What does a target market mean in sales?

If you have aspirations to start your own tech company, you may get lured into the trap of thinking that building a great product will be your sales strategy i.e., it will sell itself. This is a dangerous place to play, and there are ways you can ensure that you’re attacking the market with your product in the correct way and a great place to start is trying to answer or re-answer, these three questions:

  • What need does your product or service fill?
  • What problem are you solving?
  • Who is likely to buy your product or service?

This last question is critical because this is addressing your target market. A target market can be defined as a group of consumers identified as the most likely to buy your product or service. If you were to describe the perfect person or ideal buyer persona, your target market would include these people. However, target market is not to be confused with a demographic.

The demographic you sell to is going to be within your target market i.e., there will be several demographics in your target market (e.g., ages 18-35 and 35-50 are both demographics, but they could both be part of your target market,) so it is a question of, who can benefit the most from your product or service. Once you have those answers, you know where your marketing team will be spending its time.

A perfect way to understand more about your target market, now you have clearly defined what it is, is by looking back at your customer base and understanding why they bought from you in the first place. A strategy you could employ is holding a few focus groups for your current customers to ask them why they bought your product, what was the problem they were trying to solve, and whether it has done that. These are all imperative questions to ask of customers who use your product or service.

If you are a startup, it is best to start by identifying your niche, and trying to make it as focused as possible. This way, you can start to build a customer base within a narrow target market. Then you will be able to understand what other attributes your customers may share, which may be shared by other industries or customer groups, which will then help you grow your business.

Finally, remember, selling to everyone is not a target market. Invest the time and energy in understanding who should form your target market, and you will reap the dividends in the future.

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