So, you have your business set up, your infrastructure is streamlined… now what?  Now who’s going to buy what you have to sell.  This is where you should begin to consider what your target market is.

First, what is a target market?  The standard definition is “a particular group of consumers at which a product or service is aimed towards.”  From this definition, let’s focus on the word particular, which elicits another definition: “of or relating to a single or specific person, thing, group, class, occasion, etc., rather than to others or all; special rather than general.”  As a business owner and entrepreneur, we are aiming toward the specific.

Why?  The simple answer is efficiency.  If you were to spend money on a complete toolset to fasten a nail instead of just a hammer, you’d consider your spending foolish and wasteful.  If there’s one thing all business owners can agree on, it is that saving money is a good thing.  The same goes for marketing. 

When defining what our target market is, we should ask ourselves a few questions: 

Who Is Our Product For? 

If we are selling skateboards, who normally buys skateboards?  Of course, the obvious answer is skating enthusiasts.  Next, let’s ask ourselves what are the stereotypical attributes of skateboarders.  With a little marketing research (, we can see that males between the ages of 13 – 25 tend to make up the largest portion of skaters.  The simplistic answer is that we would tailor our marketing campaigns to appeal to that demographic.

Where Does the Money Come From?

The skateboard example is overly simplistic, but let’s think of another complication: making sure your target market is in a position to spend on a particular product.  Let’s take, for instance, automobiles.  Marketing luxury economical vehicles towards young people might encourage massive desire, but will they have the capital to purchase that while juggling university loans?  Would older people resonate with a sports car when they care more about practicality and longevity?  For the aforementioned skateboarding demographic, do you know many 13 year old’s who have the employment to purchase luxury items?

For this, we must follow who actually makes the purchases and what they’re concerned with—their needs and desires.

Why Are They Buying (or Not Buying)?

Take into consideration why someone would want to purchase your product.  Many factors come into play and the more you consider, the better your product will sell.  If you’re trying to market your moving services in a university town, you may have to consider that students tend to move before the semesters begin and almost immediately after.  Knowing your customers’ needs is essential.

A Target Market Blunder

In a 2006 interview, Frederic Rouzard, the managing director of the wine-making company Louis Roederer, derogatorily criticized the mention and wide-spread use of their champagne, Cristal (, in various hip-hop songs by well-known rappers, including Jay-Z, Raekwon, Big L, and many others.  In return, Jay-Z, a notable businessman and influential luminary (besides being a notable musician), led an industry-wide boycott that ultimately hurt sales for Louis Roederer.

What Rouzard failed to realize was that his wine was being advertised (for free, no less) and marketed towards those that listened to hip-hop, one of the wider demographics in the entertainment industry.  If he had realized the wide-spread enjoyment of his wine among hip-hop aficionados, he may have been able to monetize several target markets beyond his intended ones.