A Guide to Identifying Your Target Market

There’s a saying in marketing: “If you’re targeting everyone, you’re targeting no one.”

As much as we like to think that all of our content is amazing, relevant, and engaging, if it’s not reaching potential customers, it’s not getting the job done. 

That’s where personalized content comes in.

There are a million reasons why personalized content is widely promoted as a sales and marketing best practice. But how do you know who to personalize content for? 

Before you can personalize any content or messaging, you need to identify your target market. 

What is a Target Market, and Why Do You Need to Identify Yours?

Picture it like this: You have a total addressable market, or TAM. In the world of B2B and SaaS, this usually refers to anyone with buying capabilities at an organization. Yet if you tried to market your product or service to that entire group of people, your success rate would be … less than ideal, to put it nicely. 

Enter your target market — a group of potential customers within your TAM who, through market research, interviews, and more, are deemed most likely to purchase your product or service. 

Your target market consists of potential customers who share similar characteristics. These characteristics can be as broad as age, location, and industry, or as granular as job title, years spent in the industry, or company size. 

Let’s take a look at some key benefits of identifying your target market: 

  • Maximize Marketing ROI: When you know exactly who you’re targeting, you can deploy resources more effectively and reduce the amount of time spent targeting those who are least likely to make a purchase. 
  • Better, More Qualified Leads: Once you define your target audience, you can then craft messaging that speaks directly to their pain points.
  • Improved Products and Services: Knowing your target market helps you understand what they want out of a product or service. This gives you valuable insights into how you can improve your own offerings. 

How to Identify Your Target Market

Identifying your target market isn’t something that you can nail down in a few hours of research. It should be thought of more as an ever-evolving learning process.

For B2B companies, take the following steps: 

1. Identify the Value Your Product Provides

The first and arguably most important step in identifying your target market is identifying the core problems your product or service solves. 

Throughout your entire go-to-market process, you should be asking yourself: what does your solution achieve for your customers? Hint: the answer should include satisfying customer needs and fixing their pain points.

By the end of this step, you should be able to answer these questions:

  • What problem does your product solve?
  • What needs do you meet within your total addressable market? 

2. Analyze Your Current Customer Base

When you’re in the early stages of identifying your target market, it’s useful to turn to the information you know — the customer base you already have. 

You can learn a lot about your existing customers through surveys, and sales and CRM data. With that information,  you can identify similar characteristics and determine which customers were the most profitable, and more importantly, why. 

3. Research Your Competition

It’s always a good idea to know what your competitors are up to as you define your target market. Looking at who the competition is targeting clarifies what kind of people are customers within the industry. 

You can then determine whether there’s an opportunity for a new market, or if there’s anyone from your competitor’s market that you can absorb. 

4. Narrow Down Your TAM

At this point, you should have at least a general understanding of who your TAM is. Now you can begin to narrow down the market segment you want to target. 

How do you do this? By creating ideal customer profiles (ICPs)

When developing your ICPs and buyer personas, the goal is to be as specific as possible. In the B2B world, the most important attributes to consider are firmographics (industry, company size) and technographics (CRM, ERP).

Read More: What’s the Difference Between Firmographic and Technographic Data?

Once you’ve identified your ICPs, you can start to filter them through your TAM and grow your target market. 

5. Testing For Performance

Once you’ve narrowed down your target market, it’s time to get into some testing. Testing can tell you whether you’re targeting the right people, which personas are responding to certain messages, and what adjustments you should be making.

While testing and analyzing your messaging, consider the following questions: 

  • Are there enough people in my market to fit my criteria? 
  • Do I understand what drives my target to make buying decisions? 

Remember, you can have more than one niche market. Once you establish the specific markets, you can craft A/B tests to understand how the different personas respond to your messaging. For example, at ZoomInfo, we conduct A/B testing for marketing, sales, and recruiter personas.

Target Your Market, Target Your Message

Casting a wide net may have worked well for marketers and salespeople at one point. But in today’s buying environment, customers want a hyper-personalized experience, and are willing to walk if they don’t get it. 

Once you’ve identified your target market, you can begin to develop messaging and campaigns around specific pain points and speak with the confidence that you know exactly how your product can solve them. 

Instead of casting a wide net, craft one that will catch the right fish — at the right time.