Generous Etsian blondechicken is getting an MBA and we all get to benefit from it! Here on the Storque, blondechicken is doing a series called “Dispatches from B-School.” She blogs at Blondechicken.blogspot.com. Here’s her second installment all about your Target Market…
Before we jump into the 7 areas of Marketing Communications, it’s important that we determine WHO we are communicating with. In the last post, we learned about the purposes of marketing communication (inform, persuade, remind) and that each of your marketing communications needs to be doing one (or, preferably, more than one) fulfilling those purposes. As important as this is; it is just as important that you are informing, persuading and reminding the RIGHT people. To do this, we need to determine who our market is. Let’s start with some terminology so we’re all on the same page. I’m going to give the “textbook” definition (actually from my Marketing textbook!) and then my Etsy-world definition.
Textbook: “a group of people or organizations with needs to satisfy or problems to solve, the money to satisfy needs or solve problems, and the authority to make expenditure decisions” (Ch 2).
My definition: everyone in the whole world that needs or wants something and that has the money and the ability to buy it.
Textbook: “dividing a market into subsets of prospective customers who behave in the same way, have similar wants or have similar characteristics that relate to purchase behavior.” (Ch 7).
My definition: the smaller groups within the larger market that are interested in the same things and shop/read/listen to the same outlets.
Textbook: “a defined group of consumers or organizations with whom a firm wants to create marketing exchanges” (Ch 1).
My definition: the specific group of potential buyers that you want to communicate with, through your marketing.
You could try to communicate with the entire Market…but you’ll be wasting your time (and maybe money) on people who don’t need the product you’re selling. You want to apply market segmentation to split up the larger market. Once you’ve segmented, pick the specific segments that you can communicate with and that DO already want or need your product.
This group is your Target Market.
To save time and money, your business only needs to market to this Target Market. Why? Well, let’s look at an example:
I handspin and dye eco-friendly yarn. It would be silly for me to try to communicate with the entire world, because not everyone wants/needs yarn (or knows what to do with it outside of kindergarten craft projects!). So who does need yarn? Off the top of my head my market segment contains Knitters, Crocheters, Weavers, Mixed Media Artists (we’ll just call all of the above ‘fiber artists’ for now). But not all of those people use a computer, let alone feel comfortable shopping online. And not all the people that shop online can afford artisanal yarn. And fewer still are willing to pay for (or see the value in) handcrafted supplies (I think of this market segmentation as Wal-Mart’s target market). And to segment it even further, some people just won’t care for my ‘eye’ or ‘vision’ or that ‘je ne sais quoi’ that makes my shop different from the other handspinners on Etsy. So you see, my Target Market is fiber artists that shop online, value handcrafted supplies and appreciate my use of color and material. Score!
As you grow and expand, you might add new Target Markets, but for now, let’s narrow it down to just one, really well-defined market. We need to further define this market so that we know out how/where/in what way to reach your Target market. I think this is the easiest way to hone in on who your Target Market is: answer a set of questions about one member of your Target Market. So take a minute and envision this one potential buyer in your head and get ready for a little roleplay.
Are you having a hard time thinking of one specific buyer? If you sell something like jewelry or soap which so many people need/use, you may find it impossible to narrow it down so much. So I ask you: do you love your product? Do you use it? If so, YOU are your target market. (If not, rethink your product!) I know you are one of a kind and all that, but the truth is, there are others who ARE like you: they shop where you shop, read what you read and appreciate your taste in clothes/jewelry/soap smells. So ask these questions of yourself and you’ll be on your way to defining at least one Target Market.
Each product will have different questions, but here are some off the top of my head:
Who are they? Male or Female? Conservative or Liberal? Blue collar or white collar? What blogs and magazines do they read? What music do they listen to? What clothes do they wear? Where do they shop? What do they value? What movies do they like? Do they craft? What are their hobbies? Do they have kids? A significant other? What forums do they frequent? What size town do they live in? Do they have a specific skill set? Are they already on Etsy or not? Why not?
Now, for your homework:
Take out a sheet of paper (or open a blank Word document) and describe this one member of your Target Market, in detail. Answer the questions above and come up with some your own. If you still have a hard time imagining your Target, describe yourself. Be sure to list specifics, because you’ll use this list to determine WHICH area of Marketing Communications to use.
All done? Come share your findings in this forum thread. Need help or encouragement? Just ask and I’ll be happy to help you define your Target.
Next up: The areas of Marketing Communication and how to make them speak your language.
Marketing: Principles and Perspectives, by Bearden, Ingram and La Forge