The Apprentice - the mistakes they made with target market analysis

Suzanne Sullivan by Suzanne Sullivan | 16th June 2011

The Apprentice – the mistakes they made with target market analysis

It all started out quite well, the over 60’s market is growing; they still have an attractive disposable income, despite the best efforts of the banking sector.

And they have plenty of time to indulge in leisure pursuits, hobbies and travel. There are many companies chomping at the bit to get to this ‘young at heart’ sector. What a shame, that the gang on the apprentice managed to get it so wrong! And then there’s the opportunity to reach out to a professional male market, one that loves fast cars, high tech gadgets and luxury items and what does the other lot, position the magazine down market with a tacky, nonsensical cover that looks more like ‘Nuts’ in the 90’s.

the apprentice

So, where did it all go wrong and what should they have done?

They didn’t understand their target market i.e. the particular group of consumers they will aim their product / service at. Understanding your target market is crucial, it determines:

  • What you sell or how you tailor your existing product / service
  • How you promote, price and distribute
  • The business model you choose
  • How you communicate with prospects
  • How profitable your business will be

You then need to ask:

  • Is the target market large enough to support your marketing goals?
  • Does your business have the skills and expertise to deal with the chosen market?
  • Is there growth in the market?

With information being so readily available on the net, there is no excuse not to do it. Of course, it helps to be ready to be flexible. When your focus group tells you the idea is rubbish, take the time to find out why, probe for how it could be done differently, ask what they like about similar products etc and then adapt accordingly.

In researching your audience, look at companies already catering for them, what are the issues they are addressing, what are the needs they are meeting, what benefits are they offering? Get under the skin of your audience by looking at other forms of media they use. What approach are the bigger more successful companies taking, just a few minutes on the Saga website would have given the Apprentice guys some steer.

The successful company is one which has clearly defined marketing strategies for carefully chosen target markets. Invest the time in market research before you kick off your next campaign and you’ll be sure to reap the rewards.

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