Your Business Marketing Plan Part 3: The Market


Your Business Marketing Plan Part 3: The Market

Defining the market within which your business sits is essential to understanding how to reach them through your marketing strategy. Not only will it bring you closer to your customers and their wants and needs, but truly niching down on a well-defined market ensures you stay on track and on budget.

In short, you can’t reach everyone – even if your market is specific already – so your marketing plan needs to clearly articulate who your target market is and detail everything about them that will be relevant in your marketing outreach. Let’s take a look at some of the planning and research you’ll need to do to get there.

the market

Be very specific

As a business owner who believes in and champions your products or services, it’s only natural to want your brand to reach anyone who might be a potential customer, but this doesn’t allow you to drill down on the specifics.

Even looking at audiences like “parents”, “kids” or “tweens” is still too broad – within any one of these groups there will be millions of variations in how they shop, what motivates them, what they care about and how they engage with brands. For example, a tween who loves playing video games is unlikely to want to pick up skateboarding, even if the products are branded towards that 10-13 age range.

Remember: Shift your thinking from the idea that you’ll be missing out if you don’t cast a wide net, and remember that any legitimate business will only have so many marketing dollars to spend, and spending them in exactly the right place and the right way will prove much more effective.

So, an ideal target market example to start could be: Tweens (between the ages of 10 and 13) within the Sydney area who are interested in and regularly participate in skateboarding and skate culture, who use customised boards and safety gear.

Of course, if you’re just starting out and want to conduct some research to get to this defined understanding of your market, there are some key questions to consider. These will build out the foundations of your marketing plan ‘market’ component.

Who is buying from you currently?

Simple enough to begin – look at who your current customer base is. Especially for online retailers, it’s easy to learn where your customers come from, how much time they spend on line and what they buy from you. If you have a target market already in mind, does the reality match up to your expectation? You might be surprised.

What motivates your customers?

With at least 6 months of sales under your belt, you’ll start to see some patterns and learn more about why your customers shop with you. Do they prefer to shop in person as they appreciate the sales experience? Do they come to you because it’s quick and convenient? Do you offer an essential item that is in limited supply?

Of course, customer feedback and focus groups, as well as open conversations can give you those insights that will further shape your marketing approach.

Who does your competition target?

Within your industry, look at your key competitors and see how they market their products and to whom. This isn’t a chance for copycat behaviour, but a chance to further differentiate yourself – there’s always more than one way to reach your destination.

Dissect your product/service through a buyer’s lens

Examine your product or service offering and look at what it offers your customers – this can be ideal to do for those best-selling items. Go back to basics to understand what value it brings your customer and why they use it. For example, a hairbrush that offers tangle-free combing and “no tears” for kids under 8 – users will benefit from calmer hair brushing and less knots. So from there, you can start to see that both parents and children could be a target market (although this is still broad, it’s a good start).

The demographics

Of your current customers, get to know their age range, where they live, their gender, how much income they make, their family status, common occupation – these insights will offer you further information into the personality traits of your customers, how they shop and their attitudes to spending, what they value and their lifestyle. From there, you can plug in your product or service knowing how they live their lives, and where you will be of most value to them.

As you work through the above processes, what you’ll come to create is one, or a series, of customer ‘avatars’ which you can use to test the success of future products or services, marketing concepts and to clearly illustrate who your target market is to your team or future investors.