Define Your Target Market


When you ask the question: what’s your target market or who is your ideal customer? It’s not uncommon to hear: Everyone, because we “do not want to exclude anyone.”

As small business owners, we don’t want to turn anyone away … We have bills to pay. But whether you are marketing online or offline …

It is important to define your target market

By identifying your target market or ideal client you are not excluding anyone. You are defining who your primary customer will be so that you can tailor your message and make better use of your most valuable resources – time and money – to generate additional sales.

There is only one winning strategy. It is to carefully define the target market and direct a superior offering to that target market. Philip Kotler  

Identify Your Target Market

How do you define your target market?

If you are already in business, the best way is to look at your current customers. Focus on the ones that not only buy your products or services, but also rave about you to friends and colleagues, and return to purchase from your business on a regular basis. What do they have in common?

If you are starting a new business or targeting a new market, identify the specific characteristics of the people or businesses who you believe are most likely to buy your product or service.

In either case, build a complete profile to include:

Geographic information:

Where are they located? Local, state, national or international.

Demographic information such as:

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Occupation
  • Income level
  • Education
  • Homeowner
  • Marital status
  • Family size

Demographic information will help you identify your potential customers.  

Psychographic information including but not limited to:

  • Social/ church affiliation
  • Where do they like to shop?
  • What kind of books they read?
  • Where do they like to hang out after work?
  • Favorite social media site
  • What are their hobbies?
  • What sport do they like?   Are they sport enthusiasts?
  • Are they status seeking?

Psychographic information will help you identify the characteristics of your target market and why they would want to purchase from you.


If your business is targeting other businesses (B2B), you should still define your target market, using characteristics such as:


  • Industry size
  • Number of employees
  • Age of the company
  • Job title
  • Amount of annual sales

Geographic location

Psychographic such as:

  • Business style
  • Business stage
  • Community involvement
  • Employee friendly
  • and more

Having a good picture of your ideal customer(s) will help refine your marketing strategy. You can target more accurately, engage them in their preferred media, online and offline, develop a strong relationship and be in the customer’s mind when he or she first thinks of needing your product or service.

Because nothing stays the same for too long, it is important to stay current on market and industry trends and your competition to identify new market segments.

And as always, measure and analyze your marketing efforts, and refine your marketing strategies and tactics as needed in order to reach your desired goal.

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