Target marketing (and how to identify your target markets in 3 steps)

Aiming for the right target market can be tricky, especially when you want to maximise the chances of your customer converting. We give you insider tips so you can aim with confidence towards the target market bullseye.

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When it comes to creating your marketing strategy, it’s difficult to understand where your audience should stop and end. There’s so many fish to catch in what is an endless sea of customers. That’s where target marketing comes into play.

By aiming at the right areas of the market – whether millennials or mothers – you can promote your business in a more efficient way, maximising the chances that your customers will convert.

In this article, we’ll give you a rundown of how to find your target market, how to do target marketing successfully, and some examples of target marketing triumphs. At the end of this guide, you should feel like an Olympic archer who can hit the bullseye every time.

What is target marketing?

A target group is a set of people who you’ve identified as the ideal potential customer for your brand, based on their shared characteristics. These could be things like age, income, and lifestyle. Understanding what your target market looks like is key because it helps inform decisions about how best to advertise your business. Should you highlight your firm locally via a Google business profile? Should you place your adverts in the tube to target all those commuters who work in the corporate world? These questions will be answered with the help of target marketing.

The better you can understand your target market, the more likely it is you’ll get a higher return on investment because you’ll be more effective at converting potential customers. Therefore, don’t be afraid to get highly specific. This is all about targeting your marketing strategy, and just because you’re targeting a niche, doesn’t mean other people outside the target market won’t buy from you. It’s all about working smarter, not harder.

The magic of target marketing, however, is founded on strong analytics and a comprehensive marketing plan, not what your gut tells you. Data analysis of your target market will help you understand what they like and not like, their shopping behaviours, and other characteristics that will translate into clever marketing.

What are the benefits of identifying your target market?

While focusing your marketing on one specific fraction of the customer pool might feel risky, good target marketing carries plenty of benefits.

✔️ Connects you directly with a specific audience → target marketing helps you break down a huge pie of customers into thinner slices that are more likely to actively engage with your business and convert. With target marketing, you can better understand each customers’ needs and create a campaign that resonates more strongly with your desired audience.

✔️ Attracts high-quality leads → by shooting for a more specific target audience, you’re basically aiming, in some ways, at the bottom of the conversion funnel. After all, you’re tailoring your marketing to fit a customer’s needs and behaviours, which makes it more likely they will be ready to convert if they run into your ad. This means that your leads will be more prepared to buy.

✔️ Stand out from competitors → just because you’re not aiming in all directions, doesn’t mean you’re withdrawing yourself from the running. Think about it – if someone in your target market resonates with your ad, it’s likely they’ll prefer you over some catch-all generic ad from the competition. Good target marketing feels purposeful, genuine and meaningful, which will always land well with customers.

✔️ Nurturing customer loyalty from the root → an ad is likely to be the first time that a customer interacts with your brand, and if that first interaction is memorable, it’s likely they’ll return to your business. If someone finds your ad to be personal and relatable, it’ll foster a sense of trust that could translate into long-term loyalty.

Free business plan template

Looking to start a business and get started with your target marketing? You can find a way to get started with our free business plan template.

How do you identify your target market?

There’s 3 main steps in target marketing:

  1. Understanding your customers
  2. Calculating the size of your market
  3. Defining and segmenting your target market

Step 1: Understanding your customers

Before you go to the ad drawing board, you need to understand who you’re aiming your marketing at. This includes understanding their defining characteristics, which can be anything like age, gender, interests, needs, and behaviour. Remember that this shouldn’t be based on what your gut says is right. This is based on plenty of customer data and feedback, and pinning down which type of customer is most likely to buy from you.

If you’re unsure of where to even get started you can consider:

  • Demographics: age, gender, ethnicity, income, level of education, religion and occupation
  • Psychographics: consumers’ personalities and interests, based on things like personality, social status, hobbies, life goals, values, and lifestyles
  • Geographics: location, time zone, climate and season, cultural preferences, language, population type and density
  • Behaviour: spending and browsing habits, brand interactions, brand loyalty, product ratings, attitude towards your products, use of your products.

Step 2: Calculating the size of your market

Market size refers to the total number of potential buyers for a product or service you can have access to, and the potential revenue you can make from that specific audience. Market sizing is simply crunching these numbers to measure your business’s growth potential using these steps:

  • Start out with your total addressable market (TAM). In simple English, this means what is the size of the market you can realistically reach
  • Figure out your target market within that total number
  • Determine the penetration rate of your target market. This refers to the ratio that compares your company’s performance aginst the total market
  • Multiply target market by the penetration rate to find your market size

Market sizing = Target Market x market penetration rate

Calculating the size of your target market will help you estimate the potential demand there is within that niche for your product, and get a feeling of how worth it it is to focus on that specific piece of the market. This process will also help you determine what sort of digital trends characertise that market.

Step 3: Defining and segmenting your target market

Now that you understand your market size and have some insight on your audience, it’s time to start segmenting it. This will help give you more insight into your customer’s needs and preferences, and how this should inform your marketing. This will also allow you to better set targets for each target market, to understand what will make your campaigns successful, and how to best conduct your ecommerce marketing.

You’ll need to finalise your target market based on some factors that should sound familiar by now:

  • Demographic segmentation: age, gender, income.
  • Psychographic segmentation: hobbies, life goals, values.
  • Geographic segmentation: time zone, climate and season, cultural preferences.
  • Behavioural segmentation: brand interactions, brand loyalty, product ratings.

Examples of successful target marketing


This gym apparel has become a cult favourite among young gym-goers by targeting them through social media influencers. Gymshark’s marketing strategy focuses on promoting a fitness lifestyle rather than just selling gym clothes. By using influencers to promote its products, Gymshark has reached a wider audience and built a recognisable and strong brand identity. The company is now worth over a billion dollars.

Flower Station

Flower Station, one of the UK’s largest online flower delivery services, is another great example of target marketing in action. It targeted millennial consumers who prioritise sustainability in their purchasing decisions by emphasising their sustainable farming practices. It also ensures all flowers conform to the Fair Flowers Fair Plants (FFP) standards, and use eco-friendly packaging materials. Its sustainable approach to flower delivery resonated with customers as 95% of them cited sustainability as a factor in their decision to purchase from Flower Station.


This food delivery company has used data-driven targeting to build a loyal customer base. Deliveroo has used data on customers’ previous orders and browsing history to create personalised recommendations and promotions. For example, they might offer discounts or promotions on items that a customer has previously ordered or similar items to what they’ve previously ordered. They’ve also targeted their marketing to specific geographic areas, offering discounts to customers in certain postcodes to encourage loyalty.

Using your target market information effectively

Getting your target market strategy spot on can be tricky, specially when you have so much data and information to process. Here’s a couple of good practices to enforce to get it right:

  • Meeting regularly with your sales team→ target marketing shouldn’t be restricted to just your marketing team. Integrating your sales team and their skills into your target marketing process can help you gain insight on your audience and their buying patterns.
  • Using search engines to find keywords→ analysing search volumes for keywords related to buying trends and anything related to the products you sell is a great way to understand what sorts of things your potential customers are looking for. This can also enhance your understanding of industry terms related to your business and how you can effectively integrate them into your marketing.
  • Personalise your media posts and advertisements → craft posts that appeal to your segmented audiences directly. Paid social media ads allow you to select the desired audience you’d like to target, which helps you attract customers who relate to your product. In order to get this point right, it’s also good to be aware of what digital marketing trends you should join in on. You could also try your hand at social selling to boost your authority.
  • Write educational content and optimise it with SEO → part of advertising is also creating organic traffic to your website. Therefore, if you can create content, like blog posts, that are genuinely useful and insightful, you might be able to reach your target marketing through a less traditional method of marketing. The key to successful marketing is to diversify your content and channels so that you can make sure you’re reaching your target market.


Any veteran marketer will tell you that purposeful marketing makes a difference. Target marketing is a robust way of making sure your social media posts, ads and campaigns are impactful and prompt conversions. Importantly, and specially during times when businesses are cash-strapped, target marketing can help you save money by making sure you have a high ROI on your marketing efforts.

If you understand what your target audience is looking for and what they could possibly need from your business, your marketing strategy will hit the mark.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is a target market?
    A set of consumers who all share similar characteristics, like age, income or lifestyle. By targeting specific groups of people, you can tailor your marketing to better resonate with your target market and maximise conversions.
  • How do I identify my target market?
    Using consumer data and other sales statistics, you can understand which type of customer is more likely to come buy your business’s products. Remember finding your target market is not based on a simple gut feeling — it needs to be backed up by evidence.
  • How do I calculate the size of my target market?
    These are the steps you need to follow to find your target market:<br /> - Start out with your total addressable market (TAM). In simple terms, this means what is the size of the market you can realistically reach<br /> - Figure out your target market within that total number<br /> - Determine the penetration rate of your target market<br /> - Multiply target market by the penetration rate to find your market size
  • What are some examples of target markets?
    - If you’re a daycare centre, you’re likely going to target parents who have toddlers<br /> - If you’re selling reusable coffee cups, you’re likely targeting environmentally minded users or people who commute daily and are looking to save money<br /> - If you’re selling vintage clothes, you’re likely targeting supporters of sustainable fashion and millennials who are fans of vintage trends
Written by:
Fernanda is a Mexican-born Startups Writer. Specialising in the Marketing & Finding Customers pillar, she’s always on the lookout for how startups can leverage tools, software, and insights to help solidify their brand, retain clients, and find new areas for growth. Having grown up in Mexico City and Abu Dhabi, Fernanda is passionate about how businesses can adapt to new challenges in different economic environments to grow and find creative ways to engage with new and existing customers. With a background in journalism, politics, and international relations, Fernanda has written for a multitude of online magazines about topics ranging from Latin American politics to how businesses can retain staff during a recession. She is currently strengthening her journalistic muscle by studying for a part-time multimedia journalism degree from the National Council of Training for Journalists (NCTJ).

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