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Finding your target market will save you money by allowing you to focus advertising efforts on consumers most responsive to your offers. It is important to design a clear and highly detailed customer profile. Marketing to too many consumers at one time will result in wasted time and effort. The most effective marketing campaigns target a specific type of customer and communicate with them in the particular ways they prefer.
Identify potential customer groups. You can target to both businesses and individual consumers, depending on your offerings. Think about whether your product is designed for organizations, businesses, government agencies or individual consumers. There is no need to limit yourself to one customer group in your marketing efforts. For instance, you may want to target textbooks both to schools and to individual consumers in the homeschooling market.
Analyze the competition. Look at the specific target markets of your competitors to benefit from their market research efforts and learn about consumers in your target market. Try to find a specific niche in the market — especially one that all the competitors are currently neglecting. The most underserved markets will be the most profitable for you.
Search for demographic data about consumers in your industry. Check the Internet, news publications and library books to learn more about the needs of your industry. Relevant demographic data include the age, race, sex, marital status, education and income levels. If you sell wheelchairs, for example, you will find that most of your potential customers will be older people, but your research may also uncover an underserved demographic in the wheelchair industry, such as children.
Discover the proper communication methods for your target market. With so many different ways to reach potential customers, you should tailor your particular communication methods to your target market. If you are marketing to a younger demographic, social media tools — such as Twitter and social networking sites — may be the most effective; older demographics might prefer to talk on the telephone or receive marketing communications from a simple email marketing campaign.
Look at the actual buying history of your target market. The most reliable indicator of a customer who will make future purchases is one who has already made similar purchases in the past. Amazon markets new books to its customers based on their previous purchases of similar book titles. It is difficult and expensive to bring new customers into the market. The purpose of targeting your market to habitual buyers is to spend your marketing efforts on the most lucrative customers who are most likely to take advantage of your offers.
Brian Gabriel has been a writer and blogger since 2009, contributing to various online publications. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in history from Whitworth University.