What is your target market? Who are you actually looking to reach? Be sure to put your target market under a microscope because it needs to not be broad.
No one can afford to target everyone. As my partners and I work on SpartyPost, our solution to the future of campus media, we have to find our best target market. Reading Inc.’s How to Define Your Target Market helped us figure out that our target market would have to be college students ranging from the ages of 18-26.
Defining your target market is difficult because it can range from many demographics, characteristics, and there are many questions to be answered. A key takeaway in the article that helped is this: once you know who you are targeting, it is much easier to figure out which media you can use to reach them and what marketing messages will resonate. This does not eliminate anyone from being a potential consumer, but it allows you to maximize return and minimize risk.
The first question to ask is: Do they have a need for it?
When evaluating your market this is a very important question because the economy has changed and your target has to benefit from the services and it has to be affordable for the potential demographic.
A lot of cord-cutting and streaming in recent years has hurt cable and music sales. In the news industry social media has become a disruptor but in a sense a competitor. What can you offer that sways your potential target?
Jessica Lessin of The Information and Ben Thompson of Stratechery — which I discovered in this New York Times article — have proven there are ways to help local news without reliance on social media. With news there is always the stories that want to be heard but everyone is busy covering the more “significant things.”
I thought that in this day and age subscription-based news would be a thing of the past. But Lessin shows it can be accomplished — with a differentiated product. Lessin differentiated her product by charging a lot for quality product informing users about technology.
The next question to ask is: Are there enough people who fit my criteria?
Looking at the Information and Stratechery, many subscribers look at their subscription as business expense. Reason being is their target market consist of people in technology and finance and wealthy industries will pay for this because it offers business tips and strategies to help them prosper.
Your target market can really influence your ability to market your product because it sets you apart and sure technology is different from politics, entertainment, sports and much more content. Differentiating your product is key to developing your brand.
Trevor Kaufman, CEO of Piano, in an interview with Ricardo Bilton of Nieman Lab, said one thing struck my attention:
“I think that what you’re going to see is more publishers developing products that for the first time don’t look exactly like the newspaper or the magazine.”
So, the basis of developing a target market is answering a lot of questions, one in general is: How will you differentiate your product from the next because competition is always going to be around.
Rather you choose to charge for you product or make it free, your market depends on a lot of things in order to be a success.