Finding your target market is different from choosing your target market. If you were a wolf, you can’t choose to sell apples in your neighbourhood because, well, your friendly neighbourhood wolves don’t eat apples; neither can you force them to eat apples. You cannot choose your target market, but you can find it.
Using the above example, if you were selling apples, the first question you should ask is who in the world would like apples? Thanks to the internet and airplane technology, one can order apples from a vendor in Kashmir (massive Apple orchards), and have it delivered to any place in the whole country or even the world where the consumption of Apples is high.
You might think that the above is a very simple example. But that is precisely what it means to FIND YOUR TARGET MARKET. Many a companies have wound up because they did not search for a target market before launching the product. They thought that the product is innovative and it will work. But to find a target market, you need to study the market and then only start selling the product.
How to find a new target market?
1) Start by defining your segment –
The trio is most commonly known as Segmentation, targeting and positioning. So targeting always comes after segmentation. This is because before you target, you need to know the segment to target. There are numerous types of segmentation. Geographic, demographic, psychographic etc. So first, what form of segmentation do you want?
2) Make an ideal customer profile –
If your segmentation is demographic, and you want to have customers who have a rich lifestyle, then that’s your ideal customer profile. If yours is a premium health product, then you need customers who are rich, regularly exercise, are located in an affluent area with open spaces and jogging parks nearby. Similarly, as the product belongs to you, you can optimally design an ideal customer profile which helps you find the target market.
3) Gather lots of secondary data –
Once you have the segmentation in hand as well as an ideal profile of the target market, you can start using trade journals or government publications to find the best areas which will have the qualities that you want. For example – Continuing the above premium health product example, you need to research for a locality having a high cost of living but also having a jogging park, a swimming pool or other landscape which helps healthy living.
4) Do a primary market research –
Once your secondary data is collected, it is imperative that you do a primary data before launching the product in the market. For example, if you want to start a distribution of a purifier, and you heard of a market with the best customers, then you can ask the retailers in that area whether they will like to buy the purifiers from you. If not, then why and who are they buying from currently? Besides the secondary data, the primary data gives more insight on the target market and whether you have found the right target market.
5) Be open to feedback –
The primary market matters a lot and even if you think you have found a target market, still if the market demands changes in your product than you have to be open to such feedback. This will ensure that you come out with a product which already has the confidence of the market and hence will sell better.
6) Choose the entrance strategy for the new target market
No target market can be entered without a lot of hoopla behind the product launch. So whenever you are entering a new target market, based on your positioning and segmentation strategy, you need to implement the right marketing strategy as well. Otherwise your planning of hitting your target market can fail if the product is not launched properly in this new market.
7) Keep fail safes in place
Fail safes can be the exit strategy which should have in place even before entering a new market. If you entered a new country thinking that your products will sell there, but if it doesn’t, then what’s your exit strategy? In fact, what if you enter multiple markets at once, and all of them fail, whats your exit strategy and where do you fall back? Thus, entering new target markets is a risky endeavour and you need to consider the negatives also.
Finding your target market can be relatively easy if you are targeting a mass segment. However, as you enter niche marketing, finding target markets becomes difficult. For example – For Industrial products, you need to research the places where you can establish a manufacturing or distribution plant. Thus, the search for new target markets is difficult in niche marketing. At such a time, the above steps to find a target market will come in use.