If the world of business were a simpler place, you wouldn’t need a target market or use target market examples as a reference point.
You could create a product, appeal to a few general wants and needs and boom – you’d be successful.
Business isn’t like that.
The most successful companies in the world have a clear target market. Their lead generation is more effective, their customer service is more helpful, and their product sells faster.
How do you find your ideal target market?
What is a target market anyway?
What strategies can you use to appeal to your target market?
This post will help you answer those questions and share target market examples so your business grows faster and more efficiently.
What is a target market?
A target market is a specific group of potential customers within a business’ entire addressable market that they choose to sell to. The business creates marketing materials, ads, and products that appeal to the group they’ve chosen.
Why does it even matter?
A while ago, it didn’t. There was little choice and little competition in the marketplace. People bought what they could find and were happy about it.
Now, there’s an almost unlimited amount of choice, people see thousands of brand messages, and buyer’s remorse is real. As a small business, it’s important to focus your limited resources on the group of people who’re most likely to buy.
Companies like Coke have the budget and resources to market to everyone but even it chooses to go after a specific target market with many of its products.
GLACÉAU Smartwater is a brand owned by Coke. It targets people in urban centers in their early 20s to late 40s who’re more health conscious. It has the resources to market to almost everyone but decided to gain market share by focusing on a specific group.
Marketing, branding, and sales decisions are easier because it’s not trying to appeal to everyone. The focus is on a small core group of customers who are responsible for the majority of sales.
How to define your target market
Many companies fail before they figure this part out because they use a shotgun approach to find their target market. If they find one that sticks then they stay in business. If they don’t then they’re added to the 90% of companies that didn’t make it.
There are countless ways to define your target market but in the end, it depends on your products, price points, and goals.
For example, Acme Inc. sells high-end accessories that range from $500 to $2,000. Its products last for a long time but there’s a high level of satisfaction amongst customers. It can use a number of criteria to define its target market such as income and interest in luxury goods.
Age and location wouldn’t be as useful to them because that’s not a determinant of whether or not someone will buy their products.
Here are a few ways you can begin to define your target market:
The fastest way to find your target market is to communicate with the people who already buy from you.
It may not be feasible to call every one of your customers on the phone. You also don’t want to do all the work of building a compelling product page then lose the sale because you asked for too much information up front.
A survey is a great way to bridge that gap. Ask questions that will help you define what your target market looks like. If gender is important then use the survey to break down what the gender mix is. If income or type of business matters then be sure to ask questions that give you a better idea of that info.
A few general data points you may want to capture are
- Family breakdown
Take a look at this post on psychographic segmentation and demographic segmentation to get a better idea of the kind of information that would be useful for defining your target market.
Your analytics tools
You are using analytics tools to understand how people are interacting with your website and social media accounts – right?
Of course you are.
In Google Analytics, you can find basic demographic information by clicking audience > demographics > overview.
If you’ve not done so already, you’ll need to activate this feature.
Social media platforms also provide analytics for you to dig into. For example, your Instagram account provides information about the location, gender, age-range, and best time of day to reach your followers.
Each platform gives you different information and you may even attract different audiences on each one. Check the analytics for all social platforms where you have a decent amount of followers.
It’s always better to ask customers directly but when that’s not possible then your analytics information is the next best thing.
Look at what the competition is doing (use with caution)
Take this suggestion with a bit of salt. It’s important to know who your competition is and what they’re doing but never imitate them outright.
Only use this method when you’ve done preliminary research and have an idea of who your target market is. The goal is to determine if your competition is going after the same market as you and whether they’re reaching segments you’d like to go after.
The information you gather will be topical at best because you don’t have access to their data. You can get a general sense of what they’re doing and how it’s working. That’s enough to decide whether or not you’d like to double down or change directions.
Test different messaging
At this point, you have a pretty clear idea about who’s using your products and services because you’ve asked them directly and have done your own research.
This will help you create a hypothesis about different messaging you can use and find a unique value proposition that resonates with your target market.
I say hypothesis because, until you test them, they’re educated guesses that haven’t been proven or disproven. The way you go about proving them is through systematic testing.
Create a series of landing pages that use different messaging you think would appeal to your target market. Set up social media ads or search ads that match the messages on the landing page and measure how well people respond to each one.
Measure conversions, not clicks.
Strategyzer is an online business education platform that helps small businesses and enterprises reach their goals. It was hosting a 2-day workshop with Alex Osterwalder and wanted to fill up seats so it turned to Facebook.
In the above image, very few people were able to connect with the message and the company ended up spending over $4,000 to acquire a single customer.
It later changed the ad copy and focus of the message.
The cost of acquisition reduced from over $4,000 to roughly $123.
Continue researching and testing
Your target market may change over time. It might be clear now but that may not be true in six months, two years, or the next decade.
That’s not a bad thing but it’s something you should be well aware of.
Your customer mix changes, your products evolve, and consumer preferences shift. Together, these factors may change what your target market looks like. Revisit the information you’ve gathered often to ensure you have the most accurate description.
Target market examples
It’s difficult to find target market examples because it’s not something that’s publicized like a mission and vision statement. With that being said, there are a few iconic target market examples to pull from.
The first one comes from Apple.
It created a series of commercials that compared Mac to PC. Mac was a hip young man while PC was the opposite. These ads targeted PC users as well as those who were looking to buy a PC. From the language used and the way the characters were depicted, it was clear Apple was targeting a young tech-savvy demographic.
Corona is a popular beer company but its massed produced and doesn’t have much flavor like a craft beer. Because of that, it can be marketed to a large group of people who drink beer. Their messaging seems to focus on a younger crowd that’s out drinking casually with friends.
Mercedes is one of the most successful car companies in the world and have cars that range from a few thousand dollars to over a million dollars. A single target market example is more difficult to pin down because, technically, it doesn’t have one. It has many.
In the following commercial, Mercedes uses humor and a bit of awkwardness to appeal to a young professional market while highlighting key features.
Target market strategies
There are a few target market strategies you can use after you’ve identified the groups most likely to buy from you.
Focus all your attention and energy on a single market segment. This can be a good strategy when there’s a market that responds much better than any other or you don’t have the resources to go after multiple target markets at once.
When you gain ground in your key segment and expand your business operations, you can move on to the next strategy.
This is ideal when you have multiple products or multiple target markets that respond well to your messages. This takes a lot of resources. If you’ve not differentiated in this way before or haven’t gained considerable ground in your first target market then it may be best to hold off on the multi-segment approach.
Multiple product businesses lend themselves to this strategy but it’s not a requirement. You can market a single product in a different way to multiple target markets.
A target market example from Vonage is health organizations. Vonage provides business phone services to everyone but it creates specific messages for each market it targets. It has a specific page for health organizations where it uses languages that relates to the industry.
You can position your product to appeal to multiple segments or you can create a product for only one segment.
Rela creates software that small business owners use to build microsites and generate leads. The features are peculiar to the needs of real estate agents. As the product develops, it continues to add tools for the target market instead of all small business owners that need a website.
There are two ways to market your business.
- As the solution to any and everyone’s problem
- As the solution to a problem that a specific group of people has
It’s been proven time and again that choosing a target market is one of the best things you can do for yourself.
Because you’re able to create products, services, and messaging that appeals to a specific group as opposed to every one.
Use this post as a springboard for choosing the perfect target market for your business.
Let me know what you think of the target market examples in this post and how you’re using them to grow your business.