How Do You Fish Where the Fish Are?

No business, small or large, can be all things to all people. Successful marketing is all about identifying a market and then engaging with that market; and the more precisely you can define who your target market is, the better.

Here are 2 helpful steps to follow when identifying your target market:

Identify why a customer would want to buy your product or service

First, understand what your product or service has to offer. To do this, identify your product or service’s particular or unique features and benefits. A feature is a characteristic that is fundamentally built in to your product.  While features are valuable and can certainly enhance your product, it is benefits that motivate people to buy. For example, a calculator may be solar powered. Its feature is that is does not need batteries. The benefit to your customer is that they will save money not having to buy batteries.

Segment your overall market


For which people do your products or services provide a solution? Create an extremely detailed description of the definitive person in your target market. The more detail you include the easier it will be for you to target this person as you design your marketing strategy.  Include things like where they live, their age, gender, job description and hobbies.  Envisage and note the daily tasks the person does at their job. Think about what they do in their spare time and on the weekend with family and friends. Go as far as including a photo fits your vision and include it in the profile.


As you build the profile of your target audience it becomes easier to get inside their head and figure out their motivations. It is important to develop market insight and establish a full understanding of their lives, what is important to them and what influences them. Identify the motivations of your target audience and from there you can identify the opportunities for your product or service to help them.

Traditionally there are four different ways in which to segment your target market: geographic, demographic, psychographic and behavioural. In South Africa a segmentation tool called Living Standards Measures (LSMs) is also used to segment our rainbow nation.

 Geographic – where are they?

Geographic segmentation determines where your target market are located – nationally, provincially or by town; in metro, rural or semi-rural areas.

 Demographic – who are they?

Demographic segmentation refers to the common statistics that describe the population such as their age, gender, race, income, marital status, employment status and nationality.

 Psychographic – how do they think?

Psychographic segmentation divides your target market into segments based on their different personality traits, values, attitudes, interests, and lifestyle.

 Behavioural – what are their buying habits when it comes to your product or service?

Behavioural segmentation relates to the population based on the way they respond to, use or know or purchase a product.



In South Africa the South African Advertising Research Foundation formulated the Living Standard Measure (SAARF LSM). The LSM is a unique means of segmenting the South African market and divides the population into 10 LSM groups, 1 -10. This tool cuts across race and other outdated ways of categorising people, and instead groups people according to their living standards using several criteria such as their degree of urbanisation and ownership of cars and major appliances.

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