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How to Define Your Target Market

by on Category: blog

Developing a new invention is an exciting prospect, but it's important not to overlook a critical factor in the process—one that plays a major role in determining whether or not your product will be a commercial success: You need to accurately define your target market.

Down the road, marketing will encompass many things—creating a logo and brand identity, packaging design, website development, social media campaigns, trade shows and events, publicity efforts, and potential licensing deals. But none of these can be accomplished without first having a well-defined core audience for your product.

What is a target market?

Your target market consists of the consumers who are most likely to purchase your invention. The secondary market is a group of consumers other than those in your target market with a potential reason to purchase your invention. In some cases, that need for your product becomes clear only after it has hit shelves. You can add further levels of potential submarkets from there, but the most important for your launch—the one around which all further marketing efforts revolve—is the target group. And it’s one of the most important answers to the question of how to bring your invention to life.

How do I go about defining one?

As you consider who might be the people most likely to want or need your product, think about who they are and why they might care about it enough to pay money for it. What problem does your product solve for them? What product do they currently use to solve that problem? How is your invention better? How does it make their lives easier—and how much easier? Would they be willing to pay for this benefit?

When it comes to target markets, narrow is usually better. Keeping it concise makes it easier to introduce your invention and get it noticed. It gives you more insight into the motivations and preferences of your product's potential consumers as well as the opportunity for more controlled research into their buying habits and lifestyles. This type of first-hand research is called primary research and can include focus groups and interviews.

Define any of the key factors that contribute to their want or need for your invention: their age, gender, occupation, lifestyle, family, hobbies, geographic location, income level... Consult existing research (called secondary research) such as data and demographic reports from the U.S. Census, published news reports, and consumer studies. Going through this process may even help you improve your product to make it more marketable in the future.

What if I think everyone would want to buy my invention?

Ah, the revolutionary product with broad appeal! Unfortunately, even if your invention truly is one of those simple yet universally desirable products, it is far too expensive to market to everyone on day one.

Though it may be more challenging, you should still be able to come up with a core group of consumers who would be the most compelled to purchase your invention. Think of it this way: They can be the lucky early adopters who help you spread the word to the rest of the world!

Looking for guidance as you develop a marketing strategy for your invention? Idea Design Lab can help you create powerful marketing materials and a winning logo, along with a customized strategy for presenting your idea to potential investors, licensees, and manufacturers. Contact us today to get started.