A Target Market That Reflects You

Ana CariniI think designers struggle when it comes to defining our market.

Everyone seems to need our services: the neighbor next-door, the hair stylist, the shop owner, etc. But offering everything to everybody is definitely not a smart way to do business. (Let’s leave that to supermarkets and department stores!) As creatives, we have areas of specialty – which makes us specialists. That’s exactly how our prospects should see us. Prospects should know:

1. What our design agency represents.
2. That we speak and understand their specialized language.
3. That we are specialists on their specific subject.

Differentiation is key! To successfully run a design agency, we need to set ourselves apart to handpick our market.

I used to be so mad at myself and my freelance business for being all over the place! I had clients of all types (the high-tech industry, real estate, healthcare clinics) with no focus on any market. I knew in my gut I had to do something to change the way things were.

Defining your market is not easy, but it is possible. I would recommend really digging deep and soul-searching your personal needs. It’s more than just thinking about the market you are aiming for. If you want your market to reflect you on a personal level, here are some questions to ask:

  • What are your hobbies? Cooking? Photography? Maybe you can combine both work and leisure time and offer your services to this specific market?
  • Where do you like to spend your free time? Fitness? Organic farms? Book clubs? That might be a sign to what and where you should head.
  • Do you have a passion for the government? Maybe you can assist federal officers with specific design projects?

For me, it was more important to carve my niche, than to work with random clients knocking at my door. I wanted to solidify my business, to be passionate about my work, and to be called an expert. I knew the only way to achieve it was by narrowing my business down to what is really important to me. The more we understand ourselves, and our market, the more we will succeed and be recognized in the industry.

It was very clear to me that I had a ‘magnetic pull’ to the fashion and beauty industry. I knew in my gut I was heading in the right direction!

How about yourself? What are you passionate about besides design? Are you taking the right steps towards handpicking your clients? Do you have anything to share with us?

Listen to BTW: [audio:http://iliseb.audioacrobat.com/download/be1d9a8f-20c5-b04f-30fd-439620626f71.mp3]

If you need help finding your target market, check out this post about your “ideal clients” — it has a worksheet you can do too!

One thought on “A Target Market That Reflects You

  1. Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

    For me, the frustration that arose 15 years ago – after a previous 15 years as a designer – was not about defining my market in terms of the types of businesses I wanted to work with – it was much more about targeting the type of work I wished to be doing. After years of taking on every type of project that came my way, I realized I didn’t necessarily want to be designing publications, annual reports, brochures and the like. I had a passion for identity design. Making the decision for market myself as a logo designer restored my passion and gave me business a renewed focus. Your post is a great reminder to all “creative types” that we have the ability to decide what we really want to be doing in our daily work.