“Anyone who buys our stuff.”
As a marketer, I often hear that answer, and I cringe.
It is true, most businesses would accept practically any paying customer. But, that’s not how marketing should work.
When you try to market to everyone, it will dilute your message and you’ll end up marketing to no one.
First, you need to decide your target market.
Your target market is a broad group of potential customers defined by ranges. For example, for your business, a target market might be ages 18 to 34, location, or a certain income bracket. This is a broad base of people that’s more likely to purchase the product or service your business offers. The target market can then be broken down into more specific target customer groups should you decide to customize your marketing efforts.
A restaurant may have a target market that read like this:
ABC Bar and Grill’s target market is 21-35 year old, professionals that live within 3 miles of the location.
Then, you can decide on a target customer.
Your target customer is the person you’ve identified as most likely to purchase your products. This is a much more detailed version of your target market, as you’ve identified certain aspects of this individual. The detail might include a specific age instead of a range, a specific income level versus a large swath of income types, and the reasons these customers are most likely to purchase your products.
The same restaurant may have a target customer that reads like this:
ABC Bar and Grill’s target customer is a 29 year old, professional, earning $50k-$75k per year, that travels along the I-95 corridor past the location.
When you start a new business, sometimes you will need to change your target customer as you discover who your business is attracting by default.
The benefit of identifying your target customer greatly helps with your marketing efforts because now you know who you are trying to talk to, where they work, what social media platforms they may be on, and other identifying characteristics.
As you market to this group of people, they would be the most likely to buy your products, making your marketing efforts that much more effective.