Most businesses tend to believe they have a fairly good idea of their market. After all, it’s natural to conceive a product, service or business idea with an underlying concept of who might be interested in it. It’s just part of the process.
But how do you know whether your hunch is correct — and, if it is, attract people from that market? This is where market mapping comes in.
What is market mapping?
Also known as market scoping, market mapping is the process of identifying your key market, prioritising it and understanding those people’s buying and lifestyle patterns in a wider context.
Exploring the wider context of a specific audience allows you to determine where your business and your product fits. Nothing happens in isolation: those potential customers will simultaneously be dealing with other businesses — including your competitors — all the time.
All of this is to assess the size of the market or opportunity available for your business, putting numbers to the amount of potential customers and, of those, how many you could realistically appeal to. It’s about comparing multiple demographics or regions to assess where the most fertile ground is, giving you an audience to which you can prioritise your resources and make strategic decisions.
As well as scrutinising the customers of a market, a crucial part is in examining your competitors within it.
Competitor mapping sets out where your market competitors’ products or services fit, based on a wide range of factors. These might go from typical metrics such as cost, convenience and service level, right down to very niche characteristics of the specific products.
In setting out where each of these competitors sits, it’s then possible to identify gaps in that market, where potential customers are under-serviced or poorly targeted. These present a prime opportunity for you to concentrate your efforts.
Advantages of market mapping
The purpose of market mapping is to understand the individuals in your key market and what makes them tick — understanding the links between people’s interests, habits, how they get their news or information, the things they buy and how often. This is so that you know not only specifically who to target, but how and when.
Many of the businesses we work with have either not realised the importance of identifying and mapping a specific sub-sector or are unsure how to do it. They may underestimate the level of understanding they will need to enter a new market too. However, with market mapping, they are able to prioritise the right space for them — the one that presents the greatest opportunity and the fastest return.
More than that, though, some organisations haven’t truly identified their existing audience. This is where the ambitions of a brand gets confused with the people who actually interact with it. The discrepancy between the two is often a surprise, and shows how businesses might have missed the target with their marketing, leaving a large audience ready for more interaction largely untapped.
Market mapping cuts through businesses’ ideas of how they might be perceived and gives them a real answer, backed up by data from thorough research.
To learn more about market mapping and how it works, why not get in touch? We’ll be happy to discuss with you how it can benefit your business.