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The 5 Questions You Should Ask to Identify Your Target Market

Posted by PCC Small Business Development Center on May 26, 2017

identify your target marketIf you own a small business, or you’re thinking of starting one, you may believe the best way to market your business is to get your message out to everyone. The more people you can reach, the more sales you can achieve, right? The problem with that approach is it’s a bit like trying to catch all the fish in the sea. If you try to do that, you’re going to waste time and resources. That’s why you need to identify your target market. The most effective and efficient way to market your business is by focusing on the group of consumers that is the best fit for your product or service — the ones most likely to buy what you’re selling. The Small Business Development Center has put together a list of 5 questions you should ask to help you identify your target market.

1. Who is your target market?

Identify the demographics of the consumer who is likely to purchase from you — age, gender, occupation, level of education, income, marital status, ethnic background. Ask yourself questions such as “what is your business, who is your customer, what do they value, and how do you know?” 

2. What are their behaviors?

For example, you may want to determine whether your customer is the type who likes to set goals and carefully plan their activities or if they tend to be impulsive. Understand their values — family, religion, lifestyle.

3. What are their interests?

Identify the things that get their attention and what they are passionate about, for example, their favorite sports team, favorite past time, or favorite form of entertainment.

4. What are their purchase behaviors?

Identify the types of products, services, and features that your customer is interested in buying. Determine whether they are likely to buy your product or service more than once, whether they will buy it on a seasonal basis, or if they are likely to be regular, repeat customers. Understand the circumstances that drive your customer to buy, such as the need to replace an item, an impulse purchase, or something they save for. Think about what will drive customers to purchase from you instead of your competitor.

5. What’s the best way to communicate with them?

Identify the marketing channels where your customer likes to receive marketing communications. Determine whether your marketing strategy should focus on digital or more traditional channels such as print, or if your approach should be an omnichannel or integrated strategy.

>> Learn more about Marketing for Entrepreneurs

So, how do the answers to these 5 questions help you develop an effective marketing strategy?

Understanding your target market saves you money by helping you choose the right channels for delivering your message. Instead of casting a very large net aimed at catching all the fish in the sea, you are able to use a smaller net deployed in a strategic way. Advertising aimed at your target market is more efficient and increases ROI.

Having a clear view of your target market saves you time by helping narrow the focus of your messaging.

Identifying your target market helps you compete more effectively. By focusing on a smaller and more targeted audience, your business can serve customers better.

Understanding your target market is essential for effective and cost-efficient small business marketing. It helps focus your message and enables you to choose marketing channels that reach the people most likely to buy what you’re selling. As a result, you save time and money, and your brand becomes more competitive.


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The Oregon Small Business Development Center Portland Community College has  helped thousands of businesses over the past 40 years. We combine one-on-one  advising with programs taught by business experts, giving our clients the  resources they need to grow their businesses. We’ve celebrated many successes  with our clients. We'd love to celebrate your success. 

Topics: Small Business, Growing a Business

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