Not Properly Defining The Target Market

2. Accurately Define your Target Market

The Dream: Your idea offers so many benefits it will practically sell itself once it’s publicized.

The Reality: Your idea is also a grain of sand on a beach of opportunities that your target audience visits on a daily basis.

Solution: Pinpoint your target market before you develop your product idea fully. Accurate definition will help you understand the needs, opportunities and barriers to entry for that market. First look through the eyes of the customer and then study all the competitive factors.


A. Target Market Definition: The Customer Perspective

  • Identify your audience by geographic, demographic and psychographic attributes (a.k.a. location, situation and values). At the same time, identify the media opportunities that reach that audience.
  • Understand how those customers currently solve the problem that your product relates to, and list all the pain-points associated with their solution.
  • Establish the convenience, cost-benefit and improvements customers can gain by switching to your product and focus on these.

B. Target Market Definition: The Competition

Aside from direct competitors, consider who else might be chasing the same consumer dollars. Even consumer apathy is competition so look into everything. Your strategy will depend on where you idea fits into the current market:

  • Competitive – you are the latest entry to an existing market. Success will depend on the value of your convenience, cost-benefit and improvement differentiators.
  • Leading Edge – your product is a step ahead of what is out there. You need to be aggressive before your competition catch up.
  • Disruptive – your product re-defines the category. This is a much bigger hurdle, but you can take ownership of this entire category. Your competition will be slower off the mark until they see your success.
  • Virgin – there is no current market for your invention. This represents the greatest risk, but also the greatest potential, if you can convince the customer of their need for your product. This can take time, but you won’t have direct competition until after the product catches on.
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