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Target market examples to help you define your audience

Target market examples: person working at their workstation

Key takeaways

  • Target markets are defined through demographic, geographic, psychographic, and behavioral segmentation
  • Getting to know your customer base can help you understand who you’re serving well—and who you still need to reach
  • With a clear target market, you can tailor marketing messages to resonate with your market segments

The ability to reach consumers all over the world is one of the internet’s many benefits. But on the flip side, it also means clients can find thousands of your competitors with just a few searches. 

The most effective marketing strategy is no longer trying to persuade the masses—it’s marketing yourself as the best brand for a niche group of consumers. Over 71% of people prefer ads that are tailored to their interests, showing the power of target marketing.

Learn how to identify and create a target market that helps you maximize your sales, then draw inspiration from target market examples that demonstrate how to reach your own.

What is a target market?

A target market is a specific group of people that you want to sell goods or services to. They’re also your ideal customers—the ones who your brand, product, or service was created to help.

Target markets are typically defined by a set of characteristics, which may include:

  • Demographic information, such as age range, marital status, and income level
  • Geographic information, such as specific cities or zip codes
  • Psychographic information, such as interests, values, and lifestyles
  • Behavioral information, such as spending habits, brand loyalty, and previous product ratings

Defining a target market doesn’t mean you’ll turn away potential customers who don’t fit the profile. Instead, it means focusing your marketing efforts—and your budget—on those that market research indicates are most likely to purchase from you. By matching their needs with your offerings, you will achieve more sales with every marketing dollar.

How to define your target market

Defining a target market is a strategic process that shouldn’t be based on assumptions. To avoid excluding a valuable customer base, it’s crucial for small business owners to perform market research and use existing audience insights to uncover the greatest potential. Take these steps to identify the best target customers for your brand.

Perform a market analysis

Target market examples: man wearing eyeglasses, working on his laptop

Analyzing your potential market helps you understand the opportunities available to you. Most industries are already segmented in some way, and your goal is to identify those existing subgroups of shoppers in your market, known as market segments. Each segment will share at least one specific characteristic (such as geographic location) and typically share a need. For example, if you are advertising in the auto repair industry, you will want to consider luxury car drivers, rideshare drivers, and motorcyclists.

To figure out what market segments exist in your area, ask yourself who purchases products or services like yours. Consider how you can group them together by similar characteristics. From these segments, identify at least one niche target market that you want to reach. For example, for a babysitting business, a market segment could be working moms, while your target market could be single working moms.

Once you’ve identified the market segments you serve, take a look at your competitors. What specific target markets are they trying to reach? If you know what markets other brands already have a strong hold on, you can direct your focus to shoppers who are still searching for a better brand fit. 

For example, urban honey brand Akron Honey doesn’t seek to convert customers who buy Honeybear honey every month. Instead, founder Brent Wesley focuses his efforts on followers who are interested in a flavor-infused product with a positive community impact. 

Get to know your current customer base

Understanding how your customer base fits into existing market segments can help you narrow down groups to include in your final target market. If you’ve already been in business, start by examining your existing analytics: Where do your top customers live? Where are they most active online? What are their interests? How do they interact with your online profiles or website? Start identifying the characteristics your best customers share.

This analysis doesn’t require expensive or high-tech systems: You can draw from your email list, your social media followers, or one of many free analytics tools. Take a look at your audience demographics and metrics like engagement rate or click-through rate to gauge what your audiene is interested in. These tools provide a detailed overview of your audience’s demographics, the devices they’re using, and much more.

For business owners who don’t already have an analytics tool in place, monitor analytics on your digital marketing channels. Many online media sites offer built-in insights into your followers and the people engaging with your posts.


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Spot new opportunities

Your current client base might already be an ideal target market, but for many small businesses and startups, it can be too narrow to be sustainable. Even niche target markets can be broader than you think (for instance, “millennials” instead of “ages 25-30”). While you still want to focus on a core group of customers whose needs match your offerings, monitoring new and emerging markets in your industry can help you identify places to grow. 

For example, Yelp data shows searches for shag and mullet haircuts were up this summer 64% from June 2020 and up 154% from June 2019. If these cuts are already your salon’s specialty—as with stylist Jackelyn Madrigal, owner of Color Me Chula—you might target customers who are looking for these services.

Make a list of the market segments with untapped opportunity—meaning your competitors don’t have a strong hold on them. Does a certain group experience pain points that your company is equipped to solve? Whose needs can you meet? 

Maybe you’ve noticed that certain groups are overlooked or even excluded in your industry. This is why Emily’s Garage owner Emily Chavez decided to tailor her customer experience to welcome women and other marginalized groups, who often feel intimidated or uncomfortable in auto shops. 

Then, you can start refining your target market based on your current client base and any untapped opportunities.

How to reach your niche market with target market examples

Once you’ve established your target market, you need to know how to reach them. Using your target market to run better marketing campaigns requires two key steps. First, figure out what channels your market is using—maybe it’s social media, email, or others. Next, create unique messaging for each of your target audiences. Specific segments of your target market require communications tailored to their needs and pain points. 

To illustrate this, we’ll provide two examples of target marketing in action.

Target market example #1

person typing on a laptop

Let’s say you are starting a lawn care business in Chicago, Illinois, that specializes in luxury landscape design. Your current customer base includes middle- to upper-middle class homeowners who require backyard landscaping and weed management, but maybe you’re interested in expanding to townhouse owners with an interest in space-conscious services, such as floating decks or container gardens.

Before you craft your messaging, define your target market. Yours might include the people who fit all the following characteristics:

  • Demographic information: older millennials and generation Xers who are upper-middle to upper-class
  • Geographic information: people who live in the North Shore suburbs and own homes with large lawns
  • Psychographic information: people who value family and home life
  • Behavioral information: people who budget for monthly outdoor and home expenses 

Next, identify the marketing channels your target market uses frequently. You might include:

  • Direct mail
  • Nextdoor, a social media platform for neighborhoods, which has a high proportion of homeowners in zip codes with higher income
  • Pinterest, which is commonly used by family-oriented moms to search for home-related solutions
  • Facebook, which is heavily used by the older millennial and Gen X age range
  • Yelp Ads, which reach quality leads who are actively searching for residential services like yours

Before you create your marketing campaigns, break down this target market into at least two more segments—for example, single-family house owners and townhouse owners. When you send direct mail to a neighborhood with many townhomes, you’ll be able to personalize the campaign for that segment of your audience with a marketing message that highlights your ability to turn a small backyard into a gathering space.


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Target market example #2

Imagine you’re running an ecommerce athleisure store with products for teens and young adults. So far, you’ve built a consumer base from Gen Z consumers who’ve found your business through influencer marketing, but you’re interested in courting millennial viewers from the video space. Your target market may fit all of these characteristics:

  • Demographic information: generation Z and young millennials, middle class, not married
  • Geographic information: people who live in the United States 
  • Psychographic information: people who value health and fitness, lead an active lifestyle
  • Behavioral information: people who follow popular fitness influencers and YouTubers

To reach this target market, your marketing channels might include:

  • YouTube, where the majority of shoppers in this demographic can be found, making it an excellent channel for reaching and gaining younger subscribers
  • Other video platforms, like TikTok and Snapchat, which are also popular for this age range

You can also break down this market further. Your athleisure videos for Gen Z users may be TikToks that reference school sports, while videos targeted to millennials may tell a story of young adults balancing fitness and work. You can use imagery to create a marketing campaign that each audience can envision themselves in.

Improve your campaigns with target marketing 

Defining your target market can help you reach your customers where they are. You can also avoid spending on those who aren’t likely to become loyal clients, maximizing your company’s return on investment.

Let your target market guide you as you start creating your marketing plan.

The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.