If you sell goods and services for individual use, it’s likely that you sell directly to the consumer market. Unlike the business market, the consumer market makes purchases for their own use, not for resale. Learn to define the consumer market for your business and understand when you need to segment the market. This will help you to reach your consumers more effectively.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
A consumer market makes purchases for their own individual use and is characterized by their demographic, behavioristic, psychographic and geographic aspects.
Understanding the Characteristics of Consumer Markets
Consumers have different likes, dislikes and needs which are affected by four main characteristics: demographic, behavioristic, psychographic and geographic. These aspects affect what kinds of products consumers are more likely to buy and which brands they are more likely to be loyal to.
Identify your consumer market by defining these characteristics:
- Demographic: This includes age, gender, family status, occupation, income, education, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, social class and nationality. This is the foundation for understanding your target consumer.
- Behavioristic: This characteristic defines the way consumers behave towards products. It includes benefits they are looking for, how often they plan to use the product and how ready they are to make a purchase.
- Psychographic: It’s important to understand what kind of lifestyle your consumer lives. This includes their activities and interests, their attitudes and their opinions. It also covers their personal values.
- Geographic: This characteristic relates to where the consumer lives. It can include the region or climate, as well as how densely their area is populated and how large it is.
By understanding these four main characteristics of your consumer market, you can become more familiar with what their needs are and how your business can meet them. Use market research and focus groups to ascertain the characteristics of your target consumer market.
Segmenting the Customer Market
In order to target your consumers effectively, it’s important to segment them to better understand what they are looking for. Market segmentation helps your business to better cater to consumer needs, allowing you to build brand loyalty and earn repeat customers.
Segmentation of the customer market can involve creating products designed specifically for that subset of customers. For example, if your business makes hand-made shoes for babies, a way to segment the market is to create shoes especially for premature babies whose feet are smaller than newborns.
Market segmentation can also involve communicating the benefits of your products differently to differing groups of consumers. The message can be tweaked to appeal to your target, while the product can remain the same. For example, if the shoes are made with recycled material, you can tout that as a main benefit to consumers who value environmentally friendly business practices. However, for consumers who care more about style, you can discuss the unique designs as the main benefit.
Reaching the Target Consumer Market for Your Business
Once you have a solid understanding of who your consumer market is and how you can segment them to better appeal to their needs, it’s time to create a strategy to reach them. How will your business share your benefits with your target market so that they will be compelled to make a purchase?
The consumer in the marketplace is bombarded with marketing messages from several different brands, many of which may be your competitors. In order to make your marketing efforts stand out, it’s important to do your homework and carefully craft your campaign:
- Go where your consumers are: Target your marketing efforts where you will get the most views. If your target market is seniors who are not web-savvy, don’t create a social media marketing campaign, for example.
- Tailor your messaging: All consumers don’t have the same interests, so don’t try to appeal to them with the same messaging. Be sure to carefully craft what you’re going to say based on the interests and needs of your market segment.
- Measure your results and make a pivot: Always track your efforts to see whether or not they are successful. Make small changes to reassess your campaign until you find the results you’re looking for.
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.