Target market segmentation is critical for a successful Minimal Viable Product (MVP) launch. Being able to accurately express how your product fills a need is only possible when you know exactly who you’re talking to. Moreover, your MVP stands a much better chance of success when you try to please a particular audience rather than make something for ‘everyone’.
Specificity is important, but it can be tricky to nail down all the relevant features of your ideal buyers. However, it is possible to discover who these people are by brainstorming answers to some key questions. The results can be used to help write marketing copy, target ads, and more.
In this post, we’ll reveal five questions that can help you clearly identify your target audience segments. Let’s kick things off!
Question #1: Where Do They Live?
Determining where your ideal buyer lives are part of geographical segmentation. The influence of their environment can make or break your initial success.
Let’s say your MVP is a winter jacket. Southern California may not be the best place for you to begin your search, due to its moderate to warm winters. In the same way, you might not want to start pushing your new bikini line in Iowa.
Also, studying local culture and language will help you avoid any faux pas. You may have heard about the Chevy Nova, and how it sold poorly in Spanish-speaking countries because “No va” in Spanish translates to “No go.”
It turns out this tale is incorrect! Chevy discovered that the closeness of their car’s name and the local language didn’t matter. This research paid off, and the Chevy Nova was a success.
Once you know in which geographical location your ideal buyer resides, you can learn a lot by finding the answers to the following questions:
- What is the climate and what impact do the seasons have?
- What are the most common languages (also look at dialects and slang)?
- Are there any prominent cultural factors that impact life there?
- Who are the local retailers and how might they play a role in distributing your MVP?
- How can you encourage engagement in the area as a new player in the field, based on local brands or competition?
As you can see, so many factors are dependent on geographical location, which is why you see successful large multinational corporations tailoring their marketing efforts accordingly.
Question #2: What Buyer Group Do They Fall Into?
Choosing a buyer group is part of demographic segmentation. It has to do with gender, age, income, occupation, and marital status.
These demographics can help you check for common sense. For example:
- Don’t hone in on menopausal-age women when marketing a new form of birth control.
- Do consider looking outside of demographic stereotypes. For example, women may be interested in a non-pink razor.
Try to avoid misusing demographics while narrowing down your audience. Check your stereotypes by finding data to back up any expectations about who wants to buy what. Remember – breaking stereotypes can be a unique value proposition too!
It’s also worth noting that you don’t have to use every filter to narrow your audience. In other words, you don’t always have to pit men against women, young against old, and so on. You can mix and match demographics across the board to design the perfect elixir for your product.
Question #3: What Is Their Attitude Toward Life?
Once you have a grasp of the environment and basic facts, it’s time to research psychographics. This focuses on mental space and ideal over plain data.
Consider this commercial for Budweiser about a lost puppy who is (spoiler alert) saved by the famous Clydesdale horses at the end:
This company is clearly in touch with the emotions of their audience.
Understanding what your market cares about will help you craft a message that resonates with them. Exploring their attitude towards life may involve hands-on research, based on what you know from the first two questions above.
Talking to the right people will help you learn more about their perspective. This can be done through personal interviews, anonymous surveys, or even market research companies. The questions you ask will be heavily dependent on your product and how well you know your audience but might involve core values or opinions regarding world issues.
This research may not fit well into a strict data table, so it can be tricker to tackle than other information. However, knowing what matters most to your audience may be what makes you stand out against the competition.
Question #4: How Do They Spend Their Time and Money?
This second psychographic question focuses on the daily lifestyle of your target market. Here, we look at the ways they spend their time and money.
If you are selling yacht accessories, your target market probably spends money on luxury items and owns a boat. Targeting those just scraping by would be an exercise in futility. Similarly, if you want to sell a camera bag, you might look for groups of people in the area actively practicing photography.
By finding out where your ideal buyer spends their time and money, you can determine where you need to have a presence.
First, consider their participation in various groups and activities. Look into:
- Extracurricular activities
- Special interest groups
- Volunteer participation
Next, you want to find a way to meet them where they already spend their time, without being intrusive. This could mean striking a deal with a local sports team or creating a partnership with the right volunteer organization.
Question #5: Which Life Stage Are They Currently In?
Finally, we reach the life stage of your target market customer. This is a part of life cycle segmentation, which addresses the various stages of school, career, and family. The family life cycle alone includes several combinations of single or married, with or without non-adult children.
Note that this concept is separate from the customer life cycle, which is the relationship between a customer and your company.
Your audience’s life stage goes beyond simple age demographics. For example, a college student could be anywhere from 16–65 years old. Life cycle stages also stand apart because they can be repeated. Evidence shows that if a young couple divorces, they revert back to young single behavioral patterns. A college graduate may also decide to revisit school.
Big companies use this to figure out how their product addresses every single aspect of a life cycle. You can imitate this by using a similar technique, but only concentrating on the segment that shows the most need for now.
Here are a few questions to explore how you can incorporate this into your own strategy:
- What role does your product play across multiple stages?
- How does your product fit within each individual life stage?
- What would motivate someone in each stage to look for, discover, and buy your product?
These will help you come up with possible scenarios and thought processes that could ultimately lead to somebody becoming your customer.
Focusing on a segmented target market gives your MVP a much better chance of success. This will enable you to create a marketing message that resonates with the right people. You can find this subset and target them effectively by taking the time to fully understand those who will benefit most from your MVP.
In today’s article we crafted these five questions to help you begin market segmentation without feeling overwhelmed:
- Where do they live?
- What buyer group do they fall into?
- What is their attitude toward life?
- How do they spend their time and money?
- Which life stage are they currently in?
Do you have any questions about further segmenting your target market? Let us know in the comments section below!
Image credits: Wikipedia, Clem Onojeghuo, Evan Dennis
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