I recently had someone ask me what the difference between a Target Market and Buyer Persona is.
It’s so commonplace in my industry that I forget that it’s jargon! And Target Market is a descriptive title, so it’s easy to make an assumption, but with clarity comes power! The term Target Market tends to make people think about their Ideal Market (The kind of person you want to sell to, which most people say is everybody) rather than their Target Market.
Since I realized that this can be a major stumbling block for some business owners (As Matthew Pollard says, “Selling to everybody is selling to nobody, and it’s expensive!”), let’s break down the Target Market versus the Buyer Personae, and what matters about each one!
A Target Market is the demographics and psychographics that match who your primary buyers are.
First of all, let’s put this on the table right now: not everyone is inclined to buy from you.
There are some individuals that are MORE inclined to buy from you than others, and easier to convince to spend their money with you over your competitors. That is your Target Market! Knowing your Target Market allows you to determine who you should design your marketing for to create better resonance!
Keep in mind that just because your target market is 40 year old men doesn’t mean you won’t sell to a 30 year old woman, or a 50 year old man! The Target Market is a tool for narrowing your marketing and making it more effective for less expense - not something to exclude people from purchasing from you.
An example of the Target Market Demographic:
“John Smith” sells tires. If John Smith wants to figure out his target market, he’s going to need to look at who is buying the most tires in the US. Let’s say John finds out that the people buying the most tires are 42-55 year old men who are married, work a full time job, live in X Y Z part of town, makes $90-$170 K a year, lives in a home rather than an apartment, and does maintenance on two cars, then John has part of his Target Market!
That person is John’s demographic for his Target Market.
At Grow Disrupt, the Target Markets we create for our clients and that we teach others to create also involve Psychographics.
Once we have the demographics of the buyers, then we try to get inside their minds. If we can figure out what sorts of things appeal to them, then marketing is that much easier.
Here’s a short list of the kinds of things you’d look to find out for a psychographic:
What their aspirations in life are (What do they want to do with their life?)
Who are influencers for them (Is it family? Friends? Politicians?)
What kinds of hobbies do they like?
Where do they hang out online?
Where do they hang out offline?
Who do they hang out with?
How do they communicate?
What influences their buying decisions?
These are just a couple questions to give you some ideas, but this helps immensely in creating marketing plans and making your marketing more effective: if I know how they think, I know how to craft a message that will resonate with them.
The more detailed you can make your Target Market, the better!
Your Demographic tells you who to market to. Your Psychographic tells you how to communicate effectively with them.
That’s your Target Market.
The Next Evolution: The Buyer Persona
The Target Market is really all you need to start creating awesome marketing, but the Buyer Persona is the imaginary person that is the archetype of your Target Market. This is “Mark Rodriguez, a 42 year old man who is slightly introverted and works in finance as a personal banker. He has two kids and is married and is always dressed perfectly for the occasion. His goals are to ensure that his family is taken care of, but he loves having the opportunity to express his wilder side through his Corvette and attending car racing events.”
Talented Marketers can then take this Persona and filter their view of the marketing through this Persona’s mind in order to determine if the marketing will be effective or not.
Buyer Persona is not something that we stress with Small Business Owners because you don’t need the Buyer Persona to do incredible marketing - if you have a Target Market.
But! Both the Buyer Persona and the Target Market do wonders for making your marketing more effective!
If you want to get your Target Market started but you’re really not sure how to do that, check out our Target Market Masterclass here! It takes you through every single step you need to make the perfect Target Market.
Stephanie Scheller is a TED speaker, a two-time best-selling author and the founder of Grow Disrupt: a San Antonio based company dedicated to disrupting the way the world does business through training. In just under a decade, Stephanie has been behind the scenes with nearly 2500 small businesses. She has worked in groups and one-on-one to create total business transformation & help business owners live the life they got into business to create!