself what group of people have that problem. Many marketers and business owners go above and beyond in creating a vivid picture of their target market, even going as far as finding a photo of their considered target customer and giving them a name. And there are two key areas to consider when creating this description.

1. Demographics – Considering demographics is key in determining how to appeal to your target market. What is their gender? How old are they? Where do they live? Do they have children? Primary ethnicity? Explore as many different facets as possible when it comes to the demographics of your customer. For example, a company that sells anti-aging cream would probably find that most of their customers are middle aged women with yearly income in a middle to high range. Based on this information, the company can decide on appropriate packaging and marketing tactics that would appeal to that demographic.

2. Lifestyle – What does your target customer do on Sunday afternoons? Are they at the gym? Are they at the beach? Exploring the habits and psychographics of your target customer is essential in understanding how your product or service fits into their lifestyle. What are their hobbies? Preferred social media platforms?

Uncover Your target customer’s motivations

Now that you understand your company’s purpose and your target customer, it’s time to put the two together. What motivates your target market to respond to their needs and what will motivate them to choose your company to fulfill them. Understanding motivations enables you to help your consumers achieve their goals as you achieve your own goals. Is your consumer looking to grow their own business? Are they looking for a way to save a few extra bucks? Maybe they are motivated by providing for a family? Understanding the motivations of your target customer will help you help them.

Go forth and Conquer

We have defined the what, who, and why of your target market.

  1. What need does your target market have?
  2. Who has this need?
  3. Why/how are they motivated to fulfill that need?

With the information you have gathered from responding to these questions, you are able to not only define your target market, but also to understand your individual target customer.