Friday, November 15, 2013

Very Profitable + Likely to Recommend You + Great to Work with = Your Target Markets

By Debbie Wanamaker (B2B Marketing Consultants, LLC) 

Wouldn’t you love to have a whole database full of customers like this? Customers who generate good profitability, are nice to work with, who value what you provide for them, and who recommend you to their peers?

Identifying the companies that would meet these criteria for your particular business is what it means to find your “target market”. Most companies will not be in your target market but securing enough of those that are will ensure your ongoing success!

Targeting markets means consciously deciding on which doors you knock in order to get the greatest return for your sales and marketing investment. It does not mean you turn away business that comes to your door – that’s a separate evaluation.

So how can you identify the markets your company should target? As an established business, you can start by looking at the companies that have already chosen you. Ask yourself:

1) Which specific customers do we really enjoy serving and why?
  • Customers that value your services tend to be more pleasant and less problematic because they truly get a benefit from the product or service you offer 
2) What customers stay with you no matter what?
  • Customers who continue to buy from you year after year, through price increases, through the “oops” that sometimes happen in business, or who leave for a competitor and then return, are getting a significant value from what you are providing – finding that value will help you find target markets that share that value and are willing to pay for it. 
3) Who are your most profitable customers?
  • Note: when you look at this figure, make sure you take into account all the time and effort you put into serving this customer – not just the direct costs of the product or service provided. Special billing requirements, customer service hassles, complaints, slow collections, etc. all drive down profitability. 
4) Which customers have referred other prospects to you?
  • Those customers for whom you are the best match will be willing to provide you with a referral letter, act as a reference, or may have already referred another company to you. 
To find your target market you need to figure out the “commonalities” of these “best” customers. These will be a combination of demographic (e.g. geography, industry, what they purchase) and psychographic characteristics (e.g. the level of control the client is willing to give you, how they prefer to communicate, how often they want updates, the speed in which they want a response, etc.).

Once you’ve defined these target characteristics, you can grow your business by focusing your sales and marketing efforts on:
1) Companies that share those same demographic and psychographic characteristics

2) Markets, that you don’t currently serve, that would value the same benefits

Focusing your sales and marketing efforts on these chosen market(s) will SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASE the return you receive from the time and money you invest!


  1. Thank you, Debbie! Making every second count in marketing is so vital. I will use your identification tool from this day forward.