This past week while presenting a seminar entitled “Building Your Art Business” the topic of “Defining Your Target Market” came up. What followed was a heated discussion between the audience and the seminar presenters as each tried to explain their side of what a target market is.
Wikipedia defines target market as a group of customers that the business has decided to aim its marketing efforts and ultimately its merchandise. A well-defined target market is the first element to a marketing strategy. The target market and the marketing mix variables of product, place(distribution), promotion and price are the four elements of a marketing mix strategy that determine the success of a product in the marketplace.
I always believed that a business’s target market was that group of people most likely to buy their product.
In the past these markets were easier to define using things such as demographics, psychographics, socioeconomic status, etc..
However in today’s world lines are blurred, and black and white has become grey. People are living longer, working longer, moving back in with their parents where in the past they moved out, and most of all technology has made it possible for consumers to become much more aware of competitors, product attributes and deceptive advertising.
So trying to figure out where the bone of contention was with our group of artists it occurred to me that these artists already had their product (in some cases several products). Our message to them was that in target marketing the first step is to find out what the market is looking for (a product). Many of these individuals (artists) already had a product, yet they hadn’t identified who the buyers were and what price they would pay.
Over and over again we heard how the artists were undercutting their prices to stay afloat. Many of the artists believed they needed to get more customers… in reality if they had defined their target market correctly they could get by with less customers (who pay more)!
As I always tell people … “Most businesses don’t plan to fail … they fail to plan!” – author unknown
Manager of Internet Business
University of Scranton SBDC