The language of marketing is the language of hunting. Who are we aiming for? What segment are we trying to capture? Who are we setting our sights on? What’s our target audience?

The language itself implicitly sets up a power dynamic, and it’s easy to fall into a mindset of manipulation. In this mindset, the market exists to be taken advantage of, fleeced, used for the good of the organization.

Taken on a more healthy level, the question of market is really the question of relationship. Who are we relating to? Who are we in conversation with? Ideally, the relationship should be one of full information and consent – not manipulation.

Here are a few questions to ask if you’re working to identify your market. Use the ones that make the most sense to your situation.

  • Need – who has the greatest need for what we have to offer?
  • Demand – who is ready, willing, and able to enter this relationship with us?
  • Impact – where can we have the greatest impact? Where can we do the most good?
  • Passion – What interests us?

I’m currently working with a client on the question of market. Before facing the question, we had to do a good amount of work on clarifying the mission of the organization – you need some sense of who you are before you can come into a relationship. Even with that initial sense of mission, tackling the question of market is making them rethink who they are. Relationship can do that to a person.