Taking Aim: A Target Market Checklist

Columnist Gina Casagrande outlines concrete steps to identifying a viable target market for your products or services.

Chat with MarTechBot


With well over 100 million households in the U.S., it’s not practical (or possible) to target everyone. Smart business owners know the importance of zeroing in on a niche market.

By choosing the right audience and tailoring marketing messages accordingly, even the smallest companies can give large corporations a run for their money.

So, how do you choose the right target audience in which to invest your effort, creativity, and resources?

Narrowing Your Sights

When it comes to spending your marketing dollars and optimizing campaigns, you should narrow your sights to the specific segments that are most likely to become customers. It’s also essential to cater to your current customers and foster their loyalty to your brand. A good data management platform can consolidate anonymous data to identify high-value target audiences.

But what should you consider when defining a target audience? Hint: It involves a lot more than age, geolocation, and income. If an audience meets most or all of the following criteria, it’s worth your time, money, and attention.

A viable target audience . . .

Has A Problem That Needs Solving — Urgently

Your audience should have a “pain point” that is keeping them from reaching their full potential — and they should be willing (and able) to pay for solutions.

For instance, if you sell secure online payment processing services, you might target business owners that have searched for “accepting payments online” or “preventing credit card fraud.”

Consider data management platforms that consolidate anonymous customer data to identify those high-value target audiences. It’s important that your landing pages are optimized with timely, personalized content that presents your solutions in a way that resonates with your target audience.

Has Visited Your Site

Every interaction with your website or brick-and-mortar store — no matter how brief — shows visitor intent. Whether the individual came to browse or buy, any previous visitor represents an exploitable target audience.

Real-time analytics and reports enable you to follow trends of visitor behavior and engagement, and then instantly tailor your approach and messaging accordingly.

Values Your Expertise

Do you have the industry-specific knowledge, experience, and track record to win over the trust of this audience, and to establish credibility in their eyes? If your competitors surpass you in this area, you’ve still got work to do before targeting this particular segment.

To gauge a consumer’s level of confidence in your business, consider sending out a brief email survey or integrating an on-site survey as a user proceeds through (or abandons) the checkout process.

Another way to gain credibility is to partner with a technology vendor that can provide expert insights in testing, targeting, personalization, and other routes on your optimization roadmap.

Can Show You The Money

It wouldn’t make good business sense to entice an audience that can’t afford your product or service. Before investing your time and effort, make sure the market has the means to generate revenue.

For instance, when targeting customers that spend more per order, you would want to use higher-end content; more budget-conscious shoppers would likely respond better to promotional, price-focused messaging.

Is Being Targeted By Your Competitors

If other established businesses in your industry are focusing on a certain niche, that segment is most likely worth your attention.

By using a good social platform to research and monitor your competitors, you can get a good idea of their marketing behaviors and the segments they’re targeting.

Once you’ve found a segment (or multiple segments) that meets most of these criteria, you’ve got a solid foundation for a successful personalization/marketing campaign.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Gina Casagrande
Gina Casagrande is a Personalization Evangelist and Team Lead at Adobe with over 15 years of digital marketing experience. An expert in in A/B/N and Multivariate testing, as well as Behavioral Targeting optimizations, she is focused on helping our customers understand how they can use analytics-based decision-making to deliver exceptional and targeted customer interactions across online marketing channels including search, display, email, social, mobile and website, leading to increased conversions and customer loyalty.

Fuel for your marketing strategy.