There are many concepts in business which are bounced around. If you read business books you well read about Target Market, age, gender and income, etc. If you read about web sites, they talk about niche markets and traffic volumes.

This is one approach to learning about your market, and in this blog I will discuss another way of finding and understanding the market that you are selling.

First of all, I am a strong believer in the principal that you are selling a solution to your problem. So instead of asking yourself who is the market, I start by asking what the consumer problems are.

The process I take is to brainstorm as many customer problems as possible. As an example, let’s use an online mentoring site which mentors people around the world. So first we will go through the thought process of the mentors. The site benefits:

  • Freedom to work anywhere
  • Ability to make money online
  • Educate and assist others

So, what are the customer problems? I will provide a short list here:

  1. I am a professional and have children, I would like part time or extra work
  2. I want a break from my job and travel the world, but would like some extra cash
  3. I am retired, I have a lot of knowledge which I would like to share

This is a critical process for getting your sales message and target right, because you’re selling a solution. In the example, it’s not selling online mentoring; it’s selling the Consumer Benefits to this problem.

Having this list as long as possible will really help evaluate the best market. Once the customer problems are defined, the next stage of assessment is where I would target the market. You might think, oh you need to target teachers, but this is just such a small part of the market. Following on from the example:

  1. Professional/Children/Extra Work

Market: This market will be on a parent’s web site, support web sites forums and social media


  • Flexibility to work around a family schedule
  • Keep up the skill level

  1. Extra cash why travelling

Market: Travel web sites / forums


  • Remote working
  • Specialised skill
  • Flexible time schedule

  1. Retired but want to use my skills

Market: Retirement web site, groups, societies


  • Share knowledge with others
  • Part time work only

After going through this list, you can really get a clear picture of who you are going to sell to, and what is going to add value to that market. The next stage is to filter this list down.

The process that I use is a simple mathematical formula which is size of the market, and second is the ability to sell to this market (as a percentage)

Figuring out the size of the market is always going to be estimation.  Personally I like Linkedin as a good source for estimation. I use it by searching for groups based on my market description, and see how many members are in that group. Then I normally just take the top 3 groups and look at what percentage it makes up of the groups. In general I am looking for a relative measure between each customer problems, especially with the online market.

The next stage is the ability to score the saleability for each of the markets. For this I use “The life-force 8” and the “The Nine learned (Secondary) Human Wants”. You can find these in the book Cashvertising or other online resources for further explanation.

The life-force 8

  1. Survival, enjoyment of life, life extension
  2. Enjoyment of food and beverages
  3. Freedom from fear, pain and danger
  4. Sexual companionship
  5. Comfortable living conditions
  6. To be superior, winning, keeping up with the joneses
  7. Care and protection of loved ones
  8. Social approval

The Nine Learned (Secondary) Human Wants

  1. To be informed
  2. Curiosity
  3. Cleanliness of body and surroundings
  4. Efficiency
  5. Convenience
  6. Dependability/quality
  7. Expression of beauty and style
  8. Economy/profit
  9. Bargains

At this point, combining the volume * saleability we can simply sort the list and find the optimal target markets to sell to.

In this process, each target market you identify at this point in time, you have an outcome of problems, benefits; probability of selling and a location to find the market source.

This will become the foundations for your marketing and advertisement campaign and sales funnel.

In future blogs, I will discuss campaigns, and will refer to customer problems, and the scoring mentioned above. In marketing and the sales, it all comes back to the customer problems, and knowing the importance of the problems just makes targeting that much easier!

I hope you found this blog useful, and would love to hear methods you have for identifying customer problems based on your value propositions.

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