One of the first questions we ask our clients and potential clients is, “Who is your target audience?” The response is almost always something along the lines of “My product is great; it appeals to everyone.”

Although enthusiasm for one’s business is great, it can blind us to our primary target audience. If you don’t know who your customers are, what they want, where they live, and what they can afford, it isn’t easy to meet their needs and desires. Furthermore, to maximize your marketing and advertising expenditure, you must tailor your marketing and sales efforts to specifically reach the population segment that will most likely buy your product or service.

To do so, it is critical that you first determine or identify your primary market. Targeting your market is simply defining who your primary customer will be. Your primary market should also be measurable, sufficiently large, and reachable.

An example of an inadequate description of a target market is “Zero Printing Solutions targets mid-sized firms with mid-sized projects.” This description is not a measurable target market.

A better example could be “Absolute Printing Solutions targets firms within a radius of 20 miles, with annual revenue of at least $10 to $25 million and a need for four-color printing runs of approximately 5,000 pieces.” This market description contains enough specificity that you can determine the market size and addressability by performing market analysis.

Although it looks like the better example contains difficult to find information, the tools necessary to identify your target market are readily available once you know where to look. Your ultimate goal should be to determine whether a target market is large enough to sustain your business on an ongoing basis. If your market is not large enough to sustain your business, your business model may not be viable. Also, your market needs to be reachable. Many entrepreneurs overestimate their market size by not looking at their own deliverability capabilities. There must be ways of talking to your target audience. If you cant reach your target audience with your marketing messages, you will find it difficult to convince them to purchase your product.

Our Absolute Guide to Marketing provides you with the tools needed to identify your target market. The first step in identifying your primary target market is to explore your product (or brand) appeal.