Skip to content
Target Market

How to define and engage with a target market

Target Market Background

Historically target markets were defined by measures such as demographics (age, gender, income etc). It was assumed that products, such as surfboards, were bought by young males. Luxury cars were bought by wealthy, older people etc. Unfortunately, this approach was flawed in many examples. For example, Nielsen research (2014) highlighted that 50% of Aldi Australia shoppers were high income families. Using demographic profiling high income families would logically shop at expensive retailers and would NOT shop at Aldi. So why were 50% of Aldi Australia shoppers high income families?

Target Market Psychographics

Today, successful businesses use psychographics to define target markets. Some people describe this as ‘the WHY’ customers buy your product or service. The reasons why are often emotional (not rational) and can be due to a large number of factors. A small list of factors include: attitudes, aspirations, interests, lifestyle choices, political views and values. All the factors combined explained WHY your target market buys your product or service.

Psychographics example – Aldi Australia

So why were 50% of Aldi Australia shoppers high income families? These families wanted to minimise the cost of their weekly grocery shopping. In terms of psychographics they did not feel any more satisfaction (an emotion) by shopping at a more expensive retailer for their weekly grocery shopping. They may even feel frustration (an emotion) that they spent too much on their weekly grocery shopping at a more expensive retailer. So they shop at Aldi because it maximises their happiness (an emotion) for weekly grocery shopping. Please note, these same families may still buy expensive cars, live in expensive houses etc because those items generate more happiness (an emotion) for them vs cheaper alternatives.

So WHY do your customers buy your product or service?

Target Market Data

“It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”

Steve Jobs

For large companies, with deep pockets, they are able to commission research to better understand their target markets psychographics. Other cheaper sources of target market data for businesses include:

  1. Google. Google records data about searches / keywords. By analysing this data you can get insights into what is ‘trending’, i.e. important to your target market today. Google trends is a good starting point.
  2. Social media. There are numerous platforms e.g. Facebook, Youtube, Instagram and LinkedIn where consumers and businesses can express their opinions on products / services. Again this data can give insights into what  is important to your target market today.
  3. Online surveys. There are numerous software packages available now that can quickly and cheaply complete online research. Surveymonkey is an example.
  4. Secondary research. There is a lot of information / reports available, some free, about your target market. Simply Google your product / service or target market to discover what secondary research is available. Some examples include Choice reports, IBISWorld reports, Nielsen reports.

The Internet has created many new ways for Australian businesses to research their target market. Very importantly the Internet has changed consumer research by giving consumers a new way to express their ideas / opinions about a product / service or company.

Another simple research method is for businesses to speak directly to their current customers and ask them WHY do you buy our product / service? You can also ask other questions such as how can we improve our product / service? For technical reasons please use open ended questions.

Customer Insights

The information about your target market (customer insights) is then used to evaluate your current product or service. Once your product or service meets the demands of your target market then you can engage with your target market. The customers insights are used in marketing to create engaging content / ads for your target market. Importantly the message has been tailored to their demands, i.e. customer centric marketing.

Customer Insights Example – Porsche

From research Porsche discovered a group of potential customers. “Consumers who secretly wanted a Porsche, but a sporty two-seater model didn’t fit into their lifestyle” (Scott Baker, Porsche). From the customer insights Porsche created their ‘Engineered for Magic. Everyday’ campaign. An example (below) is a yellow Porsche 911 advertised as a school bus. Importantly the campaign addressed a barrier to purchase, everyday usability, to their target market. By advertising that a Porsche did fit into their lifestyle Porsche was able to engage with their target market. The result of the campaign was a 35% increase in 911 sales in the first 2 months (CB insights). Please note this was achieved by focusing on what was important to their customers. The ad did NOT try to sell the features and benefits of the car.

Target Market


Due to changes in technology customers are now more empowered. To be successful in this environment businesses need to clearly define who their target market is. Historic measures, such as demographics, have flaws when defining a target market. Today businesses focus on psychographics, WHY, customers buy their product / service. The internet has created many fast, cheap ways for you to better understand your target market. These customer insights are then used to engage with your target market.

Good luck.


The information provided in this blog post was general in nature. If you require more information I offer a free initial consultation by completing a contact us form.

Thank you,

Tim Bowen