THE BLOG
11/08/2013 05:37 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

Exactly Who Is Your Target Market?

Just thought I would share a conversation I had recently with a recently acquired new client about their target market.

Putting it in context this is a business that has been in existence for about 3 years -- the good news is that they have survived, and in this climate that is not something to be underestimated!

However, their business seems to be reaching a plateau and they really want to bring it to the next level -- hence they have asked me to help them.

Obviously the starting point is where they are now, and we are currently doing a detailed analysis of that.

In the early part of the discussion we talked about their target market, and it struck me that it is worth sharing this conversation here with all of you as this is an exercise we all need to do on a pretty regular basis to keep our efforts on track and on target.

It became abundantly clear that this business was not as razor sharp about their target market as they should be. They had fallen into the trap of operating in a manner that anyone who could afford their products was their target market. Now I am exaggerating a bit, but frankly not too much.

The consequence is that their activities lacked laser focus. It was almost "anyone with a heartbeat and a checkbook" was worth having a conversation with.

It is no wonder that their conversion rates were poor, their marketing disparate and frankly wasted, and their message confusing. They were trying to fit into any box for fear of being excluded from anywhere. This is a common error and a real mistake! Many times this happens due to what I call "target market drift" where we start out with great clarity and then allow it to drift.

The first question I asked -- and it is always fascinating to listen to the answers -- is, what do you do? What pain do you resolve? What question do you answer? What solution do you bring? What problem are you fixing?

The answer to "what do you do?" is not a product. It is what the product delivers. So, for example, if you are a pharmaceutical company, you don't sell tablets, or medicine -- you sell the relief, the cure, the peace of mind or whatever.

So, what do you do? Have a session with your team and come to a conclusion.

Secondly, who is your target market, who do you do this "what" for? Who is your ideal client? Describe them in great detail? We are talking hear about your perfect clients. What age? Demographics? Professional? Employed? Self employed? Entrepreneur? Financial position? What are their characteristics? What sort of people are they?

You must be razor clear about your ideal target market. In my experience, many dislike this exercise as they feel it is limiting them -- the opposite is true! It gives you clarity and direction. So, are you crystal clear about your target market? Are your people? Include this in the session with your team -- you will find it quite revealing! It will also help you understand why you are not getting the results you wish!

The answer to those questions makes 2 questions crystal clear -- what do you do? and who do you do it for?

These are such simple questions they are often ignored because we all assume that everyone knows them. Please do not make this assumption because I guarantee you it will be a false assumption.

These 2 questions also start the process of identifying those things that matter to your target market.

I will develop this process in further blog posts, but I just wanted to get you thinking and to get your teams thinking.

Want any help with this? Get in touch and we will chat about it and give you some markers for this session.