Identifying Your Ideal Market

Products have no value without markets and markets cannot exist without products. As such, your challenge is to find out where and to whom you can sell your products. Studying the options and making that decision is what is known as “targeting your market.”

The first step you should take in targeting a market involves identifying your ideal customers. You need to determine all sorts of information about them: what segment of the market they fit into, where and when they shop, what they buy, and why they feel the need to buy particular items at particular times. Keep in mind that people do not buy products. They buy solutions to problems. You can either refine your existing products to meet a particular market need or create products to meet market needs. Either way, you need to identify how your product can be of value to a particular market and make it fit the market’s perceived need.

Identifying Your Market
There are three main kinds of customers: first line customers (people who buy products for themselves or for

gifts), third party buyers (buyers from retail stores or owners of import/wholesale companies who will resell your products), and end customers (people to whom the third party buyer sells your products). Once you have identified which group your customer will be, you can begin the process of learning about their likes and dislikes.

Learning About Your Target Customer
Once you’ve identified your ideal customer, take some time to learn all about them. To do this, first learn about their general demographics: age, gender, level of education, occupation, geographic location, nationality, race, income, religion, and other commonly used census classifications.

This information may be available from the national census bureau or local chamber of commerce. For information about U.S. markets, there are two good places to look,  www.census.gov and www.demographics.com. The more you know about your key customers, the easier it will be to design something they will buy.

Understanding Buying Behavior
Beyond your audience’s physical characteristics, other more psychological traits can help you figure out what products to develop. In addition to fixed calendar events, there are other demand triggers (like special events, birthdays, weddings, school promotions, etc.) that will help you decide what kinds of products to develop. Once you’ve answered these many questions you are ready to start developing a product that will best fit your target audience.

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