Defining a Target Market: Matching your products with People

target market quote and marketing tips chris milton

Do you ever have that feeling that you missed out on something? That you might have been the only person on the planet that didn’t get the memo? Or possibly, that something you really wanted to do just happened and you didn’t notice?

You’ve probably shifted target markets.

We recently went out for dinner with a group of friends and it was a great time. But, between our visits to this restaurant, my wife’s favourite dish was no longer on the menu. And, one of our friend’s favourite drink was no longer on the menu.

To right the ship, it happened to be part of dine-out Vancouver, which was a pleasant surprise. Getting a great deal on the meal.

So what was going on? Why were we feeling out of place and out of touch?

We had shifted away from the audience profile of the restaurant. We were no longer the singles out on a date, getting a good meal before hitting the town.  We were now the married couple catching up with old friends so they could spend time with our baby daughter.  While we’re the same people, the decisions we make have changed.  And to be honest, that restaurant is right to not market to us.

Defining a target market: understand your best customers

To properly define your target market, it takes a deep understanding who your best customers are. We, not frequenting the restaurant in over a year, were obviously not the ideal customers.  That why the advertising for the promotion didn’t hit the channels we actively use, even though we occasionally see the restaurant’s ads.

I live in a unique city. Vancouver’s real estate market is different from many others around the world, yet defining a target market for any property can follow a familiar process to other products and services. Why is this important?  You do not want to be missing opportunities because your resources are being pointed in the wrong direction.

Target Market Definition:

First, for those coming to this page looking for a “definition of target market“, here it is, straight from the encyclopedia at entrepreneur.com:

“A specific group of consumers at which a company aims its products and services”

Now, with that out of the way, lets move on for those who want to “define their own target market” as this article is intended.

Your Product and its Appeal to your Customers

No matter the product, there is a reason why it is attractive to certain people.  This attractiveness usually leads to purchases.  To become attractive, each product has one or more features, benefits and grabbers that will appeal to your audience.  The feature will have a benefit and a grabber to your audience.


Every product is made up of features. Each input that is used in making a product can become an asset if it delivers a positive outcome to who ever is using the product.  In many cases, we have home owners who are interested in the construction process, yet each of the materials being used might not offer a benefit.  This is usually because the home owner won’t be interacting with the material or each material is essential for any building to be constructed.  In addition to adding benefits, there should be some differentiation from your competitors.


The reason the feature is important is because it does something.  This something is the benefit.  Having air conditioning in your condo is a great feature, but if it doesn’t cool your home, it doesn’t have a benefit.  The user-benefit will make the difference for your target market to appreciate and validate the features of your product.


Although the feature has a benefit, there needs to be a reason that gets the attention of the audience.  The grabber can be something as simple as a bright colour, or as powerful as a celebrity endorsement.

The People

The art of matching people with products is becoming easier as the volume of data available helps profiling and define target markets.  Truly take the time to research the information and use it to build one or more target market profiles.  Experience can be an asset, but you can’t be an expert in everything, everywhere.  Find the data that will help paint a picture of your ideal customer.  Unfortunately, more people spend time knowing the details of their favourite TV characters before knowing their ideal clients. Don’t make that mistake.

There are so many free resources you can use. Just by starting with Statistics Canada, you can find lots of information for free.  Take a look at all the info above the fold on their homepage today!

The numerous market research firms can offer additional information, mostly for a fee. Depending on the depth needed for your target market profile, this might be a good option too.

Overall, your target market is important for all sales, regardless of the product you have.  Take the time to figure out your product’s features, benefits and grabbers before trying to see who your best customer would be.

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