Know the Needs of Your Target Market

When REAP staff work with business owners or potential business owners, one of the first questions we ask is, “Who is your target market? What is your niche?” It is imperative for a business owner to know who their main consumers will be and how to reach them. They also need to know if there are enough consumers to have a viable business.

Ask the questions: What problem do I solve for my customers? How do I make their life easier, offer convenience, etc.?

When I saw an article entitled What I Learned from the Food Channel about Developing a Niche, I was curious. Anita Campbell (Small Business Trends) discussed how the Food Network is masterful at defining the “niche.” Anita outlined five lessons:

Slice and dice your target market as narrowly as possible. To understand your potential niche, look at some of their niches: Older women, Comfort food lovers, Healthy eaters, various ethnic groups, Manly men, etc. Each of their shows has a specific audience. If you have defined and captured your niche properly, they will recognize it!

Understand the difference between experts and DIY-ers (Do it yourself-ers). The Food Network makes DIY-ers feel like experts. They elevate the non-chef’s skills. In the comments on this article, the Do-it-Yourself-ers, Do-It-For-Me (DIFM) and the Do-It-With-Me (DIWM) niches were identified. Could any of those be your niche?

KNOW your customer’s need – and solve it, even if it is not glamorous. RACHEL RAY’s “30 Minute Meals” targets the working woman. Sandra Lee’s “Semi-Homemade Cooking” targets the women who want to entertain and make a good impression but have limited time or cooking skills. Know what makes your customer’s life easier and solves a problem for them.

Make the experience your niche. Some companies are creating memorable experiences, and the experience becomes their product. Iron Chef and Ace of Cakes are two shows that create experiences. It’s not the learning to cook something but the drama surrounding the characters and their activities that provides an experience viewers are a part of. Can you define your niche so that it is more about the experience than the product?

Understand how to appeal to senses and emotions. The Food Network uses microphones (breaking off a piece of garlic from the bulb) and camera work to emphasize mouth-watering close-ups of food and enhancement of sounds to evoke taste. It’s a feel good time. How can you appeal to emotions, because that is how customers make purchasing decisions? Buying starts from your emotions, and then we convince our brains why our decisions make sense. (Remember Dave Buchholz’s example of the red sports car he had to justify to his bride – from the Marketing sessions we hosted last year?)

What is your Niche and who is your Target Market? The narrower you define these two factors, the better you can use your marketing dollars and the more sales you should make.

You can access the Food Channel article at:

Contact: Monica Braun, REAP Women’s Business Center Director for more information, or 402.643.2673.