A guide to assessing and finding your target market

How to Assess and Find Your Target Market

Tamar Barlev

July 28, 2021 · 6 minutes

In many ghosts of Goji Blog past, we talked about “assessing your target market,” “knowing your target market,” and “questioning your target market to the point of exhaustion.” But what does that actually mean, and how do you go about finding your target market? Well, that’s a great question, and its answer isn’t to be taken for granted. So in this Goji Blog, we’ll explain what we mean when we say “target market” and why it’s essential to find and know it well. 

 

Defining the Auspicious “Target Market”

Or basically, your core customer base: the people who are best suited for your products and services and those whose needs will be most fulfilled by them. You could also think of it as how your product fits into the specific niche of the market you’re going for—i.e., where it’ll gain the most traction, excitement, and sales. 

 

Why is Your Target Market Important?

There are several reasons you want to know your target market and why you’re aiming for it. For example, you wouldn’t sell a gaming console to dolphins because they don’t have opposable thumbs. And while that example is admittedly weird, it illustrates the point quite nicely: you want to create a product with a relevant audience already in mind.

 

  1. Targeting the Right Crowd (and Niche)

    We won’t invoke the dolphin example again. That point was already made. 

    It’s essential to sell to the people who can use, need, and want the solution. And to do so effectively, it’s important to be very specific about how you define them. 

  2. Picking Your Features Wisely

    “Specificity” is a keyword in product and sales strategy. To a certain degree, consumers like simplicity, and having too many features might be confusing (not to mention cost-ineffective.) Therefore, knowing your target audience allows you to tailor your product specifically to effectively address their most significant pain points.

  3. Pricing Strategies

    Knowing your audience means you’ll understand what they’re willing to spend on your product. And while that strategy might need tweaking as more market and product testing is done, a basic foundational knowledge of who your target audience is means you know what they’re spending already on incumbent solutions (what they’re willing to pay) and, their general socioeconomic backgrounds (what they can spend.)

    These information points will help you price right and capture as much of the market as you can–early on.

  4. Efficient Resource Use

    Understanding your average potential customer means you can tailor your offering to their pain points. As we mentioned, especially in the early stages of a company, you can’t afford to spend resources on features that won’t gain the traction you’re aiming for. So, knowing what your (future) users need the most allows you to choose how you spend resources carefully.

  5. Finding Growth Opportunities

    Aha! You’ve nailed down your first few features and are gaining traction. But by getting to know your target audience so well, you’ve actually uncovered additional relevant pain points that you haven’t addressed. This is a beautiful thing—not because your audience has pain points, per se, but because you can grow and expand into solving them.

  6. Marketing and Customer Engagement for Your Target Market

    Customers respond to effective branding that represents them. Kind of like how I react to a brand voice that I feel *gets* me. It’s in our nature to relate to and like things that are—well—relatable. This is why informing your marketing and customer engagement strategy starts first and foremost with deep familiarity with your target market.

 

How to Assess Your Target Market?

  1. Analyze Your Product or Service

    First, take a deep dive into your idea or existing product. Kind of like working backward from a solution (your finished product) to the base of the problem. You can start building your knowledge—which at first will be assumptions—of your target market and defining your target demographics by looking at your product.

    1. List each feature and its benefits. So, what does your product actually do, and what problems does it solve? List out each aspect of your functionality and how it benefits the user.
    2. List the types of people who need your offering.In other words, who are the kinds of people who have the needs or desires your product would fulfill? Why do they have the problem or want you’re looking to meet? What could be some of their other pain points?

  2. Group Potential Customers into Segments

    Say you’re developing an app for gathering magicians for flash mobs. Your segments could be “social magicians” and “anti-social magicians.” The two categories do not have the same desires and needs, obviously. However, those who are social will be more likely to use your app—so you’ll probably aim for them. 


3. Identify Customer Demographics of Your Target Market

Customer demographics, or the characteristics of your customer, can be defined and segmented in many ways. There are four categories of characteristics you can use: demographic, geographic, psychographic, and behavioral. 

    1. Geographic – or location-based characteristics. Given that culture and social norms are tremendous influencers of consumption and marketing channels, it’s good to narrow down where your target audience might be.
    2. Demographic – general characteristics, such as: 
      1. Age
      2. Income level
      3. Education level
      4. Marital and family status
      5. Occupation
    3. Psychographic – basically, characteristics that shape how your customer thinks about things. These can be:
      1. Personality
      2. Values
      3. Interests and hobbies
      4. Lifestyle
      5. Attitudes
    4. Behavioral – which might be more beneficial for an established brand or company but can also be defined by interaction with other products. For example, long-time magazine subscribers who canceled their subscriptions in the last year.

 

    4. Confirm Customer Needs with Data

Here’s where your assumptions meet the truth. As we’ve spoken about in length, Goji Labs is a strong proponent of keeping assumptions to the bare minimum—as few as there can be. The initial assumptions you made about who your target audience is and their needs and characteristics should 10,017% be backed up by data. You really don’t want to waste resources on that magician app if all magicians prefer performing solo.

 

  1. Extensive, robust qualitative and quantitative data should be gathered on who you think will want your product or service and who really will want it. There are a few types you could go for here: 

    1. Primary information and marketing testing
      Distribute questionnaires and surveys in forums where potential customers might be. For example, hang out at coffee shops frequented by magicians and interview them. Test out your idea, and measure their enthusiasm and willingness to pay. 

      Primary data might require some investment on your end, yes. But, it’s essential for getting tailored feedback and gives you an advantage against competitors (who won’t have the information you do.)
    2. Existing data
      Find resources and use tools such as PewInternet, Gartner, Scarborough, Quantcast, and Google Trends (to name a few.) These information points might be available to everyone, but they could be more comprehensive and universal than your primary data. 
    3. Competitor analysis could also be instrumental. Who are your competitors’ customers or those of incumbent solutions? What are they like? What are their needs, wants, and dreamiest desires? This information could be a bit hard to come by, but one of the best sources on who will be your potential customers.
  2. Questions to ask
    After you gather as much data as you can, you can ask yourself a few questions:

    1. Will the people who fit your target audience and their buying power make the investment worth it?
    2. Does your target audience really need, be willing to spend, and can spend on your product?
    3. Do they have access and frequent marketing channels?
    4. What are the main behavioral drivers of your target audience?


5. Segment Buyers into Funnels

Based on your demographic research, you can then split up the different types of customers in your target market. Then, based on these segments, you can create buyer personas—aka, how an average customer would look. You can categorize buyer personas into types, such as “ideal, reluctant, indifferent,” and, as we so academically like to call it, “nope.”

For example, “Anti-social, six-year-old magicians in remote, underpopulated areas without public transportation” might be a “nope.” I don’t think we need to explain why. 


Segmenting these buyers can help you narrow down who you’re genuinely serving and to whom you’re truly selling and marketing.

 

How to, well…Target Your Target Market

While they could be unraveling the very fabric of our society in the long run, marketing, SEO, and social media are your friends here. These are tools that will help you get the word out—and hit the traction metrics at which you’re aiming. 

1. Assume They’re Mobile and on Social Media

Because they are.  As of 2020, 77% of Americans have smartphones.

48% of the world’s population uses social media daily (Statista, 2020), with roughly ⅔ of US adults being Facebook members. In fact, upwards of 80% of US adults below 50 use social media on a daily basis. So, yeah—depending on their demographic, they probably “‘gram,” “snap,” or “fleek.”

 

2. Figure Out How to the Best Tools to Captivate Your Target Market

By getting to know your target demographic well, you can learn how to market to them most effectively. This is where their behavioral and personality traits will come in handy. Radio? Magazine? Personal referrals? Targeted ads on online magician forums?

 

Internal-External Networking

Don’t be afraid of encouraging your internal employees to market your product. And if it’s just you—market your product! Share it with people who know you, with people who don’t know you, and people who you don’t know but you do know they’ll benefit from it. 

Brand Advocates and Influencers
Use Social Blade to understand where your demographic is concentrating on different online content, and partner with influencer and brand advocate companies to publicize your product.

Co-marketing with Similar Brands

Partner with brands that solve related problems (or offer complementary products) and co-market with them! Collaboration. Teamwork makes the dream work. You know the drill. And in this case, teamwork is a mutually beneficial increase of visibility and traction, so…worth it?

 

   3. A/B Ad Testing

Run ads with different copies that present your value proposition differently and see what the response is! Also, run ads in various marketing channels with targets defined by distinct characteristics, and see who responds to what! It’ll be like a little game of assumption testing. It’ll be fun. 

About Tamar Barlev

Content Writer based in San Francisco. Passionate about the written word, indie-electronica, and baking.

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