How to use Surveys to Identify your Target Market

As both entrepreneurs and market researchers, we’ve seen it many times before–somebody comes to us with something that, in their mind, is a great concept and will make an awesome business. We then ask them who their target market is and who will purchase their product. “Everyone,” is the usual answer, “Our target market is everyone!” While this may be potentially true, it’s definitely not where you want to start out.

Why? Isn’t it great that everyone is the target market for my product?

Yes, of course it is. But are you going to sell to everyone immediately? Or do you think you need to hone your marketing and messaging to fit a certain demographic – especially your early adopter demographic. When marketing a new product, we have found that it’s much easier to choose a demographic that is most interested in your product, get them on board, and obtain valuable feedback from this group. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

OK. So I’m not going to start marketing to everyone at the initial stages. But how to I determine who will be the early adopters and biggest fans and supporters of my company?

This is where an online market research study can come in quite handy – and determination of target markets is actually one of our specialties at Lab42. The easiest way to determine which market will be best for your company would be to conduct a general online survey which pitches your concept. Then, at the conclusion of the survey, ask the specific demographic questions. You’ll want to have the ability to segment the data in such a way that you can narrow down which segment responds most positively to your concept.

This sounds good. I know that I’ll need to be able to slice my data to determine the target market. But what questions will I need to ask within the survey?

We always try to focus on 3 main questions for our concept feedback survey (and these are altered based on the concept being tested):

1. How much the respondent likes the concept
—–Add an open ended question to ask both why they like (if they answered that they liked it) or why they don’t like it (if they answered negatively)
2. How likely is the respondent to go out and purchase the product or service?
3. Price they would pay for the product
—–The price the respondent would pay for the survey is a very good indicator of how much they like and value the concept.

By asking these questions, and having enough respondents to slice the data, you’ll be able to get a pretty good indication of the acceptance of your concept among a variety of different demographics. Once you identify the core demographics who favor your concept, you can start marketing to them. And that’s when the real fun starts.

How did you determine who your target market was? Did you run any market research studies before you launched your product or service? Share your stories and information below!

Article by Jonathan

Jonathan is the VP of Product and Co-Founder of Lab42 Market Research. He's a market researcher, entrepreneur and is an advocate of the lean startup mentality. You can reach him directly at JPirc@Lab42.com . You can also find him Tweeting about all things Chicago - @JPirc

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