The first step in creating your marketing plan is to identify your target market. Regardless of the type of business you have, there is a core group of consumers who are most likely to need your product or service. Your job is to identify that group (or groups) and determine the best way to reach those particular people. You can use this worksheet to help guide you to your target audience.

Suppose you are the owner of a mid-priced restaurant.  Your marketing plan is most likely not going to include a billboard in Medford. Your advertising is likely to be centered in Klamath Falls, and most likely, within a few miles of your business’s location. However, if your business sells building supplies to contractors, your marketing plan may very well include a billboard in Medford.

Just as the location of the advertisements differs between businesses, so do the target audiences.  While the owner of a mid-priced restaurant may target businesspeople and families, a building supply store will target contractors.  This may seem very obvious, but some target audiences are harder to pick out.

Perhaps you own a book store. Who would your target audience be? Let’s closely examine your merchandise. If your inventory hosts a large section about wildlife, you have a different target audience than a similarly sized book store that hosts a large section about computers. As you can see, your target market is not going to simply be “people who like to read.”

A person who loves to spend time in the forest taking pictures of animals isn’t necessarily a person who loves to read, but that person may still be interested in your stock of wildlife books. In this case, you may advertise your business in the newspaper because people who like to read may see your advertisement. However, you might also want to make connections in the photography field, or outdoor activity groups.

A large part of creating your marketing plan is simply knowing your business. Define what makes your business different from others, and capitalize on that difference. What makes your business stand out, and why should customers come to you? Your job is to examine your potential customer base, and continually narrow it down until you’ve identified two or three key groups of people who are most likely to use your services. By examining your business closely, you can likely find some new potential target audiences.