Step 5 in Market Research: Demographics - determining the profile of your target audience.
Unless you know the exact demographic profile of your target audience, it is best to start with a nationally representative sample by age and gender. Some extra questions at the start (called screening questions) will filter out unsuitable respondents. This ensures that the responses will be representative of the general population but also relevant to the subject of the research.
Determine demographics - we may be able to save you time and money if you know who your core demographic is. It probably doesn't make sense to ask a childless person about school uniforms, or a non-driver about car insurance. Our panel is profiled extensively, so we can often target the sort of consumer most likely to fit your market.
But beware of thinking you know everything about who is interested in what you sell. You may think your brand is the exclusive preserve of people with an annual household income of £60,000+, but it could be that some of your fans earn a lot less. Maybe they minimise their outgoings so they can buy your shoes. We wouldn't suggest inviting men to a survey about the contraceptive pill, but we will often suggest we kick off with a sample of the general population to challenge preconceptions about who buys what.
Once we have sent, say, 500 people through the gate, we can think about targeting those people that are showing themselves to be particularly relevant to your offering.
If you missed our previous posts on Steps 1, 2, 3 and 4, here are some helpful links: