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Market Research: Identifying a Target Market

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 16 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Survey Business Crafts Sales Marketing

Before you launch into the hard work of setting up a crafts business, it’s important to look carefully at the services you’d like to provide, consider whether it’s something that’s needed right now and identify your target market. Here are some tips on doing just that.

When you’re all fired up with a great idea, it’s easy to get carried away and hurtle straight on with it. But whilst this may feel like the right thing to do in the short term, in the long term you may live to regret it, as failing to assess and identify your target market could be detrimental for your crafts business. Even though you might think your business is the greatest idea ever, it will only ever be successful if you get customers – and keep them.

Researching and Finding Relevant Information

In order to identify your target market, you need to spend time thoroughly researching the current craft market and looking at what your business could offer that others don’t.

There are a number of key sources you can use to find out all this information. On a local level, talking to people and especially to any relevant experts can be a huge help. If there are any other similar businesses in your area, then sussing out what they’re doing, through ordering their products, reading their brochures or visiting their shops, is useful and you can get an idea of whether or not they’re already doing anything similar to what you’d like to do.

Other good information gathering means include:

  • Attending trade shows and reading the trade press.
  • Researching craft business issues on the internet. For example, you could search for the market demographics of crafters or see how other craft businesses picture their client base.
  • Surveys – you could conduct a small survey to see what people actually want.
  • The electoral register.
  • Reading magazines, newspapers and craft websites.
  • Craft newsletters, forums and blogs, where you can read what’s of interest to crafters.
  • Business directories.
  • Through your own network of friends, family or past colleagues, especially if they’re interested in crafts.
  • Consumer craft fairs and shows, where you can talk to the stall holders and get an idea of what’s selling and what’s not.

Determining Your Target Market

Once you’ve looked at all these avenues of research, you should have a much clearer idea of what the current market situation is. Hopefully you won’t have been put off progressing with your business idea and may well have identified potential gaps in the market that you could take advantage of.

As a brand new business in the planning stages, you’re unlikely to have customers, but it’s worth determining what the demographics of your intended customers are. For example:

  • What age range are they likely to be?
  • Where are they likely to live and work?
  • Are they based in the city or the country?
  • How much disposable income are they likely to have?
  • Are they predominantly female or male?
  • Are they single or married?
  • How often do they buy craft products?
  • Do they like to shop around for the best prices, or do they buy on impulse?
  • Do they like to buy online or from shops?
  • Do they enjoy learning new skills and techniques?

It may seem like a host of questions at this stage, but the more you can consider which demographic your customers fit into, the better targeted your business will be. It’s also a very useful element to be able to include in any business plan you write and shows that you’ve thoroughly done your research and thought hard about who you’re primarily targeting. In the long run, it will significantly help your sales and marketing, as you’ll have a baseline to aim at.

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