It’s interesting to hear the amount of times we have asked clients, ‘Who is your target market?’ and they have responded with either ‘everyone’, or ‘I don’t know’. It’s absolutely imperative to understand who you’re appealing to, in order to ensure that your marketing isn’t wasted and is leveraged to its full potential.

Only by answering some key questions about your target market will you be able to engage and communicate with your audience in a relevant manner.

If you can’t define who your target market is, the following questions will get you on your way.

1. Why Do I Need It?

In order to pry you away from tasks that seem more important for the day to day running of your company it’s imperative to understand why you need to invest time in research and insight.

A clear understanding of your target market will give you the tools to manage the communications and the media channels that you can use in your marketing strategy.  Primarily, you should understand your audience’s needs, wants, and how your product or service can benefit them.

Insight will also determine whether you need to create a brand campaign to generate awareness of your company, or a direct marketing campaign to increase your conversion rate.

2. Who Do I Target?

You will only ever be after two types of audience – people that have interacted and purchased your product (Existing Customers), and those that haven’t (Prospects).  It’s important to distinguish what and how you communicate to each audience, as your strategy will have different objectives for each.

If you don’t have any existing customers, you will certainly have an understanding of who you think they are, but to be effective you need to know who they are.  Get in front of your prospects whenever and however you can.  For clients in the past we have attended industry events, as well as cold calling, to survey and gather as much knowledge as we could.

Your existing customers provide a fertile environment to gather an understanding of your target market.  Working with one of our clients previously, the first thing we did was contact their existing customers with a short survey to paint a picture of who our clients existing audience was.

3. How Do I Get Insight?

Execution of the research is the most painstaking, but the most beneficial.  If you have existing customers you can use online surveys such as Polldaddy or Survey Monkey to create free online surveys and then send that to your customers asking about their experience.  If you have email addresses of existing customers or prospects, use these to send your online surveys out.  If you manage a number of social networks, advertise your online survey link and get the message out as much as you can.

To increase participation, you could offer a reward for participating in the survey, for example a financial or percentage discount off their next purchase, if it’s a wide ranging industry survey you could offer to provide them the results before publicising.

Industry events are not only a great way to meet influential people in your industry, but a chance to also meet potential customers.  We have previously had our team attend a clients networking event and we were able to capture relevant information on the people at the event for them.  Out of this, we were able to provide a greater level of detail around how, where, and what our client should be marketing.

4. What Do I Capture?

Before you even think about the questions to ask, you need to first determine what your objectives are, what is it that you want answered once you have all the results of your surveys? Should your questions focus on the demographics, psychographics, product or service, or potentially a mix of all?

Demographics provide a skeleton and an outline of your target market.  It contains general information such as age, gender, locality, education status, marital status.  Questioning deeper, include questions around their job title, employment status, and remuneration.

If demographics are an outline sketch of your target audience, psychographics are the colour between the lines.  Questions as far ranging from what newspaper they read, to what sports or the arts are they interested in, to what social media they use regularly will paint a picture of your audience

The real answer to a lot of your marketing questions will be around your product/service and how it impacts them, what benefits they see true value in, would they purchase again or recommend to a friend, did it meet expectations, and other questions to give you really informative feedback on how you should present your communications.

5. When Do I Get Insight?

Data is heavy, but insight is rich.  Once you have received and analysed your data, the insight that you pull out of it should paint a picture of your audience.   You will find recurring answers for each question set and from this you can start to develop ‘pen portraits’, or profiles of what a ‘typical’ customer looks like.

You will be able to start to group and collate a lot of the data into clusters and groups, and from this, drilling into the information you will find a number of customer segments that are ripe to target.  You should have an understanding of marketing messages, media channels, features, benefits, and even offers that may be applicable that will either enhance your branding or your direct marketing campaign.


If you need some insight or pen portraits of your target market, speak to us today!