Three Key Steps To Understand Your Target Market

By Tonita Proulx, Business Partnerships

Published: February 8, 2016

Think about it. The better you understand your customer — or target market — the faster your business will grow. Ford and GM likely know that marketing pick-up trucks to drivers in North Dakota or Texas is more effective than doing so in California or New York. What many don’t realize is that — aside from location — Ford and GM likely know customer preferences, behaviors, predicted actions, questions, and customers considerations. Sometimes, even before the customers themselves know they have them.

Every sound digital strategy must, at its core, begin with the audience. But aside from throwing a dart at the board — how do you go about not only determining, but verifying your target market?

Consulting sites analytics, conducting research, and ultimately determining your customer journey map and unique personas are all helpful tools to identify your target market. And understanding your target market helps make sure you’re getting your message across to the right people, in the right channel and at the right time.

Dream Big, But Prioritize.

Prioritize_image (1)

One of the most effective things you can do to market your product or service smartly and efficiently is narrow your gaze — in other words, prioritize. If you think you know who your target market is, document it. In detail. Try to focus on highly targeted, niche audiences that clearly define who, what, where, when, and most importantly, why most people buy from you. Start with your gut feel (you know best), then validate with data.

Validate with Quantitative Data.

[quote align=”left”]It’s easy to assume that most people will need your service or product.[/quote]

Choosing the right markets also means infusing speculations with objective data. This data might come from a variety of sources. As you work to gather it, here are some guidelines to keep in mind. To begin identifying your target market, consult Google analytics. Digging into your site’s analytics will help you understand a range of demographic information about your customer. Gender, age ranges, and a variety of interests can all be determined in analytics. In addition, you can draw correlations among audience segments by looking at how long they stay on a certain page of the site, and which pages they keep coming to for content.

To understand your target market even further, consider creating a brand survey for additional insights. It’s easy to assume that most people will need your service or product. But rather than make assumptions, reach out to groups of potential customers to get a more realistic picture of your audience and narrow your marketing efforts. You can conduct surveys, do man-on-the-street type interviews in stores, or organize small focus groups. Ask questions that help you understand your customer as a person, to better identify their motivation for using your product, why they might select your brand over others, where they seek out information, and hurdles they may face.

Act on ‘Your Gut and Data.’

Gut_and_Data_image (1)

When it comes to strategic planning and pursuing new business opportunities, rather than working solely from instinct, or becoming paralyzed by too much data, take an approach in the middle where you quickly gain data and test your gut instincts to create “informed intuition.” When exploring new or better solutions to meet new requirements, unarticulated needs, or existing market needs — relying only on gut welcomes increased risk, and relying only on data often leads to analysis paralysis and no action. Coupling gut feel, initial data, and then pushing forward based on that data discovery has the best potential to lead to unique and actionable business decisions in products, services, and processes across the board.

This mirrors the most successful companies target audience identification. Take your initial knowledge, thoughts, and feelings – combined with target audience validated insight – and finalize your process by creating customer personas and a highly targeted customer journey map.

All of this information will help you on your way to creating your own customer journey map and uncovering your company’s unique personas. Keep reading to learn more about the value of understanding your customer. Once you unlock this knowledge, you’ll be able to hyper-target effectively. 

Interested in learning new ways to understand your audience? Let’s chat!