Target Market – How to Identify and Understand your Target Market

Feb 1, 2017 | Business Marketing | 0 comments

target marketUnderstanding your target market is a prerequisite to your business success. You cannot sell to everyone. And not everyone around you is a potential buyer. That is why you must concentrate on the people to whom you will introduce it after developing your product. It’s a challenging area for most businesses. Though many companies choose to advertise generally to the masses, spending your time, energy and resources on a target market (specific people) is more effective in maximising your return on investment (ROI).

Let me use this example. When we started a laser engraving business, we began making rubber stamps. We offered two stamp brands: Brother pre-inked stamps and Shiny self-inking stamps. We discovered that schools, banks, hospitals, churches, non-governmental organisations, and local governments made up our target market. Most small private businesses preferred buying stamps from veranda stamp makers, and we didn’t focus on them. We learned where to find the people we wanted to target, how to market to them, and when. 

The time you spend understanding your target market helps you not to market indiscriminately. Why? It’s because you know a specific group of people to target. It leads you to spend your resources cost-effectively and maximise your ROI.

How Do You Then Identify Your Target Market?

This aspect is vital and the first consideration you should make in your marketing plans. Most people are not sure of where to begin. We have, therefore, written this article to teach you how to identify your target demand.

#1 – Prioritise Your Target Market!

Prioritising is one of the essential aspects of identifying your target customers. Since you cannot sell to everyone, spend some time focusing on that group of people that are likely to buy from you. How do you do it?

First, Identify Why One Would Want to Buy Your Product or Service!

Here you ask yourself who is most likely to use your product. The focus should be on the benefits one gets from using your product or service. Think benefits derived from using the product you offer to answer why one would buy from you. For instance, our wood bags are laser-cut from wood with nylon string. These are mere features. The benefits to the customers are looking unique and elegant. They motivate whoever wants to buy our laser-cut wood bags.

features benefits

Features and Benefits

As you look for answers, focus on age, buying power (propensity to buy), interests, education level, race, religion, marital status and geographical location. Using the above example of wood bags, we target modern working women with a reasonable income in urban places.

Secondly, Sieve Your Target Market

For instance, ask yourself who can buy wood bags. Using the gender filter, you can realise that it’s significantly ladies. OK, you now know that ladies are your target customers. Continue sieving using the age filter. What could be the age range of the potential women buyers of these wood bags? Then, use the income level filter to sieve further! What could be the income level of these ladies? You finally arrive at a more focused target market as you sieve through the filters. You can also test it with different filter combinations.

Thirdly, Segment Your Market

Segmenting your market means breaking down your broader market into smaller segments with similar characteristics. For instance, clients of our wood bags are particularly ladies. OK, some of these ladies purchase our bags to give as gifts to their valued friends, while others buy them for personal use. But we also have married men who buy them for their sweethearts. There are also business people who buy them to resell them for a profit. We now have three segments with different characteristics.

What does it mean? It means targeting each segment with different marketing strategies because every section has varying wants and needs. Secondly, it enables us to customise our wood bags depending on the diverse needs of each group. Thirdly, our marketing budget is more likely to be cost-effective because we spend our resources, time and energy promoting one type of customer (target market segment). Does that make sense to you?

#2 – Obtain Data for Your Target Market!

survey data analysis

Survey Data Analysis

Getting data is another challenging area for most people. But it should not be taken to be complicated. From the above information, if you take the trouble to do it right, probably you already have good knowledge of your target market. What you need to do is to have it backed up with evidence by obtaining data. You can do this in several ways:

Do a Survey

You can choose to do it yourself or hire a marketing firm to gather data. Whichever way you want, questionnaires are inevitable. It’s, therefore, crucial that the questions you set to bring out in your survey find out about your target demand.

If you choose to do it yourself, you can distribute your survey through personal visits, email your lists, post on your blog, promote online using survey programs like Survey Monkey, and post on your social media networks.

Draw From an Existing Data

This aspect works best if your product or service is similar to those already on the market. You can do this in two ways: making an observation and finding out online.

Making an observation is not difficult. For example, if you want to open a restaurant but already a few are in the area, spend some time at one, two, or three. While there, take note of the type of food each customer orders, age, ethnicity and gender. Take note of the favourite food and the busiest period of the day.

Finding out online requires you to search the web for information about the type of customers that purchase a product similar to yours.

Look to Your Already Established Networks

You can get data from your friends, business colleagues, family members, existing customers and acquaintances. Ask them direct questions. Would you buy this product? Do you know someone who could need it? Note their feedback. You can also give them samples to try out.

Identifying your target market is crucial and the key to success in your business. If you are a success-oriented business person, you should reserve some time and resources to research your target market. But do you know what to find out about them?

Here Are 11 Key Issues to Research about your Target Market

♦  Your Target Market’s Demographic Profile

This profile includes finding out about their gender, age, income, education and employment. If your target market comprises companies, you should consider the type of industry and the number of employees. This information helps you know the kind of people or companies that do business with you.

♦  Interest and Habits

What do they like and dislike? Secondly, what are their habits? Find out what your target market’s interests are and how they behave. It will help you know what motivates them and how their changing patterns can affect your business.

♦  Where Your Target Market Goes to Find Products or Services Like Yours

Which other businesses in your niche have products or services similar to what you offer? With this information, you will be able to know who your competitors are and think about what to do to remain in business.

♦  Important Aspects

Things that your target market takes to be important when buying products or services like yours. How do they perceive you and your business? And how do they describe you and your business?

♦  What They Are Comfortable Paying

What is the price you charge? And what is the quality of your products? Does your target market feel concerned or unconcerned about paying the price you charge?

♦  What Their Characters Are

You need to find out about the issues related to the character of the individuals with whom you do business and find out about their strengths, weaknesses, personality and many others.

♦ The Location

As a businessman, you should know where your customers originate. For instance, from which regions do they come? Why? How do you reach them, or how do they get to your business and buy from you?

♦  How They Go About Purchasing the Products or Services You Offer

Do they buy the first time they visit your store, or do they take time to buy? Are they easily motivated? How enthusiastic are they?

♦  Where Your Target Market Goes to Find Solutions Like Yours

Which people’s problems are you solving? And which other businesses are currently addressing the same issue? How can you position yourself to do business with your target market? Secondly, how can you convert your customers’ motivations into your products’ characteristics?

♦  How They Like to Buy

How motivated are they? Do they have a strong desire to buy your product? How enthusiastic are they? This information helps you determine how to improve your sales.

♦  Impact of Your Special Offers

What special offers do you have? How have they impacted your business? Do you see any positive change? What else can you offer to get better results?


As I wind up, the success of your business depends on your ability to sell as many products as you can afford. Selling requires marketing skills. You can never sell your product to everyone. Therefore, it’s essential to focus first on identifying your target market.

Then find out about your target customers, their evolving problems, interests and habits! Know what happens on the market that may influence them! Find out how to get to your target customers. Always think about finding out more and more about your target market.

What else? Share your views!

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