If you are asked who your target market is, and you find yourself using the word ‘everybody’ anywhere in your response, then this post is for you.
Without question, the most successful businesses that we speak to are the ones that really understand, know and love their target market.
Your target market are the people whose particular need you are fulfilling with your product, service or business.
These people, who are for the moment, potential customers, share one or more characteristics that identify them as having the kinds of needs that your business can solve a problem for, or provide a product or a service that adds value to them in some way. They may not even be completely aware that they have this need, yet.
What was your starting idea? What inspired the product or service and became the purpose of it’s existence? Chances are, it solved a particular problem or filled a need - potentially even a gap in the market.
So why can’t ‘Everybody’ be a target market? Perhaps you have the ultimate product - one that crosses all the usual boundaries of gender, age, geography, usage.
Take toothpaste for example.
You’d think that would definitely have a target market of ‘everybody’ wouldn’t you? Well, no. Next time you visit a supermarket, take a look at how much diversification in product you get, even within the same brands, (not to mention the competition!) for this seemingly, straightforward, functional product that everyone should be using. What do I mean by diversification? I mean there is a toothpaste for all kinds of people, as opposed to everybody.
There are fresh breath toothpastes, toothpastes for sensitive teeth, coloured stripes, tartar control, whitening, stain removing, dentures, natural, fluoride, gum protective, different aged children’s toothpaste, flavoured toothpaste, all in ones, small, medium or large sized toothpastes, toothpaste pumps ...and so the list goes on, and so it will go on as long as the manufacturers identify slight differences in what people want and need in a toothpaste.
Everybody does not need your product and service. Someone needs it.
Someone who is of a particular age, mindset, experience, with certain kinds of income, and quite possibly in a particular geographic area. They may be experiencing a particular life event, have family, or none at all. They use specific kinds of transport, do a certain kind of work, and enjoy some form of entertainment or leisure. And that’s just scratching the surface. What do they think and feel? What is their world view? How do they like to buy products and services? What other kinds of things do they buy? Do they travel? How will they use your product? What kinds of after-sales service will they need? There are infinite questions you could answer to learn more about your ideal customers, and every single answer defines your audience more clearly.
Don’t be tempted to answer ‘who is your target market? or who do you sell to?’ with a sentence beginning with ‘everybody...’.
Be specific. You don’t even have to be niched, although that makes finding your customer even easier. Just know why your ‘toothpaste’ exists - it is bought by a somebody who wants those particular features and benefits that suits their needs best.
Name your somebody. Draw a picture of them. Know them, love them. They are your current and future customers, and if you understand what they need by learning more about them, chances are they will be loyal to you and your products too.
Bronwyn Durand writes Marketing Voodoo for JupiterJasper, the Marketing Mentor for small businesses.