Your target market is the customer group that will buy your product or solution; this specific market is made up of customers who want or need what you’re offering.

Historically, marketers have defined target markets using factors or demographics such as age; an example would be such 18- to 33-year-old males. This type of segmentation in the consumer marketplace is now considered inadequate, because of the new sophistication of the consumer and of our increased knowledge of segmentation.

For example, it was commonly thought that someone in their late twenties was an adult, likely married with children, and quickly headed to middle age. Yet, in the new millennium, we find that, while some people in their late twenties fit this profile, many others of the same age group still live at home and remain dependent on their parents for financial support. Often, they are unmarried and have no children. Yet, the old segmentation lumps these two disparate groups into one bucket.

Additionally, “cohort marketing”, a term originating in consumer marketing circles, defines customer segments using a common experience or multiple experiences shared by a group of people. They have a bond and a common set of needs or interests. For example, Apple computer users who choose not to follow convention with the Windows operating systems; instead, they take pride in the cult-like creativity and independence that Apple products offer.

So, what does this mean to the entrepreneur? It means that the target market needs to be carefully defined. Your product or solution needs to match precisely with a market segment that wants or needs what you offer. If you define your market too broadly, you might find yourself with a customer who is indifferent to your offering and may be suspect to move to the competitor that better understands his or her needs.

John Bradley Jackson
© Copyright 2008 All rights reserved.

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