April 27, 2011

Business Strategy: Focusing Your Target Market

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Many people say that anyone who is smart (enough) can start their own business. However, contrary to that stereotypical belief, there is more to it than just being smart in order to start a business and be successful in it. It is very naive for some people to think that starting a business is just like that. There are many factors to look into and many aspects to consider. One factor to strictly look into and direct some critical focus is your target market. Part of your strategic planning (and of course, a significant element of your whole business plan!!) is to define your business target market.

Defining your target market is simple when you know your specific buying or consuming audience. Sometimes when on the course of defining the target market, many are caught intertwined in the “web of trying to be all things to all customers.” It is a pitfall that many business entrepreneurs don’t realize that they have fallen into. And surely, these entrepreneurs (and their businesses) are doomed to fail!!!

Tim Donnelly’s How To Narrow Your Target Market article (posted at www.inc.com) clearly explains that the key to building a successful business is to learn how to stay focused. He posted that “… trying to be all things to all people is a sure way to fail in the marketplace.” Undeniably, many did that and suffered the consequences. The theory of blasting away with the shotgun approach and trying to hit everyone doesn’t take you anywhere with your business and you won’t definitely like the results afterwards. You need to take dead aim at your target!!! And to accomplish it, you need to learn to narrow your target market. The more you can target your business to a specific consuming audience, the better your responses will be.

Donnelly cited in his article that before Walmart and Amazon became all-encompassing retailers, both started on a very specific focus that (as evidenced in the current business status of the two companies) has led them to explore and achieved a strong customer base. Walmart begun catering low-cost goods to rural areas and Amazon started just selling books. From then on, both these two huge and profitable companies have expanded their business horizons. Their processes of finding their own target market and narrowing their companies’ focus to directly appeal to their target opened opportunities to discover new businesses.

Recognized business experts and successful business entrepreneurs have proven and tested that narrowing the target market can lead to wider customer visibility and more sales. Here are some important suggestions on how to effectively narrow your target market.

Target Market Focus

Direct Your attention to one Target Market

Direct Your Spotlight On One Marketplace Slice. You can never eliminate competition whatever market you are in. You are definitely not alone and competition (given the struggling economic status today) is tougher than ever before. It is “survival of the fittest” in the marketplace. If you narrow your focus on one definite demographic or slice of the marketplace, it will give you the chance for potential customers to notice you amongst the scrimmage.

When you don’t know who you are talking to, you are actually talking to no one. Being focused on a certain demographic will help you differentiate your business in the marketplace. It will offer you your own identity. If not, consumers will only be motivated to buy because of the price. And mostly, consumers will patronize those products and services that come with cheap prices.

Narrowing your potential customer base to a specific demographic group will not only be more attractive to investors, but you will also have an easier time to compile your sales and marketing plans. You need to study your product or service and determine which customer group they will likely be suited to.

You need to define the age range, gender, marital status, and income of the people who are likely to be your customers. You should not assume or guess. This is why, you must make use of surveys, questionnaires, and other sources to explore and research more demographic data. Remember, focusing on a specific demographic will allow you to advertise your business to a specific and smaller group. This will also mean that you should not be afraid to exclude other types of consumers. Some customers will be left out, but this is a sacrifice worth doing to be successful in your business venture.

Be An Expert at Something

Be An Expert In One Area. In simple words- Be an authority in your chosen field!!! In order to be honed in one sector, you need to be an established resource in that area. If consumers see you as an expert and authority in your business field, they will purchase your product or avail of your service regardless of the price tag.

To be a credible business company in your field, you need to offer useful information to your target market. You can use your website or blog site to offer niche information like industry tips, industry status reports, and updates. By doing this, you are giving an impression to your customers that you are reliable and knowledgeable in the area you are in. Many entrepreneurs become recognized experts in their field because it is their passion. Once your profession is coupled with passion, it is certainly a strong market niche.

Market Research

Market Research

Do Your Market Research. A market research will allow you to identify your ideal customers and market your products/services to prospects that met the criteria of the demographic you want to focus on.

There are many experts who choose to identify their ideal clients by ranking customers’ profitability. Other entrepreneurs prefer to look for clients who are already referring more business, while some businessmen choose to explore growing business areas (that have not yet been claimed by existing businesses) in order to find clients.

You can definitely pattern your market research to the mentioned strategies just so you can carve the vast stretch of the marketplace to find your target market. You can also start by venturing in the areas you have a strong inclination and interest or in areas you are already recognized by the buying public. If there is a gap in the marketplace, you can definitely grab the opportunity to fill that gap with your services or products.

Target Your Marketing Efforts. Once you have identified and defined your market, you need to target your marketing efforts to your real brand mission. If it is necessary for you to modify your whole branding strategy or marketing efforts just to spell out clearly your brand mission, then (by all means) do it!!

You may not realize it, but the name of your business plays a big part in narrowing your target market. The name of your business must communicate directly and evidently what you do. Choose an official business title that will help consumers to understand (right away!!) what you are all about.

You should also change your advertising strategies and focus more on places and media that you use to generate new business. Take dead aim at your marketing today. You can use your website, blog sites, print advertising (experiment on different publications), and even direct mail. Your marketing should emphasize your specialization so that in turn improves your credibility in your field. Engage your market. Communicate or converse with your target market!!!

As simple as these tips sound, you need to pour much effort in narrowing your target market to take a straight aim at it. If you do, all your marketing strategies and efforts are focused on just one area. You will have a clearer view of your marketing mission and goals. If you need help in narrowing your target market or in your marketing strategies and how to implement them, you can consult any business expert or business market consultant!!

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Jeremy Oms

Jeremy is an entrepreneur and leading manager of New Blood, Inc. Excited about all things Internet related, Jeremy spends much of his time project managing custom web applications and directing advanced search engine optimization efforts.

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