Marketing ResearchMany small business owners I work with underestimate the value of marketing research. Marketing research is important in developing your brand and establishing your unique place in the marketplace. More importantly, it is crucial in identifying your target audience.

Here are some key tips to identifying your target audience:

Targeting is Imperative

No business can afford a haphazard or shotgun approach to marketing. Doing so is expensive and a waste of time. This is why in today’s fragmented, hyper-competitive marketplace, knowing your audience is crucial.

But this doesn’t mean you should take an exclusive approach. Identifying a target audience isn’t about excluding a potential customer base, simply because they don’t fit into some rigid or pre-defined criteria. Rather, it is about using marketing research to identify people who likely have an affinity for your product. This will allow you to maximize the use of your ad spending and direct it at a specific group of people interested in what you are selling.

Define and Refine

Marketing research will also help you define and refine who your audience is, what their needs are and what motivates them. Knowing this information will help you establish your customer base and maintain customer loyalty.

Marketing research will also provide invaluable information needed to identify your target audience. These include:

  • Identifying shared characteristics of your existing customer base such as age, level of education, income and occupation.
  • Examining your competitors’ customers to see if there is a market gap and how what you are selling or providing can fill it
  • Assessing buyer motivation: Why would people need your product or service? What motivates them to buy what you are selling? What need does it fill?
  • Understanding buyer behavior and preferences. Millennials, for example, are now avoiding cereal because they dislike the clean-up.

The Bottom Line

Identifying your target audience by conducting marketing research is key to better defining your brand, and ultimately, your audience. You will be armed with the necessary information to market to the right group of people and gain insights into any market gaps. As a result, you will benefit from increased customer growth and retention—what every business owner strives for.

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