Welcome to the Understanding Your Target Market Crash Course.
When you are starting out in business, you will always remember the “basics”. You start with your business license, business cards, door magnets, and hopefully you get around to some digital stuff. You may register your domain and may even build your own website.
Unfortunately, there are a few things that can change the course of every business and most entrepreneurs don’t find out what they are until months or sometimes, even years after they start their business.
In my opinion, there is one specific thing that can make or break a business. If not addressed, can cause a massive loss in business. It can also be the cause of wasted money from your marketing budget.
I like to call it “The Marketing Secret”. No, it isn’t the Law of Attraction. Simply put, it is your Target Market.
Understanding Your Target Market
Understanding what and who your target market is, will forever change the path of your business.
Before I spend any more time talking about the power of your target market, I’m going to break down what your target market is. This way you will be able to understand what and who they are.
Definition: A specific group of consumers at which a company aims its products and services. Source: www.entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia/target-market
Over the next few minutes, you will learn the ins and outs of conducting market research so that you can target your market more effectively.
In this first section, we are going to talk a little about the importance of conducting market research for your business.
It really can’t be stressed enough how important market research is to the success of your business or brand. Understanding your market will guarantee that you are providing the right products and services to your audience, ones that they will be interested in purchasing and at a price point that they are willing to pay.
Without researching your market, you’re just shooting in the dark. With the right type of market research, you’re shining a bright light on your target so you’ll be a lot more likely to be successful.
Market Research Helps You Focus on What’s Most Important
When you conduct market research, it will help you focus on what’s most important to your audience and therefore to you. You cannot make assumptions about your market without confirming them by researching the situation. You might find out that your ideas are wrong or you might find out they’re correct.
It Helps You Learn More about Your Audience
You might think that you can wing it, but if you don’t know everything about your audience that you can, you may make a mistake. For instance, one-time Coke thought it was a good idea to come out with “New Coke” without really learning about what their audience would think about that. It was a colossal failure.
The Research Helps You Know Which Path Is the Most Profitable
When you learn more about your market, you’ll be able to create even better products and services that your audience really wants. In fact, they will think that you’re able to read minds and will clamor to buy what you’re selling.
True Market Research Helps Your Business Adapt
Even when you are marketing to the same general demographic, the morals, views, thoughts, and the ideals of a demographic, changes over time. That’s why companies that have been around for ages have to change their marketing plans and advertising periodically because people change.
The Research Helps in Decision-Making
Having the right information in front of you will help you make a lot better choices for your business and your audience. After all, decisions made with no information, the wrong information, or assumptions will almost always be wrong. Having the right information is going to make your choices so much better.
It Helps You Develop New Strategies
The right marketing research will help you create new approaches for everything you do in your business. With market research done properly, the new things you do for your business will be more likely to work out.
It Helps Reduce Risk
When you know what your market is doing and what they want, you lower your risk of mistakes and failure when pushing out new products and services. Why waste time and money with shooting in the dark when you can shine the light on your work and hit your target every time?
The more information that you have and gather through the market research that you do, the less risk you will face as you conduct product development and marketing to your ideal audience.
Don’t just do market research once; consider it an ongoing need in order to stay competitive in your business. You’ll identify future problems faster, which will enable you to create products and services even faster too.
In this next section, we are going to talk about how to start gathering your primary research.
As we discussed earlier, if you want your business to be successful then you need to understand the importance of conducting market research and gathering primary data. The difference between primary and secondary research is that you get primary information directly from your audience, and you get secondary information from other people who have surveyed an audience or conducted some type of research.
What Is Primary Data?
This is data that you’ve collected on your own without relying on someone else to collect it. You basically go directly to the source for the information. Collect it and gather it on your own. In this way, you can organize the data in the best way for your business.
Collecting Your Own Data
The very best ways to collect your own data is to conduct surveys, do interviews, host focus groups, ask for input from your following on social media and send out questionnaires. Before you start, learn all that you can about your audience so you are sure that you’re collecting the information directly from the right source.
Using software like SurveyMonkey.com or your WordPress website (if you are going to build a website with our free tutorials you can also use Elementor Pro to build basic surveys) to send out a survey to your audience that you can analyze using a spreadsheet, pie charts and other methods that help you to understand the data better.
You can also interview people one-on-one that you know are in your audience. Use Skype, Blab.im, Google Hangout or the old-fashioned telephone to help you conduct interviews of your audience.
Host focus groups
A focus group is a diverse group of people within your target audience with whom you’ll host a discussion answering a particular question. For example, let’s say you’ve created a sales page; you can host a focus group who will try to use your sales page, and then report back how it worked.
Send out questionnaires
These measure various variables of the group taking the questionnaire. They can consist of open-ended as well as closed-ended questions. A questionnaire should only be formulated using positive statements, and should never make any assumptions about the respondent.
Sometimes interviews can end up biased due to how questions are formed or the perceived judgment of the interviewer, but with observing your audience you can gather a lot of unbiased information fast.
The Benefits of Primary Research
Anytime you want to create a product or service or write an article or blog post about or to a specific audience, conducting primary research can be a good way to know how to address your audience. You won’t make mistakes with assumptions if you know the truth about your topic and market.
Getting Started Finding Your Target Market
First, ask yourself what you really want to know. Which method will you use to make the discovery? Which participants will you use, and where will you find your subjects? Plus, you’ll need to figure out how you’ll access the groups that you need to access. You also need to figure out what your own biases are so that you can avoid having them show up in your research.
There are a lot of things to consider when conducting primary research that will make your work, ethical. Always ensure that you have your subject’s permission to gather and use the information, assuring them that you’ll keep their personal information private. Don’t take advantage of people, and report your findings accurately.
As I mentioned above, secondary research is data gathered by other people about your topic of interest. Conducting secondary research is an important start to gathering marketing research. The trick is that you need to find reputable sources for the information, understand whether or not they have an agenda outside of spreading the truth, and then confirm that information with your own primary research.
Before you even get started, you need to know where to get the information from. You want to identify valid sources of information that will work for your needs. Places that are government, educational, and industry outlets work well. Be careful about sources with a particular agenda because they may twist the information to match their own needs.
You’ll put together public data and other information from organizations and industry to develop a start to the secondary research you’re conducting. If you ask yourself what you want to find out and then collect information that answers that question, it’ll be easier to know what to keep.
Sometimes you’ll find conflicting information from different sources. Take a look at that data closely to be sure that the interpretation that you found is accurate in terms of what was really collected. You may need to throw out some sources in favor of others that you deem more accurate.
Once you’ve determined that the information you’ve collected is accurate, fair and representative of your market, you can put it together in a way that’s easy to interpret. Using words, plus graphics and images are often the best way to make the information understandable. What’s more, you’ll want to determine whether you’re putting the information together for yourself to use internally or for your audience.
Understand the Advantages and Disadvantages of Secondary Research
Secondary research has the advantage of being a fast, cost-efficient way to gather data easily, and it has a high level of value. But often it’s very general, and not really indicative of your targeted audience’s wants and needs. You’ll have to do primary research to make sure it’s accurate.
Use Technology to Help
Today, you can use technology to help you, such as accessing various online sources like the US Census via the net so that you can just download the information. It’s amazing what is out there if you know where to look, now that you can do it online.
Sources and Strategies
If you’re not sure where to start, the best place is with a government entity that collects and publishes data about various audiences. Next, look to trade journals, academic research, and with industry experts. You can also ask your colleagues and associates for help with brainstorming before you get started.
They say that if you spend more than 10 to 15 minutes trying to find something online, it doesn’t exist. But, maybe you’re not using the right search terms. Brainstorm at least ten to twenty search terms about your subject matter before starting your search. However, don’t spend too much time on searching because you need to spend more time analyzing.
When you are conducting secondary research, follow leads and look for information in public areas like libraries, government entities, trade journals, and other reputable places before you get hung up on any type of data that you collect.
As we have been discussing, when you are trying to target your market, the best place to begin is by conducting effective research. But, it is important to avoid making these common mistakes.
Using the Wrong Research
You have to step outside your expectations when you conduct market research. Don’t only study information that matches your assumptions, because you could be wrong. Even if your business sells a service, or products to people you think are just like you and you’re in your own target market, your experiences are subjective and not indicative of the experiences of others.
Avoiding Primary Research
Knowing the market size, how it’s performing, and other information readily available to you is considered secondary research. And while it is good information, you need to also get information directly from your audience about your business. Being able to ask your target market directly about their thoughts, feelings, and actions can go far in helping you make good decisions.
Not Researching the Competition
Your competition is very important in your market research because they likely sell to your audience. Knowing how they do things and who they do it with, and everything you can about how they do business will help you do it just a little bit better. Differentiation is the key when it comes to winning against your competition.
Using Poor Reference Materials
It’s important to understand what constitutes good research and what constitutes poor research. There are some legitimate places to research using the internet and some that aren’t. The best places to look are within scholarly research via university approved publications. Be careful about using materials put out by propagandists.
Not Researching Your Audience
It’s best to get access to a list of people who are definitely within your target audience. You can do this via list-building exercises, or you can locate your audience in your competition’s groups and message boards. The more you can communicate with your audience directly and ask them the right questions, the better.
Using Out-of-Date Data
This is very important because even when the demographics stay the same, people change and grow with time. For example, the company Olay doesn’t market their beauty products to their audience the same way today as they did in the 1980s. Their product really hasn’t changed much, but they have to market to their demographic differently so they don’t offend them. You should do the same and avoid using out-of-date information.
Not Using the Market Research
Believe it or not, many business owners don’t even bother using any type of market research at all. They just stick with their assumptions and move forward. This is a huge mistake. When you conduct market research, you may confirm or completely defy your expectations.
Not Asking the Right Questions
When you start with market research, ensure that you’re asking the right questions when you conduct surveys. Creating a good survey is a talent that can be learned. You must phrase the questions correctly, read about survey question mistakes and learn how you can do better.
Remember that market research doesn’t really ever end. Even when you complete the initial research you’ll need to continue with it throughout the lifetime of your business or brand. Because, as mentioned before, even if your actual target market demographics don’t change, they do. They start using different technology, and their opinions and outlook on life evolve with every generation. Market research can help you keep up.
As we close this post, I would like to thank you again for joining me for this. I sincerely hope that you have learned a lot about how to conduct research that will help you target your market more effectively and even though your lessons have come to an end you can still feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I will be more than happy to help.