If you’ve been following along at home, you now know why you want a target market and how to select a target market segment. The next step is to get acquainted with your target customers, as intimately as possible.
Things you might want to know
Where your customers hang out. Where they work. Where they live. How they get between those places. How much time they spend at each of them. How much time they spend between them. Who they hang out with at each location.
That way, you can be in those places too, or put ads there, or make sure that your product is in those locations
What a typical day looks like to your customers: when they get up; what they eat for breakfast, lunch dinner; how they spend their mornings, afternoons, evenings; when they eat; when they go to bed.
That gives you an idea of what other products they might buy (for cross-promotions) and of when would be the best time to communicate your message, and how much time they have available to use your product, and how much time they have available to shop for your product, and what other features they might want with your product.
What matters to your customers: what causes do they support? What changes would they most like to see in the world? What church do they go to? Which politicians and which ballot issues did they vote for? Against? Where do they volunteer? To which charities do they send their money?
That allows you to connect with your customers and to let them know that you understand and value them. If your product ties in with these beliefs, it gives them a reason to buy from you. If nothing else, it can prevent your accidentally offending potential customers.
What your customers like: Where do they spend their discretionary income? Who are their friends? What do they talk about when hanging out with friends? What are their favorite TV shows, books, magazines, sports, colors, toys?
That allows you to design a product that your customers like and to advertise or communicate in channels they’re likely to see, and to craft your message in a way that they’ll like.
Your customers’ relationships: What’s their relationship status? How many close friends do they have? How many ‘weak ties’ do they have? Do they have a large or small immediate family? What is their place within it? Do they have a large or small extended family? What’s their definition of family? Do they value family? Do they value relationships? Are they introverted or extroverted?
Your customers’ financial situation: Do they work for money? What kind of work do they do? Do they like their jobs? How much money do they have? How much of that is discretionary? Do they consider your product a want or a need? Do they have the same amount of money each month, or does it vary? Are they savers or spenders? How do they feel about money?
Things you might not care about
Some of those things may matter to you. Some may not.
There’s a large range of “mattering”, based on your business and your customers: a restaurant cares very much what their customers eat for breakfast; a gym doesn’t care quites as much, but it’s likely to be fairly consistent from customer to customer; a lawyer can use it to select appropriate gifts for clients, but is in no way hampered by not knowing; and I don’t care in the slightest what you had for breakfast.
Some factors will be consistent form customer to customer: I can fairly safely assume that you are in some way dissatisfied with your current financial situation, and are looking for options for changing it.
Some factors will vary from customer to customer. I might like to know your age, but the fact is that I have readers in high school and readers who are getting social security checks, so age is not a factor I can use to better understand my clients.
Some factors you may choose not to use: most of my current readers are white, middle-class, and live in the US, but I try not to let it affect my writing, in hopes that this blog will be helpful to a wide variety of readers.
The goal is to know your target market
The goal is to understand your customers better, so that you can serve them better. In the end, that’s the standard you have to use.
Will knowing this distract you from the stuff you should be focusing on? Then ignore it.
Will knowing this help you understand your customers better? Then make the effort to find out.
Resources for Further Reading
Aricia LaFrance specializes in exactly what I’ve been talking about: getting to know what kind of customer you want, and learning all about them so that you can attract them to your business. If you’re having trouble identifying your ideal clients, or figuring out how to get them, she can help.