Checklist: know your market

Do you want to sell to the common man or to the more priviliged, is your product something for shops, for the internet or for both? Use this checklist to find your target market.

Do you want to sell to the common man or to the more priviliged, is your product something for shops, for the internet or for both? Use this checklist to find your target market.

1. Is your target market a consumer market? Or is it an industrial or professional market? If it is a consumer one, go to 2; if it is industrial or professional, go to 9.

2. Look at family and personal factors. Would age, sex, family size or marital status form the basis of different groups?

3. Is your product the sort which relies on supplying a local area? Location may be an important feature of a group.

4. Look at social class. Could this be important for your product?

5. Can you distinguish groups of potential customers on the basis of how much or how little they use or buy your product? Could your product be tailored to appeal to heavy or light users?

6. Are there psychological or social factors at work? Could the product appeal to those wishing to ‘better themselves’? Is lifestyle important? Would prospective customers be likely to ‘follow the crowd’ or want to be seen as stylish? Could there be snob or prestige appeal?

7. Price could be a feature which distinguishes one group from another. Is there an element of value for money in a target group’s make-up? Some people go for the cheapest, no matter what. Most customers would say that they want good value for the money they spend.

8. How do the potential customers buy? Local shop, large supermarket or store? Mail order? The web? Can you create a niche out of distribution methods? Now go to 14.

9. What type of industry will you be selling into? You could specialize in one industry or profession (called vertical marketing).

10. How big are the companies or businesses you are likely to sell to? Size can mean different procedures in buying and in frequency of purchasing. Can you create a distinguishing product benefit from the need to satisfy large, medium or small businesses?

11. Will one group of potential customers require quicker or more frequent deliveries than others?

12. Price could well create different market segments in industrial or professional users.

13. Will one group of customers be looking for a higher level of after-sales care or maintenance? Could this be your distinguishing product feature?

14. Consider what other categories might apply to your market. Each market will have its own specialized characteristics apart from the general ones listed above.

15. Now look to see if there is a group with more than one of the characteristics listed above. This could define your target group.

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