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Primary and Secondary Target Markets: Definitions, Differences and Examples

As an entrepreneur, understanding your target market is essential and paramount to building a successful business or startup venture. For you to succeed, you will need to effectively identify and reach out to your primary and secondary target markets, so that you can drive growth, establish brand loyalty, and also maximize profitability in the long run.

Let’s delve and dig deeper into the world of primary and secondary audiences, exploring their definitions, differences, and providing practical insights on how to approach each target group for optimal results.

Defining Primary and Secondary Target Markets

Your primary target market is the group of individuals who are most likely to purchase your product or service. They are the customers who have the strongest need or desire for what service or product you offer. These are the individuals who align most closely with your brand – you know what is important to them and your product or service is deemed vital to them. Their satisfaction and happiness are crucial for your business to succeed. They are your low hanging fruits in the sales funnel because they already have a need that you are addressing.

Meanwhile, your secondary market is those individuals or groups who are slightly interested in your products or services but do not have a strong need versus your primary target market. They may not have the urgency for your product but can eventually and potentially contribute to your overall success when done right.

What Makes Them Different?

It can get tricky when you don’t really understand the target market segments you need to build relationships with. The distinction happens when you, as a brand, are able to understand the level of need or desire that they have for your product or service.

The great thing about determining your primary target market is that these are the individuals who have a problem or aspiration that your business is addressing. They have a need, and you have the immediate solution to their pain point. They are the most receptive group and are most likely to convert into sales. In the long run, they become your local advocates and real brand ambassadors for your brand.

On the other hand, your secondary market – while they are interested in your offerings – does not have the same urgency as your primary target market. It could be because your product or service does not answer their immediate needs. They are the group of people who will need more convincing and would need all proof points as to why your product or service is the best before they are ready to purchase from you. However, if you are able to effectively communicate with this segment, you will be able to expand your customer base and potentially increase your revenue streams in the long run.

Also read: 4 Target Audiences Every Bakery Should Pursue

Examples of Primary and Secondary Target Markets

Let’s try to put a bit more context on how different one is from the other. 

Example #1: Lawn care Business Primary and Secondary Markets

For instance, let’s say you run a lawn care and landscaping business. In this case, your primary targets are individuals and couples who live and own a house with a yard. You are addressing a specific and urgent need they have. For example, things like maintaining, weeding, trimming, mulching, and planting in their gardens and yards. As a result, your primary target are the ones who prioritize the appearance and maintenance of their own backyards and gardens. They want well-manicured and visually appealing properties, so they are the most willing to purchase your services, so long as they are able to achieve their desired results.

Now let’s look at the secondary targets. They are most likely commercial property owners, such as businesses, schools, and local government entities that also require lawn care and landscaping services, but on a larger scale.

These secondary targets may have bigger needs but may not be sold yet on investing a large amount for your services. They have larger spaces that need regular maintenance, irrigation system installation, and even landscape design. It takes a different level of communication and marketing to convince them to purchase your services.

Also read: The Main Target Markets for a Gardening Business

Example #2: Gym Business Primary and Secondary Markets

Another example would be the gym business. The primary target market for for a gym business‘s high-intensity interval training (HIIT) could be young professionals seeking to improve their physical fitness and maintain an active lifestyle. These individuals are those who are highly motivated, time conscious, and those who value the intensity and efficiency of a HIIT workout. They make the time to head to the gym religiously, too.

In this scenario, your potential secondary target market could be retirees or older adults. These people may be looking to improve their overall health and mobility. They may not have the same level of urgency, stamina, or endurance as the primary target market.

However, they could still benefit from the HIIT workouts and contribute to the gym’s revenue. You’re now getting the drift on how to differentiate your primary and secondary target markets, right? Great!

Best Approaches for Primary Target Markets

It’s never a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to talking to, engaging, and building genuine relationships with your primary target markets. A more focused, personalized approach is crucial in my opinion. Here are some key strategies to consider:

  1. Conduct thorough market research. Remember that what makes consumers support a brand is how much you make them feel something towards your products. Gain deep insights into the needs, preferences, and pain points of your primary audience. Understand their motivations and tailor your offerings to address their specific requirements. So, going back to our initial examples. If your primary target market is mostly active and has the time during weekends to do HIIT workouts, then make sure that your gym is open the whole weekend.
  2. Develop a strong brand identity. It’s one thing to establish a business and have an office. But for people to really remember you, you need to become memorable to them. This is where craving a brand that resonates with your primary target market comes in. Create a compelling brand story and ensure that every touchpoint reflects your values and meets their expectations. Remember, it’s about how you share your stories and what you make them feel for them to remember you.
  3. Communicate effectively. Use language and messaging that speaks directly to your primary audience. Clearly articulate the benefits of your product or service and how it solves their problems or fulfills their desires.
  4. Build relationships: Cultivate a sense of community and foster engagement with your primary target market. Encourage feedback, provide exceptional customer service, and establish loyalty programs to keep them coming back.

Approaching the Secondary Target Market

While your secondary target market may not have the same level of urgent, they still present you with opportunities for growth. Four things to consider:

  1. Segment your messaging. Tailor your communication to address the specific interests or needs of your secondary target market. Highlight how your product or service can enhance their lives or provide unique value. Remember it’s always about how you make them feel – not always about your product features.
  2. Expand your reach. Identify the right channels where your secondary target market is active and engage with them there. This could include social media platforms, community forums, or even industry-specific events. Learn more about target marketing strategies and how to reach the right audiences here.
  3. Offer incentives. Provide special promotions or incentives to entice them to try your product or service. This can help you overcome any hesitations they may have and encourage them to make a purchase.
  4. Monitor and pivot. Continuously monitor the response and engagement of your secondary target market. Adjust your approach based on feedback and insights gathered to be able to optimize results.

Understanding and effectively targeting both your primary and secondary audiences is crucial for any startup to succeed, most especially in the very competitive business landscape we’re in. By recognizing the differences between these two target markets and how to tailor fit your approaches, you have the potential to maximize your reach, build strong customer relationships, and drive sustainable growth. 


The true test is on pinning down the target audience segments and figuring out who your primary and secondary targets are efficiently and effectively. Remember, a well-defined target market is the foundation of a thriving business. So go ahead and identify your primary and secondary target markets to begin your journey towards business success.

Also read:

The Target Market for a Catering Business with Examples

Understanding the Types of Target Markets

What to Do When You’ve Been Targeting the Wrong Audience

Victoria Walling on InstagramVictoria Walling on Linkedin
Victoria Walling
Team Writer: Victoria is an award-winning international communications manager with over 13 years of experience in strategic campaigns, brand storytelling, and building stakeholder relationships across diverse industries and regions. She is known to challenge norms and capitalize on brand storytelling opportunities. She is an avid writer, a frustrated chef, and a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion.

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Team Writer: Victoria is an award-winning international communications manager with over 13 years of experience in strategic campaigns, brand storytelling, and building stakeholder relationships across diverse industries and regions. She is known to challenge norms and capitalize on brand storytelling opportunities. She is an avid writer, a frustrated chef, and a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion.

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