What is a target market?

Target market is a specific group of consumers at which a company aims its products and services. Your target customers are those who you believe are most likely to buy or utilize your product or services. It is important to understand that by making  your target market too general does not allow you to appeal to a larger piece of the market. This common misconception in fact is very costly and well plainly put, makes you look “all over the place” and a bit uh, well erratic. Imagine this! You are in a dart throwing competition in which you’ve been giving 10 darts to throw and hit your target dead in the center. For every time you are able to hit the target in the center, you will be given $200 but, for every dart that does not hit the target in the center, you’ll have to pay $200. Would you just randomly start throwing darts in hopes of one hitting the center target? I’d hope not because that would be quite dangerous and expensive. Not a good idea! If you try to target everyone, you’ll spend a lot of money and time on marketing material that doesn’t work.

Now that you understand the dangers of having a target market that is too general, you’ll need to describe them in as much detail as possible. Remember, no detail is too little or small. Here are a few questions that you should consider.

Are they male or female?

Where do they live?

Ethnicity and educational background?

How old are they?

How much money do they make?

In today’s market, it is no longer safe to say “my target market is young women between the ages of 18-30.” The consumer marketplace has become very distinguished. You can have two young women both the age of 28, one is single, no children, never been married, still lives at home with her parents and the other is married, with one child, and just purchased a home. Take the time to pinpoint who it is that you need to market to. The time spent in the beginning will pay off in the end.

What is a Target Audience?

The term “target audience” is a little bit narrower  and refers to a specific group of consumers targeted by advertisements. An advertisement’s target audience can be the same as the brand’s target market but the target audience can be more well defined. For example, a company’s target market might be “young couples that love to travel, between the ages 18 – 30,” and the target audience for one of its advertisements might be “young couples that love to travel on adventurous excursions, between the ages 18 – 30.” You see how the target audience is a bit more specific?

Don’t Miss the Details

It is important for you to understand your target market vs target audience. If you relay to your graphic designer that your target audience is young couples who love to travel when in actuality the target audience is “young couples that love to travel on adventurous excursions, ages 18 -30,” then you’ve left out a huge margin of information. Your designer is now left to assume some very specific details about the particular audience you are trying to attract.  A professional graphic designer will ask you a series of questions to better learn about your design project but if you don’t know your target market/audience then you are not able to relay the information properly which will result in your graphic designer not being able to effectively create an advertisement that  will appeal to the market you’d ultimately like to appeal to.


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