The last marketing minute left us with identifying the features and benefits of your product/service and left us with the question of, “What kind of people are looking for these features in a skin-care product?”
In using the skin care product example, this is what we came up with:
Feature #1: Organic ingredients
Benefit #1: Won’t irritate skin or cause toxicity
Feature #2: Moisturizing properties
Benefit #2: Keeps skin looking young and fresh
Feature #3: Contains no chemicals
Benefit #3: Won’t harm the environment
These products will probably appeal to health-conscious people who care about what they put on (and in) their bodies who want to maintain a youthful appearance. These products will probably also appeal to people with sensitive skin and to people who want to leave a lighter “footprint” on the planet.
What else might you be able to tell about these prospective customers?
Think about the demographics of this group:
· How old are they?
· How much do they earn?
· Are they predominantly male or female?
· Are they married or single?
· What ethnic background do they come from?
· Where do they live?
Using our skin-care example, we can probably guess that women over the age of 30 are more likely to have sensitive skin or invest in organic skin-care products. And since organic products are more expensive and cost more to produce, women with higher income brackets who also care about the environment will probably make up the largest part of your market.
So the target market for organic skin-care products might be something like this:
“Health- and environment-conscious women aged 30+ with annual incomes of $50,000 to $100,000.”
You don’t want to base your target market definitions on guesswork, though–so you’ll need to do more research to confirm with some hard numbers. Do not skimp on this step. It could mean the very difference between success and failure.
There is a wealth of free statistical and demographical information available online. There are also a number of websites with links to a wide range of industry statistics. You can also find a variety of references at your local library.
You may find some unexpected information as you start digging. Perhaps certain ethnicities have more sensitive skin. Perhaps you will uncover an untapped market!
Besides the demographics of your market, consider the “psychographics” or personalities of your customers:
· What lifestyle do they lead, and how will your product fit into that lifestyle?
· What are their interests and hobbies?
· What do they value most?
· Where do they “hang out” or how do they search for information?
All of these characteristics will help you develop effective marketing campaigns for the people who want and need your product/service most.
You can also find out more about your target market by examining your current customer base. What do they buy from you? Which products are your best-sellers? (If you’re not sure who is buying your products or why, ask them! Conduct a survey to find out what makes your customers tick.
You can also get a rough idea of your target market by scoping out your competition. What markets are they targeting? Are there some they are overlooking?
As you do your research, you will probably start to notice a few distinct mini-segments within your target market (people with sensitive skin versus people who want to protect the environment, for example). These mini-segments–or “niche markets”–are gold! Niche markets are the easiest groups to market to because you know exactly what they want and why… and you won’t waste your marketing dollars on people who don’t care about what your business offers.