Your marketing plan must include a market segmentation approach and the identification of your target market or markets (you can focus on more than one target market, but ideally not more than three target markets at one time). Market segmentation includes identifying whether your product, and your business, fits best in mass marketing, segment marketing, niche marketing, one-to-one or direct marketing approaches.

For small business owners, it is often a challenge to focus in on target markets and to stay focused on those targets. If you want to ensure sales success, you need to understand what target marketing approaches you need to undertake.

Ask yourself whether or not your product would best-fit into a specific market; look at economies of scale, the cost/benefit/profit relationships, size of market, risk of entry/risk of failure, number of competitors in that market (market saturation), and more. Target your market by assessing whether or not the market segment is attractive (can you succeed, can you make a profit, does your product fit in that market) and by assessing the fit with your company’s objectives, long-term vision and your capabilities or resources.

Here are 3 target markets to consider (there are more than 3 overall):

Selective target market. Your business focus is on a number of market segments; these may be unrelated segments. You may choose to launch one or several products to several, selected markets. Each segment must have a best-fit relationship with your business objectives, vision and capabilities. Each segment must be able to stand alone, which minimizes risk of failure and also helps to smooth volume peaks and valleys. Limited benefit for distribution economies.
One-Product target market. Your business focus is on one product to a number of market segments. Your marketing, branding, production expenses can be focused on that one product and with that type of focus you will be able to build strong recognition for it. If all the focus is on one product, you will need to be very sure that there is enough of a market for it, that there is limited competition (or weak competition), and that you have a very unique value proposition for your product.
One-Market target market. Your business focus is on launching a number of products in one market segment. This strategy requires market recognition of your leadership position. Your customers must love you; your competitors should fear you. But be careful of putting all of your “eggs (also known as products) in one basket”. The risk in using this strategy is the industry’s strength or weakness and the focus on one specific group of buyers.
Small businesses must focus on target marketing to achieve sales success however, as a small business owner, you must invest time and resources into researching, defining and selecting a target market that is a best-fit for your products, your business objectives, and for your long-term vision.

When you’ve completed your market research and find that best-fit market, you will need to enact your strategic marketing plan and focus on satisfying your customers’ needs and wants.