There isn’t a much simpler rule in business than this – never try selling everything to everyone. Being an inexperienced newcomer to the marketing universe, you might get tempted to push your brand message and value proposition as far as you can, hoping that the wider the market coverage, the greater your selling possibilities will be.
Instead of making such hazardous mistakes in the very beginning, take a look at these simple guidelines for defining your perfect target audience.
In the ideal world, startups would be given an opportunity of tailoring their business offers according to the highest buying market. That way, they could simply pick a product or service that is highest in demand and, only by doing so, instantly acquire a wide circle of customers. But since we don’t live in such a world, we are compelled to tailor our offers to the purchasing needs of the existing market as much as we can.
In order to do so, a thorough market research analysis is paramount. The first thing you’ll need to dissect is your business idea – what is it that you’re selling, what are its features and benefits and what kind of competitive advantage do you have? Once the answers to these questions are clear, you can start thinking about who needs your products and why.
There are a couple of different criterions you can use while defining your target market. Most commonly, marketers approach their audience according to the demographic, geographic and psychographic brackets they belong to.
The first two, however, are already considered somewhat outdated, given that they are more prone to changes and therefore not always reliable. When based on needs, values, attitudes and behaviors, market segmentation is much better founded. That’s why cutting-edge strategies rely on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
Starting from the bottom and rising to the top, the Maslow’s pyramid of customers’ needs numbers physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem and self-actualization as the most powerful factors that define how and why people choose to spend their money.
Taken together with previously mentioned criterions, Maslow’s needs segments create an average, but the specific profile of a buying persona who will be interested in your offer.
Now that you’ve determined your target market and who is more likely to buy your products, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with their general purchasing behavior. Getting to know the needs of your target audience is only a stepping stone on your road to further and even more precise niche identification.
By assessing the results of a target market segmentation and calculating data, you’ll learn the prevailing age, gender, income level and family status of your audience; now, you’ll have to get even more intimate with them in order to discern whether they are seasonal buyers or compulsive shoppers, whether they prefer e-commerce stores instead of the brick and mortar ones and, most importantly, what would compel them to choose your products over your competitor’s.
If you’re a newbie in the overly competitive commerce arena, you need to understand that the business world doesn’t make any room for assumptions; everything you do, any strategical move you make, should be a result of an exhaustive analysis, regardless of the niche you’re trying to penetrate.