You may hear me talk about target markets a lot around these parts. Obviously I care that setting narrow and well-defined target markets are good for business, and great for sanity.

What is a target market?

This is the specific group of people that you direct your products, services and creations towards. It is who you create for. It is who you are improving the lives of and solving the problems of with your skills, expertise and talents.

If what you do is not having a positive impact on someone else, you might want to get into a different racket.

An example of a target market group: “trend-aware, fashionable, university-educated 18 to 29 year-old females.”

Here’s the deal. You could have a truly excellent product, invention, toy, painting, or service that people notice, rant and rave about, tell their friends about, and you get a solid stream of interested clients and customers for a long time.

That could happen, and I encourage you to prioritise getting to that level.

Did you need to actively sit down and identify a target market in order to get to this stage? For a lucky few, maybe not.

But, put simply, you will much more quickly, effectively and efficiently get to a position where people notice what you do, love it, share it and pay for it, if you have an idea of who your target market is and deliver to that market. And the sooner you have done this, the better.

The fact is, you don’t need the whole world knowing about your product to have enough traction and generate enough opportunities. In fact, you don’t need a very large reach at all. But it does need to be a refined and targeted one.

Here are nine other reasons for identifying a specific and clear group of people to direct your stuff towards:

1) More work coming in than you need

Even though your target market might be relatively small, it’s much more likely that you’ll have many opportunities for paid work coming in.

This is because the people in this target group will, hopefully, be perfectly aligned with your product because you have actively crafted your business to be so. Because of this, these people will think of you first when the requirement arises.

“Nothing can add more power to your life than concentrating all your energies on a limited set of targets.” Nido Qubein

2) Less time/effort spent on promotion

You won’t need to put nearly as much time and energy into making others aware of you when you have a well-defined target market. Researching, approaching and connecting with relevant people doesn’t take up much time when there are only a few select people to interact with.

This is a good thing.

Panorama of the maledives

Image source: Stocksy

3) A much better product or service

When you have a very clear idea in your mind as to who you are creating things for, you know exactly what they need and desire, and you can craft something specifically for them that is valuable.

Both in and of itself (because you have clarity), but valuable from the point of view of the end-user.

“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

4) A real sense of satisfaction and purpose

Having a defined target market and a product or service to align with those people is when it really clicks. Your business is no longer about solely how to make money and how to benefit yourself, but about how you are improving the lives of other people.

This is motivating and will lead to a more sustainable, higher energy, longer-term business.

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” -Mark Twain

5) Control over your business

My opinion is that your target market, if defined well, will have a strong effect on the control you have of most if not every aspect of your biz.

Your marketing efforts will be focused, your product or service will become more honed, your goals and direction should, and will clarify themselves, and you know what to prioritise.

6) Less research

Good businesses, small and large, make use of research to find out more about their prospects, clients and customers. When you define a group of fewer, but more relevant people, you have less research work to do to understand these people better.

On top of this, the research you do to actually find out your target market in the first place, means that a large chunk of the research process has already been done. High fives!

7) You move towards being indispensable

When you have a problem that needs fixing, or a desire that needs quenching, the thing you think of to solve this problem is of huge value to you.

When that source of value becomes the only suitable choice in a sea of choices, that thing is indispensable to you.

RLC_TargetMarket_May2014

Image source: Stocksy

The closer your product moves to being the only option in the minds of prospects, the more indispensable you become.

Setting a target market and aligning your service to that market if done effectively, can, and will, make you indispensable.

This is a place you want to be.

Think of how Apple have nurtured loyal customers that wouldn’t dream of going somewhere else when buying a computer product. They are indispensable to Apple fanboys.

“The only way to get what you’re worth is to stand out, to exert emotional labor, to be seen as indispensable, and to produce interactions that organisations and people care deeply about.” Seth Godin

8) You will know where to find new prospects

When you know your prospects, you can put in a little research, and work out where to find them, and therefore to connect with them.

This beats making a product and crossing your fingers that someone notices you. Go and find your dream clients. You know where they are.

9) Happier clients and more repeat projects

Clients who receive products and services directly tailored to them are happy clients. They will return because they know they receive targeted value, and because you have shown to care for their needs.

Happy clients means a happy business, and a happy you.

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Posted by Alex Mathers

Alex is a project starter, sometimes finisher, writer and illustrator. He started Red Lemon Club in 2009 with the aim of helping talented creative people leave their mark.

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10 Comments

  1. Very true! I can never please everyone so I choose the market that would benefit most from what I love to create. It is hard to het a good focus, but it’s well worth it.

    Reply

    1. Thanks Marijke. Can I hear what your target is?

      Reply

      1. I’ve narrowed it down to: small to large businesses who need to communicate something clearly in an easy (often funny) way. My strong point is getting to the heart of the message and telling that.
        Just finished my slogan! (see attachment)

        Reply

  2. It’s as true for galleries as artists, Alex. Too many – in London, especially – show contemporary art by a wide range of emerging artists because they’re scared of missing out on certain markets. They can’t distinguish their brand and their marketing is vague and poorly directed.

    I’m about to open a gallery promoting art inspired by London and created by London artists…I’ll miss out on some markets but I will aim my marketing resources at people who want art of the city on their walls! Then we’ll see whether the niche market I believe is there really exists!

    Simon de Pinna, Director

    Reply

    1. Excellent to hear from you Simon and from someone running a gallery, which is of interest to our readers. I’ll be keeping an eye on how you go! Sounds great, Alex

      Reply

  3. Funny this article should come up as I’m starting to write my well over due business plan. I’ve planned to promote here there and everywhere and have ended up doing very little as a result of trying to do everything at once. You can’t please everyone and take it from me, you shouldn’t try! Great article.

    Reply

    1. Thanks Ian. The course will really help with that also. All the best.

      Reply

  4. Cracking article! Really looking forward to starting your Ideal Clients course this evening. I already feel renewed enthusiam for my freelance work thanks to the thought of aiming myself at a smaller target audience (that I want to work with) rather than having the weight of projecting myself to anyone and everyone (and taking on work that I’m not enthusiastic about). Cheers!

    Reply

    1. Great stuff Chris – that’s what the course is all about. Making things easier and more focused for you.

      Reply

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