Identifying your target market for effective print

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While the temptation for a business is to try and sell their product to everyone, doing so can be costly and much less productive than trying to reach a specific group of people in society.

Defining your target audience

Your target audience, or target market, refers to the group of people that you or your business is looking to reach and communicate with. Pitching your product or services to the wrong person or market, will be just a waste of time and money. By trying to reach such a wide audience, your message will likely get lost. The most productive approach is to direct your message to your dream customer, and focus primarily on their needs.

Your target market is the specific people that your brand will resonate with and who will take action to buy, use and promote your products and services. Beginning every print campaign with a strong understanding of your audience is one of the best ways to ensure success and efficiency. Here are a few steps for identifying your target audience: age, location, gender, income and education levels, marital and family status, occupation, etc.

1. Who are they?

Build your audience profiles on a solid demographic base. Demographic profiles can be limited in their potential to uncover motivations and buying patterns, but they are a fundamental understanding of who your audience is. Figure out not only who has a need for your product or service, but also who is most likely to buy it.

2. Look at your current customer base

Who are your current customers, and why do they buy from you? Look for common characteristics and interests. Which ones bring in the most business? It is very likely that other people like them could also benefit from your product/service.

3. Spy on the competition

Well maybe don’t take it that far, but find out who are your competitors targeting. Who are their current customers? Don’t go after the same market—you may find a niche market that they are overlooking.

4. Consider the “psychographics”

Psychographics are the more personal characteristics of a person, including: personality, attitudes, values, interests, behaviors, lifestyles, etc. Determine how your product or service will fit into your target’s lifestyle. How and when will your target use the product? What features are most appealing to your target?

5. Evaluate your decision

Once you’ve decided on a target market, consider these questions:

  • Are there enough people who fit my criteria?
  • Will my target really benefit from my product/service or have a need for it?
  • Do I understand what drives my target to make decisions?
  • Can they afford my product/service?
  • Can I reach them with my message?

Don’t break down your target too far! If you find there are only a handful of people that fit all of your criteria, maybe you should reevaluate your target to find that perfect balance.

Once you know who you target market is, it is much easier to figure out how to reach them and what marketing messages will resonate with them. Save money and get a better return on investment by defining your target audience.

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