How To Narrow Down Your Target Market Workshop
Who is your target market?
Whether looking to develop a new product, or starting a new business. You cannot start a new venture without eventually answering, “Who is my target market” and then developing a marketing strategy to fit that target market.
Some start-ups think about this after making a product(most of the time, that is somewhat backwards).
There are a near infinite amount of products, software, and services that could be provided. However, if the target market is only 50 people who make 40k a year. Your company won’t make it.
On one recent project. I was working with a team who wanted to focus on music producers, artists, and listeners.
So essentially…everybody! That is much to broad of a target market to start a new product.
Even Facebook started by picking college students first. On top of that they took it a step further and went a few colleges at a time. Trying to take on too many markets at once will spread resources to thin and weaken whatever business development strategy you set up.
Picking a target market doesn’t mean your product will never sell outside of that space. It just makes it easier for your team to market, create ads that tell stories that are empathetic to a specific market and focus business development resources on a specific campaign.
Once your business has enough hype in one market, then your business team can focus its efforts into a new area.
Your team’s goal is to properly lay a firm foundation in one market. The product you are offering should not be easily replaced in the minds of people. You do this by making sure you have actually reached your target market.
No, I don’t mean your ad was an impression on twitter and Facebook analytics. I mean you have impacted your target markets life. Maybe your business brought back a feeling of nostalgia, like Star Wars did or using humor to make an ad go viral.
The purpose of this post is to pose some questions to help your company and or start up find out if it has a target market. It is important that you actually write the answers down to these questions and that you answer all the questions.
It may seem silly. However, this will help you start to visualize and empathize with your customers. That is what I want to get across as you are developing a marketing strategy.
What quality product or service do you hope to offer?
Whether you are selling purses or creating and distributing database systems, there are always tiers of quality, and your customers can tell the difference.
- How many features do you plan to offer the customer
- How much customer service
- What quality material are you going to be using?
- How easy is it to use the product
- Is the product as beautiful and simple as an iPhone?
Think about Apple vs. Windows. Apple has decided it is just going to take the higher price tier and done well by it! With that, they have created a much cleaner product that is often easier for most people to use. Whether this be their laptops or phones. That is because they think about the details.
“Greatness Is a Lot of Small Things Done Well” (via Ray Lewis).
People perceive value, so they are willing to spend 2-3x as much on a Apple laptop vs a Dell or HP. This is built up on all the little details Apple focuses.
Is that your brand?
What price range are you shooting for?
This question requires a little research. What are other companies with similar products around you offering. Are they offering a similar quality of service? How about features? Can you match that price?
A business has to do at least that. It would be then be beneficial if the business can further differentiate their product. I personally believe clients should aim towards looking towards the higher denominator. The wage gap seems to continue to grow. As disheartening as that is. That means the middle class products will lose market share, as either low end products that make pennies on the dollar or high end products with 70% mark-ups will be the next markets to hit.
Even if this isn’t true. There is something nice about knowing you are the best, or one of the best products out there. This does require a larger or smarter marketing plan of course. One that tells an eloquent story about how the fabric being used in your product is hand spun by a cute grand-mother you met while traveling in Italy. Customers who can afford high end products, love feeling special about their purchases. They want to be able to recant the tale when they wear the dress or suit jacket to have a moment of differentiation.
I learned this fact working as a cook at restaurants charging $300 a person.. before tip. My chef would come out and tell of how the saffron being used in the sauce was grown locally in a farm in Oregon(true story for those who only think Saffron grows in Spain!) and the man has to go out every morning and only pick the flowers that have just blossomed..yada yada yada….It’s about the story that goes with the product.
Higher end customers want to be wooed, they want to feel special. So if you want to charge a lot for your product, or service. Sell that story!
List 5 use cases for your products?
Being able to list out your use cases early is great not just because it can be used later to create content and ads. It also helps a business picture who will be using their product. Even if you can’t name 5 use cases, try to name a few. Each time, try to write down who is using the product or if you like drawing, then draw it out.
Is it a family on a beach using their drone to take memorable pictures?
Maybe it is a construction company using a drone to take pictures of their progress? Wait now who at the construction company? Is this the foreman or the carpenters ? That changes how you want to sell your product, no?? Be specific.
Again, like it was stated earlier, once you have these use cases, it becomes much easier to create content. You already have ideas how you think customers will use the product.
List 3 locations you can see someone using this product, or software?
Maybe you can’t picture exactly who will be using your product, or what use cases they will be used for. In that case, try picturing where your product will be used. This is more of a back up question. In the previous question, it is great to be specific about the location as well as the customers using the product in the use case.
Quick Marketing Strategy Break – Lets Talk About Empathy:
The more you can visualize your product, the easier it will be to empathize with the users. One of the points of this exercise is to try to see, feel, experience what your customer might when they first hear about or use your product.
Businesses have a tendencies to think their product is the best, they seem to think everyone should just buy it just because. They think all business is, is spreadsheets, and bottom lines.
That’s the mistake. It’s too often that businesses forget they are selling to people.
They implement an algorithm and don’t consider the people aspect. They assume the numbers will just magically fill themselves in. It’s almost comical.
The truth is, I prefer to work with companies that like providing service that is above and beyond. Sprint Airlines is known for being a no frills airline. Don’t expect anything nice.
It’s like going out with a guy that skips the nice dinner, and flowers and just wants to take you straight to bed.
There is no elegance or long term relationship built. Those businesses don’t care if you come back or not. They know there are thousands of other people looking for a cheap date.
I implore you, be the kind of brand that empathizes with your customer. Generation Z is stated to have a desire for unique and high quality products, compare do to generation X’s desire for cheap and affordable(this is actually quite a generalization…but). Listen to them, use social media, use the various networks and hear their voice!
They want to love your product, just show them how awesome you are!
Does your product require any form of expertise to be used?
If a product is difficult to use, this can be a barrier for some customers. They might want to purchase the product. However, it might not be approachable. This changes your market, even if you wanted more people to purchase your product. There has to be a good incentive to go through the pain of learning the product.
Think about the personal computer, back when it was command line! Most people were too afraid they would break everything to mess around with it. That is why GUI interface changed the PC game forever. People no longer have to deal with learning complex commands.
So if your product is technically difficult, or requires special knowledge and you think your target market doesn’t have the skill set. Incentivize them to learn! The key is to create value in the product that is higher than the technical difficulties required to learn said product.
Is this product used more in the business world or personal?
Going back to our computer example. Think about Microsoft. Where do they really make money for their operating system and Office Suite? It’s not in the individual sales to stay at home moms. Nope, it is to businesses.
They’re lucky because their products are so ubiquitous it would be a disadvantage not to use them.
Nevertheless, this changes how you market and who you reach out to. If you are developing a SaaS, then you better be ready to reach out to executives and managers who have the budget and need for your product.
Unlike selling blankets online, where all you need is an Etsy store, selling products to businesses require some savvy sales skills. Even if your product is the best, it is probably expensive. Not everyone wants that. Not everyone is willing to pay for Oracle. Facebook started on MySql, which is free.
Ok, this is the question that really trips up some really smart but business inexperienced engineers. They often develop some of the coolest products. However, when you think about actually using it to help save or increase cash flow. It’s just not there.
Like the 5 use cases. Your business should write a few sentences of different instances this product would help ease someones pain. Be specific! What type of people, what role do they play in a company, what gender are they, age group, what are their likes and dislikes.
At the end of this questionnaire, you won’t have a specific answer to who your target market. However, by walking through these steps, you will hopefully have 3-5 target markets that you have written down.
This is great, now your start up team or business development committee can vote on which market they want to hit first!
I always try to lead my clients to having 2-3 possible decisions and helping them choose which one makes the most sense.
If you could describe your product in 3 adjectives, what would it be?
Maybe you are having a hard time actually coming up with specific groups of people. That is ok, we can still work together to try and describe what your product is like.
Let’s first start with you describing another companies product. Since I already mentioned Apple, let’s think about an Apple iPhone. What do you think?
- Very Beautiful
They are not trying to sell to the business crowd, or to the conformers. I personally think they might have even thought about using the word rebel. However, you can see they are trying to speak to people who like to change the world in style.
That doesn’t sound like a cheap product, now does it?
Hopefully you already have a decent list of groups of people who you think would benefit from your product. If not! Maybe try to think of which stars and personalities would use your product? How would you market to them? How would you get them to use your product?
Can you start to picture your target market yet?
If you are still having trouble picturing a target market. Feel free to subscribe to our email club. We will continue to send more questionnaires based around business development strategy, marketing, and product development! Or send me an email! I would love to give a quick consultation if it means I can help provide insight. Sometimes it just takes 15 minutes and an outside perspective!
If you are still not sure what business development is, please check out this survey!