Defining the Customer Profile and Identifying Target Markets

Understanding the Preferences and Characteristics of Target Markets

After defining your buyer profile and target markets, the next step is to assemble reliable information about their preferences and information-consumption habits so you can customize your marketing campaign. The table below provides an example of this analysis for a few target markets:

Target Market Relevant Preferences Places to Transmit Marketing Messages
First-time buyers in general
  • To get a great deal
  • To find the home that meets their needs
  • Safe neighborhood with good reputation
  • Good schools, especially if they have children
  • Affordability
  • Quality
  • To avoid future foreclosure
  • To not get turned down for a mortgage
  • Friendly neighbors
  • Investment potential
  • MLS websites
  • Mortgage officer’s offices or websites
  • Real estate agents’ offices or websites
  • Homebuyer education classes and counseling agencies
  • Open houses
  • Bridal fairs, bridal shops, wedding announcement pages in newspapers
  • Home sales guides
  • Major employers
  • Websites such as Craigslist, Redfin and Trulia
Renters in the neighborhood
  • All of the benefits of ownership, but near their current friends, places they do business, etc.
  • Neighborhood association
  • Direct mail
  • Neighborhood businesses, parks, institutions
Parents and staff in neighborhood schools
  • Walk to work/school
  • Spend less time commuting
  • Access after-school programs more easily
  • Parent-teacher events/organizations
  • After-school programs like urban gardening, sports, tutoring
  • Staff break rooms
  • Principals’ offices
  • School sports events
Renters with pets
  • Ability to have pets in home
  • Back yard
  • Walkable streets and parks for pet to exercise
  • Pet adoption and rescue agencies
  • Veterinary offices
  • Dog parks
  • Pet shows
Lenders who can refer buyers to you
  • Mortgage-ready borrowers
  • Low risk
  • A way to help people they would otherwise turn down
  • Quick deals
  • Local banks and credit unions
  • Annual lenders’ luncheon
Friends and Family of Existing Neighbors
  • To be closer to friends and family
  • Existing neighbors
  • Family reunions of existing neighbors
  • Neighborhood businesses

How Can You Find Out About Target Market Preferences?

The best way to find out about specific preferences is to ask people who are members of that target market, or people who interact with them. You might choose to conduct one-on-one interviews, focus groups or brief surveys, possibly making contact in connection with events. For instance, you could hold a luncheon for real estate agents who list in your target neighborhoods and seek their insights. You could hold a morning coffee and fruit booth at a local school when parents are dropping off their kids as an opportunity to engage parents in conversation and/or hand out a short survey to be completed on-site. You could also approach the school principal and PTA president to get their suggestions.

You could hold a special open house of one of your properties and invite neighbors to look at it and talk about who among their friends, family and co-workers might be interested in a home purchase. You could have a meeting with homebuyer educators, or have them hand out and collect a brief survey in their classes.

You may already be able to guess enough information to customize messages and communicate them in the right places. It doesn’t take a lot, and you probably have a lot of insight among your team members.

Click here for a Target Market Analysis Worksheet.

Chapter 7 will present information on defining or refining your product.