Target Markets

Who are you selling to?

Bernie owns a food truck and frequents downtown Seattle.  His business is going ok.  He has enough to pay his 2 employees, purchase product, and pay himself a small salary.  His taco truck is nothing special and he parks next to several other taco trucks.  Lately, he has noticed that the lines going to the other trucks seem to be longer than his.  People seem to flock to Casey’s Crazy Huevos Rancheros, Juan’s Verde Burrito Shack, and Junita’s Tasty Taquitos.  What shocks Bernie is that he has a very diverse menu.  He serves: tacos, burritos, nachos, hamburgers, hot dogs, and chili.  All of these items are classic lunch items.  What could he be doing wrong?

Bernie’s biggest problem is that he does not know who he is selling to (target market) or what his business is.  The reason the other trucks are so successful is that they know who they are selling too and have only a few great items.  People want to visit their trucks because they know what to expect.  Junita knows that her taquitos are the best.  She has mastered her recipe and serves a phenomenal product.  Bernie is trying to cast a large net and reel in a bunch of people.  Instead of doing a few items really well, he is using the shotgun approach and trying to hit as many targets as possible.  How can he fix this?

Bernie looked at his downtown customers and broke them into groups.  What stood out to him was a very large group of people that exit a local business at the same time each day.  He observed their behavior over the next few days and he noticed that most of them only had a 30 min lunch.  They all went towards the shortest lines because they did not have a lot of time to eat.  Bernie looked at his menu also and decided to cut out a few items and focus on just a handful.  Not only would this save time but it would lower his cost of goods.  Bernie decided that he would focus on his American menu and offer slides, bacon burgers, hot dogs, and chili.  He also started to prepare more items ahead of time to speed up his line.  Bernie’s change in menu and commitment to finding the needs of his customers paid off in the end.  He increased his business and his customers appreciated his commitment to their needs.

To find your target market you need to do some research.  You need to break your market into groups by similar buying patterns and common needs.  This will create a profile of each potential market that you can tap into.  Once you find your niche, then you can start marketing to that group of people.  Knowing your clients will make a huge impact on your business and set you apart from the rest.  Successful entrepreneurs know who they are and who they are selling too.  Take some time and look at your competition.  What are they doing different than you?  How are they reaching new customers?  What are they doing different than you?  These are just few questions to consider.  Once you make time to do this your business can change for the better like Bernie’s.