Today’s world is noisy – and smart. Consumers and businesses have a wealth of information and research at their disposal every second of the day. Businesses are challenged with navigating through the ‘noise’ and reaching their client base. It takes consistency and creativity to stand out among other brands. Planning your marketing strategy appropriately saves both you and your customers time and money. The key steps of defining your target market, diversifying your content and continually reaching your client will keep your brand top of mind.
What is a target market?
Easiest said: it’s your customers. A target market can be defined in several ways: specific interests, habits, needs, demographics, lifestyles, passions, industries, etc. In the end, it’s who will purchase your product and pay for your service. They will think of your brand first.
How to define your target market
Knowing and defining your target market takes time, research and decisions. Your first step is to research. As much as you would like your target audience to be “everyone,” it’s not. Your company has a product or service that solves a particular person’s problem or matches a need. Research will tell you who these people are, where to reach them, and how to appeal to them. Match these needs with your expertise.
The second part of the equation is deciding with whom do you want to do business. What does that persona look like? Make it specific. You can have a number of personas for different market segments. Each of these segments, or audiences, can be reached through different channels. They will respond to a different message. The more specific your target market, the easier you will be able to find them, reach them and influence their purchasing decision.
Narrow down the definitions of your audiences. How does this market think, act, decide, engage, entertain, work? What is important to them? Do they live in the same region? Are they married? Are they independent decision makers? What needs do you satisfy in their world? What is relevant to each segment in your target market? Define each audience in your target market in as many ways as you can. This will help you determine how to reach them, what message to send, what product or service will meet their needs, and what responses you can expect.
From here, you can lay out your marketing strategy, which may include print, direct mail and digital content marketing.
Is your target market really who you think it is?
The only way to know if your target market is truly who you believe it to be is by analyzing your results. Who is purchasing your product? Does it match the audience are you targeting? Who are you engaging online? Do the profiles match the personas you outlined when defining your target market?
Profile your existing customer base. Continually research who promotes your brand and who brings a profit to your company. Segment your existing customers into similar categories or audiences. You may find that you need to create landing pages from different marketing campaigns to track customer reach. Are there trends in purchases made? Do your sales correlate to your advertising or content strategy? Is the audience purchasing from you also the market that you are targeting?
Can you re-define your target market?
If your analysis identifies gaps in your target audience, there are many ways you can re-define your target market and segments. Ask yourself the following:
- What needs does your product/service fulfill?
- Which customers value your product/service most?
- Are there any other needs that your company can meet for your existing audience?
- Are there audiences that purchase a competitor’s product? Are you missing them?
Reviewing these questions regularly will help your company stay focused on your target market while identifying further profitable gaps. You may need to tailor your brand to multiple audiences. Online reach, calls to action, landing pages, and purchases give you data to help you effectively manage your advertising budget.
Engage with your target markets
Outlining a target market and specific segments is only a first step in your marketing strategy. The execution of the plan comes with the consistent message your brand sends. Return on investment comes when you reach your client and influence their purchasing decision. Personalize your message to each audience with words, visuals, and engagement.
Use proper media channels and events to reach each market segment. Essentially, you need to know where your target market is – where do they learn, socialize, interact and live? Some audiences respond more from direct mail. Networking and trade shows may promote your brand to other businesses and specializations. Social media channels engage different audiences with specific lifestyles.
Regardless of the media chosen, two key points to nail when crafting your message: be personal and be consistent. Your marketing strategy serves one purpose: to tell your target market what problem you can solve. Make a connection that will last.