Is Your Market Still Listening? Why It May Be Time to Target A New Market

Samantha Carroll
November 10, 2015
There comes a time when a company faces the reality that its market may be shifting, shrinking, growing, or even dictating a new path. As a business leader, maybe you’ve started to notice that sales in a certain area are declining or clients are beginning to ask if you offer a specific service. If you’ve served the same market(s) for years but have a hunch that times may be changing, how do you begin to address the need to target a new market? In this article, we’ll explore a few analytical exercises that will help you understand your market, so you can begin to design marketing campaigns that address your changing market’s needs more effectively. HourlyNerd  

First, It’s Time To Survey Your Stakeholders

Before you scratch your head in wonderment, creating numerous assumptions about the behaviors of a new market, take a step back to make sure you really understand your existing market. Just because you may need to target a new market doesn’t mean that you should abandon the existing one, so be sure your messages are still resonating with them before you begin tailoring your messaging to a new market. Your goal will be to design messaging that taps into the new market without alienating the existing, profitable one. Start by designing a survey for your existing clients or customers that asks specific questions about the services or products you’re currently delivering, but also addresses what those individuals would be likely to purchase from you if you offered it. Try to dig into your audience’s preferences as much as possible to gain insights into why they do or do not purchase those services from you now. Also, try to focus your questions on understanding the demographics of your key clients. For example, you might consider questions like:
  • Where do you research companies online?
  • How do you make purchase decisions? Price? Convenience?
  • Are you a manager or senior-level leader?
  • If product ABC was offered, how much would you be willing to spend for it?
  • Have you ever purchased product ABC in the past? What is most important to you when purchasing this product?
Understanding some key insights into the behaviors and thought processes of your existing market will help you tap into their needs when you design your messaging campaigns. So, refer back to this survey information often to make sure that the content you’re developing is addressing this core market.  

Next, It’s Time to Focus On New Markets

Once you’ve gained some insight into the changing needs of your existing market, it’s time to understand your potential new market. A good place to start is by talking to those who already serve this market. Make a short list of colleagues or friends who routinely serve this market. Ask those individuals if they would mind helping you to understand the needs, preferences, behaviors, and demands of that market. You should couple this information with your own online research – Internet searches for demographics of [fill in the blank] market can yield interesting information you may not have realized. Doing this kind of target market analysis is critical to gaining the kind of insights necessary to launch a new marketing campaign. By understanding behaviors and demographics of your new market, you can begin to find media outlets with audiences that mirror your new market. One thing you can begin to do is reach out to those media outlets to find opportunities for your marketing e.g. advertising, blogging, pitching a story. The key to targeting your new audience is finding out where they “live” online and offline.  

Existing Market + New Market = Your New Reality

Growing your market share depends on understanding the needs of your existing market and any prospective target market(s). Now that you have a better understanding of these two segments, you should do a careful analysis of your existing communications. Consider having a company take a look at your existing marketing materials and perform a communications audit. A communications audit can provide incredibly valuable information as you work to make changes to your campaigns. If your core market is still a truly successful, profitable market for your business, you’ll want to find a way to continue to reach this market, while addressing the needs of your new market. Sometimes, companies can find success by launching a rebranding campaign, and other times, companies may think about launching a brand new campaign to reach this new market. If you don’t already have a marketing department or think you may need outside support, think about working with a company that can help you identify which direction your marketing campaign should take to be able to address these changing demands.

About the Author

Samantha Carroll

Samantha Carroll is CEO of Once Upon A Brand, a brand strategy and communications company.  In 2014, she was featured by the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University in their Alumni Spotlight.  Samantha is a voracious reader, deeply interested in health and wellness. She is also proud of her command of ‘90s TV sitcom trivia.

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