I always ask clients who their target demographic is.  Even when someone’s not my client, but is a business owner, I’ll often use this as an ice breaker question.  It helps me understand so much not only about that person’s business, but about that person, and when that person understands their target audience, it will help them determine how to brand, market and advertise.

The most frequent answer I get: Everyone is my target demographic!

I understand that answer from someone who’s never considered the question before.  Their thoughts:  Why should I possibly rule out a potentcial customer from purchasing my product or using my service.  I need as many clients as I can get, so my only option for my target demographic must be everyone.

What’s your business? Let’s say you own an ice cream store.  Ok, so right away, your target demographic must be geographical to people who can walk or drive to visit your store, unless you’re able to ship a cone in the mail.

Do you sell inexpensive, or do you sell high quality ice cream? Because if you’re going to sell based on price, $1/ice cream, you’re going to be selling to a market who’s more interested in price than quality.  If you’re selling a high quality ice cream, your audience is probably willing to pay $5/cone because there are plenty of other places where they can get a $1 cone if that’s what they wanted.

Do you offer a variety of the usual flavours, or do you offer a small selection of really unique flavours?  If you sell 12 flavours, and the most popular is chocolate chili pepper ice cream or jalapeno mango, you’re looking for a different demographic than the ice cream store that sells 30 of the most common flavours, and their most popular is strawberry or caramel ripple.

Where are you located? If you’re in an upscale neighbourhood next to an expensive coffee shop that can only be travelled to by car, and you have to pay for parking, you may not attract the $1/cone market.  If you’re surrounded by highly dense, entry-priced apartments where walking is very easy, but parking is hard to come by, you may not attract the $5/cone organic ingredient chocolate chili market.


How do you choose your business’ target demographic?  Choose one of the factors for your business; your price point, your location or your specific product/service.  Think about the audience that will be attracted to that choice, and why.  Surround your decision with more choices inline with what your target wants.

Once you understand your target market, it will help you understand where to put your focus with your branding, marketing and advertising!

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