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  • Pete Steege

Target Your Marketing Like You Mean It



I have a question for you: When you define your target market for your business, are you just going through the motions, or are you doing it as if your success depends on it?


Because it does.


A well-defined and actionable target market definition simplifies and sharpens your message. It activates your prospects like nothing else can. And it eliminates waste on marketing programs that are targeting people that aren't going to buy from you.


Here are three steps you can take to sharpen that target market definition and improve your business.


Define your Total Available Market


This is work you probably already doing, where you describe the characteristics of the organizations that need what you are offering, and the people within those organizations that you need to target to make those buying decisions.


You can use demographics and psychographics. Also think of organizational descriptors - things about their culture and how they operate.


Resist the urge to be too inclusive. It's so tempting to broaden your target. The result is you end up with a watered-down story that doesn't appeal to anybody.


If you have a very sharp story focused on a tight group of the ideal clients, you will get a spillover effect beyond those targets for prospects beyond your target - so keep it sharp.


Define your Total Addressable Market


Once you have your total available market, you need to target further to the total addressable market.


This is the subset within your available market that you can actually reach.


To do this, I recommend filtering it down by three factors:


  1. Market presence -Are you new to the market or are you a market share leader?

  2. Competition - Are there a lot of strong competitors, or is it pretty wide open because your market has limited mindshare and some of those people won't be open to talking with you because they have somebody else?

  3. Market strength - How strong is your market? Is it growing? Is it evolving? Because those markets create more opportunity to connect with people because they're looking for solutions, versus a market that is stagnant or declining.


An example of total addressable market sizing: I had a small client that had a total available market of 3,200 organizations. After this exercise, we ended up with a list of 700 organizations that we felt we could reach with our marketing programs.


Sanity check your results


Now, check your addressable prospect list to make sure it's going to work for your business.


First, is your target definition sharp enough?


I like to see if I can make a list of clients and targets. If I can't - if I don't have enough information - I need to go back and spend more time and make it sharper.


Second, do you have enough marketing budget to reach the addressable market that you have decided to target?


And third, is one to two percent of that list enough for your business goals? Remember, not all the people that can buy from you are ready to buy from you right now.


Once you do that work, you have a sharply focused target market. With this kind of detailed, real-world targeting, you will find that your marketing programs change from being intellectual exercises to concrete programs with measurable results for which you can hold your team accountable.

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