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What are target markets?

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Any marketing agency will tell you the importance of marketing market segmentation when developing a marketing strategy. But if you’re not well-versed on the subject of target marketing for small businesses, the phrase “target markets” might just be one more instance of marketing lingo you’ve stumbled across but don’t really understand.

As an experienced marketing agency, we’ve walked many of our Nashville clients through defining and utilizing target marketing for their business, and we can do the same for you. This guide will break down ‘what are target markets?’ and how you can make the most of segmenting the market in your marketing strategy.

Target markets defined

Human walking in a cross walk with a building in the background.

So, what is a target market?

Markets are groups of people who are likely to be interested in your product or service. Many times, you’ll analyze your existing customer base to get an idea of who is buying from you, then break them down by demographics like:

  • Industry
  • Job title
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location

One way of looking at it is by thinking of it as matchmaking. In order to find the best match, you want to be clear about who you are and who you appeal to. Once you’re clear about that, you can focus all your energy on attracting that group of people. Successful segmenting the market involves connecting the right customers with the right brand.

A good marketing agency isn’t just focused on finding you business; they should be finding you ideal customers

It’s no secret that not every person who comes across your brand will be interested in the products or services you provide. But it’s worth remembering that you’re not going to want to work with every potential customer that comes along, either.

While the occasional high-maintenance customer is part of running a business, there are some customers who will never be happy no matter what you do, because they’re simply not the right “fit” for your business.

It’s important to keep this in mind and make sure your marketing activities are geared towards connecting with people who mesh with your brand identity. If your marketing team is getting you more leads than you’ve ever dreamed of, but most of them aren’t the ideal customer for your business, it’s a pretty good sign that your marketing strategy needs an overhaul.

Understanding marketing market segmentation can help you identify the specific needs and preferences of different customer groups, ensuring your marketing efforts are more effective.

The more aligned your leads and customers are with your company’s values, the less time you’ll spend converting them, and the more time you’ll have to focus on providing excellent customer service, so they come back time and again.

Plus, customers who absolutely love what you do are likely to shout your name from the virtual rooftops, raving about your business to their social network and providing you with free word-of-mouth advertising.

How to use target markets for your business

Using data (such as an organization’s existing customer base) in order to make business decisions (like formulating a marketing strategy) can improve your return on investment by a whopping 241%. With results like that, there’s no time to lose in implementing segment marketing in your next marketing strategy.

Using data can improve your return on investment by a whopping 241%.


A well-executed marketing market segmentation plan allows you to tailor your marketing messages to resonate with specific segments, increasing the likelihood of conversion. Of course, it’s all fine and good when a marketing agency tells a business owner to start using a new concept, but how do you actually do it? Thankfully, it’s easier than you might think to incorporate your target market into your marketing efforts.

Uncover your “why”

The first step in connecting with your target segment of the market is getting clear about who you are as a brand. That means uncovering your “why”, and drilling deep into the values and purpose that make your brand unique.

The clearer you are on how your brand’s purpose sets it apart from the competition, the better able you’ll be to decide how you want to present it to the world. And when you can do that, you make it easier for your ideal customers to find you.

71% of consumers (and 83% of millennials) are more likely to buy from a brand that shares their values, so it’s crucial that you’re clear about what your brand stands for, and make it as easy as possible for like-minded customers to go out of their way to do business with you.

Millennials are 83% more likely to buy from a brand that shares their values

Develop buyer personas

As we described above, segment of the market is broken down into general demographics based on your existing customer base. By understanding who is already buying from you, you’ll have a better idea of who might buy from you in the future. You can take this knowledge to direct your marketing efforts directly to that market of buyers.

Incorporating marketing market segmentation into your buyer personas ensures you address the unique needs and preferences of each segment, creating more personalized and effective marketing campaigns.

Buyer personas take the concept of targeted marketing a step further, in that they use the information you’ve gathered from your target market research to formulate fictional personas of ideal buyers. You can learn buyer personas in 5 minutes; doing so will help you understand your potential customers’ needs even better and narrow your scope that much more.

Make a market positioning strategy

Market positioning refers to where your brand sits in relation to the competition in the minds of your potential customers. Positioning is one of the most powerful marketing concepts a brand can use; when done effectively, it puts a very clear picture of the brand similarities and differences from the competition. 

Think about buying a couch from Wayfair versus buying a couch from Restoration Hardware (RH). Wayfair has positioned itself as the convenient option, where RH has positioned itself as the luxury experience. People who want to sit on a couch before they buy it are very unlikely to purchase from Wayfair, but those that don’t want the hassle of going into a store are more likely to appreciate their business model. Is either one better than the other? Not on face value, they have just positioned themselves to win different types of customers based on how they set up their operations.

Develop marketing market segmentation plan with our marketing agency

Developing a target market is an essential part of marketing for a small business. It isn’t difficult to do, but it takes time and commitment. Sometimes it can also help to have an outside eye guide you through the process so you can get a clear picture of your business and target audience.

As part of our marketing services, our Nashville-based team of marketers can help you drill down into the groups of people most likely to be interested in your product or service so you can focus directly on them. If you’d like to set up a discovery call, contact us now to get started.

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