IDENTIFICATION OF THE TARGET MARKET
by Martin S. St. John
November 25, 2010
In the next several articles, we’ll discuss what I consider to be the most important items for successful business start-up.
The first of them is identification of the target market with detailed information of the customers' generic needs
Generic needs here means "general needs." Determine what the target needs and wants in the product or service you offer. Identify whether these needs or wants is being satisfied by competitors. If not, here is your business and niche. Keep in mind the difference between needs and wants. Needs are those items that are required to sustain human life: food, air, water, shelter and clothing. Wants are needs shaped by society: better or more interesting food, cleaner air, purer water (only in the United States would you be able to sell water which is free from the tap and better for your health at a premium price or to sell it at all), more luxurious and ostentatious housing, and flashier and more expensive clothing. Using only needs and showing how they become target market wants; the reader should be able to see how this will apply to your start-up plans.
The target market is determined through market research using both primary and secondary sources. Primary sources are original research done by you using questionnaires, focus groups, or man in the street interviews. You collect the information, analyze it and produce the pertinent statistics. The danger, of course, is that you don't know how to structure and evaluate the study correctly. You could use secondary research. This utilizes information produced by other groups like: U. S. Census Bureau, The American Demographic, other commonly used sources that are contained in libraries or on the internet. State, county and local government records and websites are also useful. Here the danger is also whether the research is valid and reliable. Check carefully when using any secondary sources, especially internet resources. Make sure it is current (up to date) and accurate. Make sure you verify the basis of the research or you will be basing decisions on invalid information. This could be a pricey mistake.
Collect demographic, psychographic and benefit information on your target market so you can answer the following questions about your customers. Who are they demographically? Where are they geographically? What do they buy? When do the buy? What do they buy? And remember the questions to be answered in the last article: What do the customers' truly want? And why will they buy from you?
Following these guidelines should enable you to determine a target market accurately and profitably
Copyright © 2010 Martin S. St. John. All rights reserved.