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This blindfolded game may be fun for children, but when it comes to your business, you need to see things with your eyes wide open. But many business owners seem to be playing this game with their business, meandering "blindfolded" through the market trying to land customers without knowing who are the most appropriate prospects.
As I continue to work with my clients, it still surprises me how many business people either have no idea who will buy from them, or they assume that everyone will. This type of thinking can result in marketing efforts that are costly and ineffective, leading to the belief that marketing does not work.
Target Market Myths
A target market is defined as the group of people or businesses that have a need, is aware of the need, and is willing to spend money to satisfy that need. Selecting the best target market possible for your business is the most important part but the most difficult part of the marketing plan for most business owners. Business owners will make many excuses when asked why they are not picking a target, but all are lame. No one wants to select a target market because they believe that they are "leaving money on the table" and neglecting potential customers.
Every business owner goes through this thought process until they discover that targeting enables you to target a more lucrative audience and develop messages with greater precision. Then the unusual phenomenon happens - your clarity about what you offer makes other prospects, even outside of your target, more likely to call you. If you narrowly define your niche market, your messages are clear, your offerings are precise, and your marketing efforts are more effective, even to those not within your target market.
Let me be very blunt about why you target a particular market. We call this group of people or businesses you want to do business with a target market because that market is the target at which you aim all your marketing efforts. Being focused on one particular market enables you to make choices that are difficult if you are all over the map. For example:
Identifying Your Target
The products or services you have to offer are the most obvious constraint on what markets you can reach. In addition, you need to assess your skills and other resources available within and external to the business in order to determine which market you can best satisfy. The process is somewhat circular. You need to understand what you can do, who you wish to work with and then see if there is a match between what you can offer and what the target will actually pay for.
To get started, ask yourself the following questions about your product or service offering:
Benefits to Your Business
Going through this exercise has many benefits to your business. Knowledge of your target market enables you to make better decisions about your product or service offerings, including pricing, packaging, service, and distribution. Depending on your business, it is helpful to understand the market size and how buying decisions are made. Knowing how you can best service this market helps you focus your business on the products and services that best meet their needs. Pairing your offerings with the market you wish to serve surfaces opportunities that you may not have noticed before, finding a niche that you can service better than your competition.
Debra Murphy is founder of Masterful Marketing, a marketing coaching firm that empowers small business owners and independent professionals to take control of their marketing to get better results. She helps you change how you think about your business and put activities into motion that attract your ideal client. She started Masterful Marketing to ensure small business owners had access to the knowledge available to larger companies so they could live their dreams and build a business around their passions. Although her knowledge of marketing covers all the traditional channels, she specializes in online and social media marketing to make sense of it all to those who want to use it to effectively market their businesses.
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