Figuring out your target market

The better you understand your target market (your ideal customer), the faster your business will grow. But many new businesses struggle to define their target market and set their market way too wide – in fact many significantly overestimate their market size. And in some cases there may not be one at all.

So how do you determine if you have a target market and who it is. Answer these key questions:

  • What are you selling, and what makes it so unique? What makes your product or service different from what they can currently get?
  • Who do you want to sell to? Are you selling to teenagers? Stay at home parents? Who?
  • Why should people buy the product or service from you and not someone else? 


These “simple” questions often frustrate business owners but they have to be answered to develop your your marketing strategy and plans.

To help you get the answers to these 3 questions, work through the following;

Understand the problem you are solving

What’s the problem that your product or service can solve? Who has that problem? Are they willing to pay to have the problem solved? Are they aware they have the problem?


Picture the customer

List all the different types of customers that suffer from the problems you can solve and start to paint a picture of them. Are they manufacturers, agents, retailers etc. What demographics define them? Where are they located?


Am I overestimating my reach?
It’s easy to assume that most people will need your service or product. But rather than make assumptions, talk to groups of potential customers to get a more realistic picture of your audience and narrow your marketing efforts. You can do via surveys, interviews or organize small focus groups.


What does my network think?
If you’re thinking you don’t have the money to get feedback from potential consumers through surveys, focus groups and other means, ask your social networks and get free feedback.


Am I making assumptions based on my personal knowledge and experience?
Don’t assume that you can think like your target market. You have to ask them and talk to them to really understand them.


How will I sell my product or service?
Your sales strategy can help determine your target market. Will you sell in a physical shop, a website or both? Will you be marketing only in your Ireland or globally?


How will I find my customers? 
As you start defining your target customers, try to figure out how you can market to them. You’ll need to do some market research and study your target audience’s demographic, geographic and purchasing patterns. What media do they use? How can you reach them? Where do they shop?


Don’t think of having a target market as excluding anyone, but rather as a way of keeping your message focused on the people who will make the most impact.


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The business was set up in 2010 by Una Ryan who identified a niche in the market for businesses who need help getting the most from their marketing efforts and business planning.

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