What’s your target market? How would you describe your ideal customer in ten words or less? If you can’t answer either of those questions, you have work to do. Your business needs a very specific target market—not just “people who need my products!” Clearly defining your target market will allow you to market more efficiently, close more deals, and continually improve your product in the minds of your customers.

Identifying your target market is an important first step, but doing so doesn’t mean that your marketing efforts will automatically appeal to this audience. Many businesses today seem to operate on the principle of “Ready, Fire, Aim” when it comes to marketing and advertising. Before launching a new campaign, do your research. Ensure that your messages will appeal to the audience that you are targeting. Study your target market.  Know the tendencies and preferences of the individuals and businesses that your market consists of. And create your marketing campaigns with those specific preferences in mind.

Your target market is important to every operation of your business—not just the marketing department. To remind yourself and your team who the target is, hang a picture or some other reminder of your ideal customer in every department. Keeping the target customer constantly on the mind of your staff is critical—for instance, rather than your operations manager asking himself “how can I make this product better,” he will ask himself “how can I make this product more valuable to our ideal client?” Do you see the difference? Just because a product is “better” subjectively does not mean it’s better for your target customer. (Sometimes the opposite is true!) Keep the focus on your ideal customer and you’ll be amazed how much easier the decision making process will become.

Your business is nothing without your customers. But are you truly managing your business with the interests of your best customers at heart? If not, now is the time to refocus your entire operation around one simple goal: adding value to the lives of the individuals that make up your target market.