What is a Target Market?
Every marketing plan talks about “target markets,” and for good reason! Your target market will determine how your company looks, what content you create, what services you offer, and what products you promote. If you don’t know this essential piece of information, then you are making the mistake that 99% of business owners make: you are targeting everyone.
Every successful entrepreneur will tell you the same thing: if you target everyone, you are essentially targeting no one. It is not possible to be everything to everybody, and trying to be will make you look unprofessional. Remember, just because you target a niche group does not mean that you are excluding other groups; it just means you specialize in one.
Can you change in the future? Sure! But you won’t want to after you start making money. You need repeat business and it’s way cheaper than acquiring new business. The reason why some companies are so successful (even though the majority of the planet doesn’t know who they are) is because they have cultivated a loyal following that continually purchases from them.
You need to envision your ideal customer, and not just their gender, age, and socioeconomic status (you need that too, by the way). You need to know what they like and why they like it. Being able to target associated brands and activities that your customers also like will help you develop your own, not to mention that it will come in extremely handy if and when you decide to use paid advertising.
Factors of Determining Your Target Market
The following factors should be considered while identifying your target market. Remember, you are trying to describe this person as much as possible. You should be able to envision them in every element of their lives. Here are some broad questions you need to answer about the group, as well as some extremely specific questions you should be able to answer about individuals within the group.
- How large is the target market?
- Where is the target market located?
- How much money does the target market make?
- What does the target market do for a living?
- What gender is the target market?
- What is Joe/Jane interested in besides fitness?
- How do they feel about their family life?
- What do they do in their free time?
- What time do they wake up in the morning?
- Where do they vacation?
- If you met them at a party, what would they be most likely to talk about or be interested in?
- If they had a million dollars to waste, what would they do with it?
- What brands do they lean towards?
- What kind of car do they drive?
- What kind of house/apartment do they live in?
- What movies do they like to watch?
- What music do they listen to during work? When they workout? When they unwind? When they drive?
- Do they like pets?
- Do they have kids? Grandkids?
COMMON TARGET MARKETS
While your target market should be extremely specific to your brand and offering, I have found several groups that seem to be consistently interested in fitness services and products. Again, we’re attempting to envision individual people, not some sort of random crowd.
BORED CONVENTIONAL TRAINEES
You can only do conventional group fitness classes for so long before you start wanting something a bit more challenging. This is a 30-40 year old soccer-mom type who went from a completely sedentary lifestyle to an energetic fitness lifestyle over the period of a few years. They’ve had all of the Zumba they can handle and are now looking for something a bit more unconventional.
There are millions of people online that are constantly looking for ways to improve their home gyms and outdoor “playgrounds.” These people don’t want to use fancy machines; they want information about how to use kettlebells, maces, rocks, and whatever else they need to get results without a gym. This person is looking for very unconventional methods, so the more interesting you get with the tips the better. This is usually a 40-55 year old male that wants functional results and longevity out of their training.
MEN INTERESTED IN MMA
There is a large group of people who simply like to watch MMA and would like the functional benefits that fighters have (i.e. strength, stamina, explosiveness, etc.) but aren’t interested in getting punched. These men, usually 25-40 years old, want to train like fighters but aren’t necessarily interested in being fighters.
THE BORN-AGAIN ATHLETE
There is an extremely large group of 20-40 year old men and women who are concerned with athleticism, competition, and community when it comes to fitness. They are interested in sweat-inducing workouts, but they’re not willing to put their health on the line just to keep up with their buddies. They care about technique and the entertaining value of the workouts they are performing and are willing to push themselves to be part of the “crew.” This is a great market because they have both money and time. Building a community is paramount with this group, and cultivating the team atmosphere will be essential to succeeding with them.
THE FORMER ATHLETE
Targeting 40-55 year old career professionals who admire athletes and still consider themselves to be athletes is a highly lucrative target market. They have more money and time than other professionals and as they age, and they are becoming more and more concerned with their health and the functional life of their bodies. A person in this target market has been successful with their career but has started to notice a decrease in their functional performance. Whether it’s playing with their kids or grand kids, pulling an intense day at work, or simply trying to perform household tasks on the weekends, they are starting to feel more tired and achy than they used to. In addition, when they are active with their hobbies, they are starting to notice an annoying amount of nagging injuries. They realize that while they finally have the time and money to do what they want, their bodies are not functional enough to allow them to comfortably do them.
THE YOUNG OFFICE DWELLER
This is the 30-45 year old man or woman who works in an office for 40+ hours a week, is generally unhappy with their fitness level, and is looking to get fit somewhere besides a conventional gym or a standard “box” (they have probably tried both of those already and have either been bored or injured). These are people who are new to serious training, but are willing to try something different. They still want to be entertained with their training methods and be part of a larger fitness community, but they aren’t fanatical about the process. They can be converted into long-term fitness enthusiasts sometimes, but other times they are simply looking for a “transformation” in a 4-12 week time line.
THE CATCHER UPPER
This group is made up of somewhat active 30-45 year old men and women. This group is starting to realize that they aren’t as fit as they were in their 20’s and want to get back into shape before it’s too late. They want to be part of an active group that takes on challenges, likes outdoor activities, and is looking to live life to the fullest by maintaining their fitness levels. Since they are full time desk-jockies for the most part, they want to learn how to stay in shape using efficient methods during the week so they can spend their weekends hiking, biking, and viewing nature.
TRAINERS LOOKING FOR AN ADVANTAGE
These are men and women that are either conventional trainers or unconventional trainers that are looking for another “weapon” when it comes to differentiating themselves from other trainers. They want something new and unique to attract new clients or keep their existing clients interested.
People who use physicality as part of their careers (e.g. firefighters, soldiers, law enforcement, etc.) are not going to make you a ton of money, but they will actively spread the word. Also, the fact that they use your techniques will give you a lot of credibility. Telling people about how you train these individuals will get them interested. Active Professionals are constantly looking for ways to improve themselves, especially when it comes to injury prevention and applicable functional fitness.
Athletes of varying levels, from high school to college to professional, are targeted by a lot of strength and conditioning trainers. This group loves to train hard and they are very open to direction from their coaches and trainers. Even so, this can be a tough target market as you’ll be competing with institutions that have their own internal resources that might not agree with your methodologies. In addition, the athletes themselves will rarely be paying for your services or products; it will more likely be their parents or sponsors.
BABY BOOMER DADS
There is a real connection between high school/collegiate athletes and 40-60 year old men who want to stay competitive. Baby Boomer males have tons of money and they’re looking for ways to increase their functional performance and recover from injuries. They’re open to unconventional training techniques and have gotten beyond the purely aesthetic training techniques that younger males may be interested in.
MOMS & SOON TO BE MOMS
These are the women that are pregnant, planning to be pregnant soon, or have recently had a child. Each one has unique needs, time to exercise, and a motivation to get or stay in shape at whatever stage they are in. They may have some time to browse articles and techniques online, giving you the potential to increase your website traffic significantly if you target them.