Identifying Your Target Market: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you’re a business owner or manager, you know that a marketing plan is a must when it comes to promoting your business.

Chances are, you might even have one just sitting around in an old file somewhere, neglected and lonely. Or maybe it’s just incomplete, outdated, or just plain uninspiring.

The problem with many business marketing plans – whether they’re collecting dust or not – is that they’re developed and launched before a clear target market was ever identified.

Here’s the truth: you can’t possibly have an effective and successful marketing strategy until you know the specific markets your targeting. It’s that simple. But how do you get started? Our team at Proof Digital is here to help.


Understand Your Target Customers

Without knowing and understanding your current and potential customers, it will be difficult for your team to speak directly to them.

That means you need to know what they need or want, and what pains they might be experiencing. For example, let’s say you sell superior razor blades and shaving accessories online, and you know your customers:

  • are men, aged 30 to 40
  • make $70,000 – $80,000 per year
  • live in Columbus, Ohio
  • own dogs
  • don’t like to go shopping

By knowing this specific information, your team can do a better job reaching new customers because you will be speaking to their exact needs. For instance, your website landing page photo might be of a cool group of guys with a dog. And you might run online ads saying something like, “Quit Overpaying for Quality Razors. Just a Few Bucks a Month.” They would show up in specific zip codes near the Ohio University Golf Club and Park, and the landing page in which the ad goes will include a photo of a 30ish good-looking guy with a dog.

Unfortunately, the majority of businesses that come to us for help haven’t taken the time to create a detailed profile of their ideal customer.

This is a huge waste of money, because they have been targeting the wrong audience with the wrong marketing messages and images.

By identifying your core customers, you will get a bigger bang for your buck when targeting that ideal customer. Here’s our easy guide to fine-tuning your target market.


#1 – Check out your competition

This is our favorite way to learn about target markets, because it’s like spying but without doing stakeouts. This will help you understand more about your biggest competitors, like:

  • What’s working for them?  
  • Who are their customers?  
  • Who are they missing?  
  • Are there niche markets that they are not serving?  

If you want to learn a little more about how to do some competitive intelligence, check out these spy tools we like.

#2 – Develop a Demographic Profile

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that demographic information isn’t relevant to your company. Our clients see great success by understanding their customer demographics, and implementing creative and effective targeting accordingly.

In order to get started, check out your Google Analytics so you can see who is coming to your website. Write down what you think your customer demographics are, including things like: 

  • Location
  • Age
  • Generation
  • Income
  • Gender
  • Nationality/ethnicity
  • Marital status
  • Household size
  • Occupation
  • Industry (if B2B)
  • Language
  • Education
  • Organizational memberships
  • Other important facts

When launching a new product or service, your odds are stacked against you if you don’t use demographic data in order to position your company.

#3 – Build a Psychographic Profile

Psychographics are the more personal characteristics of a potential customer, like:

  • What do they do for fun?
  • Do they like certain TV shows.  
  • What TV shows do they watch?
  • What do they really care about?  
  • Specifically, what are their activities, interests, opinions, attitudes, and values?

Use tools like Survey Monkey to help understand your customers’ preferences, or My Best Segments to learn more about lifestyle habits.

#4 – Understand Your Target Customers’ Problems, Desires and Needs

Next, write down your target customers’ key problems, desires and needs. Below are some examples of what you should include when drafting your text that describes your target market.  

The more specific you are in collecting this market research, the more accurate your customer profile will be.  (See example below.)

  • Price
  • Location
  • Exclusivity
  • Results
  • Safety
  • Timeliness
  • Convenience
  • Atmosphere

#5 – Write Your Detailed Customer Profile and Share with Your Team

Congratulations! Based on your research and answers above, you have now identified your target market. Now all you have to do is present it to your team. For example:

Our customers are single men aged 30 to 40, making between $70,000 and $80,000 per year, living in Manhattan, who have no kids, own dogs, really care about the environment, enjoy watching and playing sports, and want inexpensive, quality razor in order to feel more attractive.

We’d love to help. Learn more or call us at (317)-537-0488.