Written by: Courtney Brown, Account Executive
Identifying your target market is the first step in building a successful marketing plan. No one can afford to target everyone. Focusing your marketing dollars on reaching the audience that is most likely to buy from you is a much more affordable and efficient way to get your message out. To identify your target market, look at your current customer base, see what your competitors are doing, perform outside research, and define specific demographics.
In 2011, Wannemaker’s Home & Garden needed their brand repositioned in the market to reflect its 40 years of success as a family-owned and operated small business in Downers Grove, Illinois – with a reputation for variety and unusual selection. Wannemaker’s was known for freshness, vibrancy and customer service—and needed to get that message across to a targeted group of people.
How did they do it?
Look at your Current Customer Base
Look at your customers shopping in your store; identify what types of businesses tend to buy your product or service. For Wannemaker’s Home & Garden taking a look at their current customer base meant identifying who came through their checkout lines, who had signed up for their email list, and who was ordering products. They found that their typical customer lived within 15 miles, owned their own homes, and were aged 35-65.
See what your Competitors are Doing
Not only is this the best way to spark creative ideas, but often times competitors are a mirror of ourselves. Don’t just look to your direct competitor down the street – look at like businesses that geographically can’t compete with you. For Wannemaker’s, we looked for locally owned garden centers nationwide known for the same differentiators as them – family-owned, quality and unique products. Identifying your competitors target market helps provide you with a comparison and benchmark in identifying your own.
Perform Outside Research
Doing market research doesn’t always mean spending large amounts of money hiring experts, conducting focus groups, or performing large-scale surveys. For Wannemaker’s, we stopped 50 customers that came into the store and asked them to spend a few minutes telling us why they shop there. Not only did this help us understand their differentiators, but it also helped identify whom we should be targeting. Wannemaker’s high-quality products are one reason why people prefer to shop there, but not everyone can afford that kind of an investment. Therefore, we needed to reach an audience with an above-average household income.
Define Specific Demographics
Now that you have a lot of insight into who your customer base is or should be, you need put that information in quantifiable demographics. Some of the basic demographics that segment markets are; Gender, Age, Profession, Household Income, Geographic Location, and Renters v. Owners. Based on the information we had from Wannemaker’s we established their key demographics to be; People who owned a home within 15 miles, were aged 35-65, and had a household income of at least $100,000.
By establishing your target market, you can begin to look for marketing channels that are likely to reach that audience. Direct Mail can be segmented to lists that match a variety of demographics. Magazines and newspapers have endless information on their readership. Look for matching demographics and spend your marketing dollars there. Just because you are trying to reach a specific demographic doesn’t mean that you are excluding another – you are just hedging your money on the group most likely to buy from you.
Did you like this article?