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US - Identifying Your Target Market

2.1 Identifying Your Target Market

The US should not be looked at as a single market because each state is very diverse and segmented by different races, religions, demographics, geography, nationalities, incomes, GDP, etc. It is critical to understand your individual target market and the major focus of your business before you enter the international marketplace. Aligning yourself with strategic partners, finding your niche in the marketplace and localizing your products to meet the market demand are important steps in becoming internationally successful.

Some important considerations in identifying a target market include:

  • Can you export your product to the market and do it competitively?
  • Why would a customer want to purchase your product? What are the unique benefits and features of your product?
  • What segment of  the market are  you targeting? (age, geographic location, gender)
  • What information do you have on the market? (market intelligence gathering is extremely important in this context.)

The US overall can be classified as an aggressive, fast-paced, competitive economy requiring efficient product and service delivery, excellent quality assurance and a detailed marketing plan. Internal and external factors that affect the market attractiveness should be considered when identifying a market. External factors include the market size, demand, competition, market growth, political and industry risk and pricing trends. Internal business strengths to consider are product uniqueness, production capacity, internal human resources and the relative cost structure when compared with competitors.

An effective market research approach often used by many exporters when identifying a target market is the four level funnel approach:

1. Determine if a market exists - profile of target demographic, buying patterns, factors influencing purchasing decisions

2. Assess the general (macro) conditions - economic, social political, cultural as well as technological

3. Assess the performance potential and industry attractiveness - market size, trends, growth potential

4. Determine specific requirements to adopt and manage the trade strategy - competition, product comparison and ease of market entry