There is always a lot of buzz about finding your target market. I’ve mentioned it before in some of my pieces talking about marketing. It’s a simple idea—if you can find out who is most likely to buy your product then you can focus all your marketing efforts and money on appealing to that group instead of wasting resources appealing to everyone. But with everyone always using this buzz phrase there seems to be little direction on how to actually discover what your target market is.
Now I am new to the marketing world but it seems like there is often a lot of waste or, at the very least, a lack of measurable data to determine marketing effectiveness. As I discuss in my article Growth Hacker Marketing Awesomeness, the problem with traditional marketing is that it is often a shot in the dark. With things like commercials and billboards you don’t have the ability to control exactly who you are marketing to and you have little ability to determine how effective they are. You could have an increase in sales but you can’t be sure of any causal relationship between your billboard and those sales.
This is in comparison to growth hacking methods. These are often digital but really can be any unique, creative, and quantifiable approach. An awesome example of this is the hype campaign before the release of The Blair Witch Project. Before the release of the movie the filmmakers created an intriguing back-story complete with a website giving the film an eerie and spooky air of authenticity. Debates raged across the internet about whether or not this was a true story and whether or not the footage was real. This campaign allowed a movie that cost tens of thousands of dollars to create to earn hundreds of millions of dollars. It was an ultimate growth hack.
So back to finding a product’s target market. It seems to me that hacks can be used just as easily to find your target market as they can be used to market your product. To the extent that traditional marketing methods do actively target their audience, they do so with expensive methods like focus groups, collecting demographical data, and surveys. Like traditional marketing methods, these targeting techniques are often cumbersome and over expensive.
Depending on your product and financial resources it may be far more advantageous to “hack” your targeting. Allow people to target themselves. To do this requires relatively cheap and easily accessible methods. By doing things like creating a blog or writing an ebook having to do with your product or industry you can spread the word about your product and see who responds. By seeing who reads your ebook, who subscribes to your blog, who comments on your content, etc. you can see which type of people are interested in your product.
This in effect makes people target themselves. Once you see who is interested you have your market and you know where and how to most efficiently expend your resources. Let the people come to you. Put quality content out there, see who responds and takes action on it, and there’s a good chance that those are the same people that will be interested in your product. You don’t need focus groups and you don’t need expensive data-collection methods. Content is king. Create content worth reading, watching, and sharing and see who reads, watches, and shares it. Then market accordingly.