6 Steps to Finding Your Target Market
You have just invented a new product --a heart monitor that sends messages about a heart’s health to the person wearing the monitor. Everyone has a heart so you might think the product’s potential is unlimited.
You might be wrong.
More likely than not, the product’s success will depend on whether you can find its target market. If you can find the target market, you can then decide the monitor’s price and the extent of the communications services it provides.
Will the monitor be primarily for elderly people who need warnings when their heart isn’t functioning correctly?
Perhaps, it will be for young, healthy athletes who want to know when they should exercise more or less intensely. Or it could be for a different demographic?
So how do you find the target market? Here are some tips to help:
1. Research and understand your industry
(example industry: health)
- How many people use heart monitors?
- Are they healthy or sick?
- Old or young?
- Active or inactive?
- How do the monitors on the market communicate to their users how well their heart is working?
These are just a few of the questions you should ask yourself about the product or service before you research.
You also need to know the prices of the monitors and the income levels of the people buying them and factor that into what demographic you might want to focus more on.
Knowing what is currently on the market could help you decide the details of your product and its services.
So here are a few things you should research:
- Products or services similar to yours on the market
- Who their audience is?
- How are you different from them?
What demographic does your product appeal to the most?
2. Start by surveying the consumers
The people who are using heart monitors might, or might not, be your future customers, but don‘t be afraid to use them to gather more insight.
Whether you find a free service or a professional service company, you can send out these surveys to gather the correct information regarding what market place might be right for you.
Here are some popular survey services you might find useful for surveying:
Conducting surveys will give you real-time answers about a service you are about to put out; who is most likely to use it or attend, who can afford it or would pay more etc.
If you need help building up an email list, click here.
3. You should also conduct a market survey
Now a market survey!
This survey should be about people who aren’t using the product that’s being researched, so complete opposite from consumer surveys.
When conducting these, most companies pay a market research company to find out who your prospective customers are.
These surveys research and analysis the market for your product or service being offered to investigate what encourages a customer to buy, investment attributes and other potential growth.
4. Put together focus groups
You need to be the student at some point in regards to your product rather than just relying on experts and surveys to find your target market.
Talking to people about the product and observing them as they try to use it can help you experience your product in action.
By doing so, you will get first-hand exposure on what features might need tweaking, what really works, and how people enjoyed it or purchase rates.
Here are some tips for using a focus group:
Organize two groups, one with participants from your target demogaphic and one with a broader pool of possible future customers.
That way you can separate specific opinions about your product verse ones that are still helpful, but more widely shared.
Make sure you come with prepared questions or activities for these groups.
You want people to be able to open up and give an honest opinion so don‘t give questions that can be answered by yes or no.
You want to draw out an answer with as much detail as possible so you have enough to go off of for improvement.
WikiHow gives you this advice for creating stimulating questions:
Avoid technical terms and jargon. Keep sentences short and focus so that they do not confuse participants. Avoid questions that might embarrass participants or intimidate them into silence.
Begin with questions that encourage participants to talk generally about the subject to make them comfortable and familiar with the topic of conversation. For example, “How do you like to use your smart phones?” Move on to questions that get to the substance of the discussion: “How likely would you be to use a thesaurus app?” Before concluding, ask if anyone has something else to say that did not come up earlier in the discussion.
- Ask positive questions to establish comfort, before moving on to more negative questions. Ask: “what do you like about this product” before asking “what do you dislike about this product?”
Focus groups can be conducted in many ways
You can ask people from the street or online if they would be willing to test out a product and provide honest feedback for a small reward.
You can even conduct it right off the street in exchange for a gift card or cash.
The more interaction you see between people and your product the more you can understand what works and for what type of consumer.
The information you gather could help you instruct your sales and marketing team on how to sell the product and what kind of people to approach.
This Inc. magazine article lists the psychographics or personal characteristics to look for as you seek your target market.
5. Start networking like crazy
This Forbes magazine article suggests looking at “your own network” for data.
That means talking to people you know well, including business professionals, past or current partnerships, donors etc. about your product AND reaching out to past customers via social media or entrepreneurs and small business executives via business groups you might be involvedin.
Meeting new people is crucial and important to brand yourself and your business; it’s all about who you know right?
6. Find “stores” near you
So maybe you found your target market!
Now make sure your product and/or services finds them.
Using our example in the beginning, where would they buy a heart monitor?
Will they shop online?
“If you’re selling from a storefront, you need to know how many people in your target market live nearby,” this Entrepreneur magazine article points out.
It’s very difficult to sell expensive products at discount stores and vice-versa so this step is crucial. Perhaps, though, your target market will only accept a heart monitor recommended by doctors or fitness experts so they will be your “store.”
Your store front can also be social media if you have a high percentage of your market place on one platform.
Find the best way to reach them in the most convenient way to ensure you are making the most of your marketplace.
Your company’s product could be the most innovative product of all time, but if you don’t find your target market there is a strong possibility that it won’t succeed.
The right product AND the right market equals success.