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Updated: Jun 3, 2020

As a business owner, developing your product is just one small part of the work. To truly be successful, you’ll need to share your offering with the world. Creating a website will be great start!

But before you start marketing your services to everyone, take a moment to consider who the best audience is for your brand. While it’s tempting to shoot in as many directions as possible, think about this: Are you likely to hit a target if you aim in several different directions, or will you be more successful if you concentrate all your effort on one target?

That’s where target marketing comes in. Precise targeting is key for converting leads into customers. The more relevant and specific your audience is, the more likely they’ll be interested in your brand.


Your target market, also called a target audience, is the specific group of people at which your product or service is aimed. In other words, they’re the primary audience of your marketing strategy.

To pinpoint your target market, you’ll need to start by analysing data about your customers and competitors.

Here’s how to do it:


  1. Analyse your existing customers

  2. Know your product’s benefits

  3. Investigate your competitors

  4. Segment your audience

  5. Write a target market statement

  6. Refine your research


The first step in defining your target market is to learn more about your existing customers. Even if you’ve just launched a business and don’t have many customers yet, these practices will come in handy further down the line.

Start by gathering information about current and past buyers, and try to identify any defining characteristics these customers have in common. This data will help you market your product to people with similar interests.

You can find this information using website analytics tools, as well as social media and e-mail marketing analytics platforms. Some data points you’ll want to consider include:

  • AGE: Do your customers share a common decade or generation? Are they millennials, older adults, or something in between?

  • LOCATION: Where do most of your customers live? Consider the different provinces, cities and suburbs.

  • LANGUAGE: Which languages do your customers speak or relate to?

  • SPENDING POWER: Consider socioeconomic factors that may be affecting your customers. How much money are they willing or able to spend?

  • HOBBIES AND CAREER: What do your customers enjoy doing? What are their professions, and what do they do in their spare time?

  • STAGE OF LIFE: Where are your customers in life? Are they college students? New parents? Retirees?

If your company is B2B rather than B2C, you’ll want to look for characteristics of companies, rather than individual consumers. These traits include:

  • BUSINESS SIZE: Are the businesses that buy from you small, medium or large?

  • LOCATION: Where are these businesses physically located?

  • VERTICAL: Which industries are most of these businesses in?

  • BUDGET: How have these businesses raised money? Consider how much they’d be willing or able to spend on products like yours.

Be sure to track this information in an orderly manner so that you can keep your findings organised and easily identify trends. Analysing these trends will allow you to identify shared characteristics within your customer base. These characteristics will inform your inbound marketing efforts and steer your strategy toward your target audience.


The next step in determining your target market is to understand the customer motivations behind purchasing your product. For this, you’ll need to see from your clients’ point of view. Think about what motivates them to buy from your company, rather than a competitor. You can learn this information by speaking to your customers directly and asking for testimonials.


Hone in on your target market even further by taking a look at which target markets your competitors are aiming at. You won’t, of course, have access to their customer analytics data. However, you can understand who these customers might be by doing a SWOT analysis of your competitors.

Take a deep dive into their websites, blogs, and social channels. Consider who their target market is based on their website content, content marketing strategy, and social media branding. You’ll likely be able to infer details about their audience based on their brand language and tone. You can also check for comments on their social media pages to see which types of people are engaging with their posts.


At this point, you’ve gathered some information about the characteristics and interests of your target audience. Now, it’s time to use that information to clearly define your customer types. These customer types are going to form the basis of your target market.

The best way to do this is through a process known as segmentation. This involves dividing your customers into different groups, or segments, based on their shared qualities.

You can divide your customers based on:

  • GEOGRAPHIC: Physical location, whether it’s your own city or a different town.

  • DEMOGRAPHICS: Characteristics such as age, gender, race or ethnicity, income level, or marital status.

  • PSYCHOGRAPHICS: Inner qualities such as personality, lifestyle, or personal values. These are often a product of geographic and demographic factors such as location, generation, or stage of life.

  • BEHAVIOUR: Perceived qualities based on online behaviour, such as buyer readiness or frequency of use.

If you’re a B2B company, use similar characteristics but apply them to business. Consider firm demographics - known as firmographics - such as industry, location, customer size, business structure, and performance.


Now that you’ve determined the defining features of your target audience, it’s time to put your findings on paper. Write a target market statement that focuses on the most important audience characteristics you’ve identified in your research. Your statement should include:

  • Demographic information about your target market, such as gender and age

  • Geographic location of your target market

  • Key interests of your target market

Then, sum it up in a single sentence. For example:

“Our target market is women in their 30s and 40s who live in the United States and enjoy casual, comfortable fashion.”

Having a clear statement about who your target audience is will help keep your branding and marketing efforts consistent across your company.


Defining your target market is based on thorough research, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be perfect the first time around. Even after you identify your target audience, you’ll still need to continually test and experiment to get an increasingly precise picture of your customers. This will help you keep up with the times, as consumer interests change over the years with technological developments, generational attitudes, and passing trends.

To narrow in on your target audience, you’ll also need to A/B test your targeting efforts.

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