Apple, iPads, and When to Switch Your Target Market

Apple’s switch from marketing the iPad to the individual consumer to marketing it to businesses as a tool for the office is a prime example of a smart shift in targeting. | Image Attrib.: Flickr user Vintuitive
Apple’s switch from marketing the iPad to the individual consumer to marketing it to businesses as a tool for the office is a prime example of a smart shift in targeting. | Image Attrib.: Flickr user Vintuitive

Every move that Apple makes gets headlines, but a recent change in their marketing campaign for the iPad is particularly intriguing. iPad sales have been sinking as competitors edge into the market, and while the iPad certainly isn’t disappearing, Apple decided to take action. By completely shifting its target market, it’s pumping new life into a familiar product.

Apple has a long history of marketing to the individual consumer, but a new marketing initiative for iPad has shifted its focus to businesses. The company is working with forty different app developers to create more business-oriented apps, as well as coming out with new business-facing models like the iPad Pro. [1. Jordan Golson, “Apple pushing iPad in business as sales fall,” Tech Republic, August 13, 2015,]

Tackling a New Target Market

Consider the retail market, which is subject to many pressures and usually sees shifting demographics as years pass. Current demographics are shifting away from baby boomers and toward younger consumers, prompting new marketing and tech adoption. The last thing you want is to be left behind by your shopper.

Apple’s move to the business sector—which is projected to soon represent around 20% of the tablet market—was smart for a few reasons.[2.  “Apple might have a hard time selling its new iPad Pro to Businesses,” September 16, 2015,] First, Apple took this as an opportunity to revisit the design and intent of the iPad, and return to brand quality and drawing board basics, allowing the company to recenter its marketing initiatives. Apple also took this chance to develop new apps, features, and designs (see the iPad Pro) that better meet client needs. And don’t forget the opportunities to contract with new companies. Apple signed long-term contracts with companies like General Electric, which bought more than 300,000 iPads for its employees.

Here’s another way to look at it: Entrepreneur advises that you think of your niche as the most important 20% of your entire available market.[3. Gene Hammet, “Why Your Target Market Is Not, That’s Right, Not Important,” Entrepreneur, June 10, 2015,] What is the most important 20% of your market audience today? It may not look the same way it did several years ago—and that’s a good thing.

New Target Markets: How Do You Get There?

If switching target markets was easy, everyone would do it. The key is to find the easiest way to appeal to a new group for your company. Here are some tips on how to find the right target market for your business:

Ask the right brainstorming questions. Apple is collaborating with business companies to develop new services. Is collaboration or joint ventures a possibility for your company? Other important questions to help get you there include: Is my current target or niche market growing or degrading? Can this new demographic afford my prices? Who are my competitors selling to? Is this new market strong enough to last, or is it just a fad? Is the desire for my product/service evident?

Use the Rule of Threes. If you still have trouble finding your target market, try narrowing down your options using the “Rule of Threes” from executive education firm Wired to Grow, which suggests that zooming into your market three times is a healthy brainstorming exercise. To do this, simply pick a broad target market and then narrow it down to a smaller audience twice. For example, you could pick the demographic “young families,” then narrow the niche again with “young families that love technology,” and then a third time with “young families that love technology who have pets.” It’s often handy to narrow a focus when you aren’t sure where to begin.

Start with small changes. Sometimes you don’t need to change product features so much as your approach. With greener packaging and a sales emphasis on sustainability, you could target eco-conscious consumers with relatively few product changes. If you are floundering, try turning to Gen X  for an audience. Gen Xers are getting a lot of attention these days for their willingness to try out new things and buy digitally.

Sales Savvy

Let’s end with an example to illustrate how a company might endeavor switching their target market. Take the hypothetical landscape company LawnPower, which has put together a slapdash but ambitious sales team. While LawnPower began with a focus on high-end homeowners in the rich neighborhoods, where competition was fierce, the sales team realized it could bring in more revenue by targeting B2B contracts with landlords and apartment management companies. Here is an outline of the action steps the sales team came up with to win over the new target market:


  1. Create buyer personas. The old buyer was a high-end homeowner making decisions based on quality and gut feelings. But the new buyer for LawnPower is different—often a hassled landlord or busy apartment manager making decisions based on costs, availability, and contract details. The sales team created a new persona for the latter type of buyer, which allows them to discuss how the buyer differs, and what new methods need to be used to reach those kinds of buyers.  
  2. Find new ways to communicate. While the old customer primarily used company websites, mobile apps, and social media for communication, the sales team realized that LawnPower’s new target market would be more easily reached through B2B portals, company listings, strong online profiles, email, and local business meetings. They refocused on these new communication methods.  
  3. Create new financing and deal options. The sales team also decided to retool LawnPower’s deals, focusing on financing related to rental or leasing contracts and discounts that increase based on the number of properties. They also emphasized swift, easy paperwork and contract guarantees.  
  4. Learn the right lingo. Certain buzz words resonate more with some demographics than others. For example, maybe the phrase “bonded and insured” is far more important to clients than “swift and professional.” Knowing how to talk to your ideal buyer persona is key to switching target markets. A system like YESCALATE® can train sales teams like LawnPower’s how to best relate to customers, helping them to meet new clients, navigate contracts, and close deals.


Selling to an unfamiliar target group may be challenging at first, but YESCALATE® can show you how to make a great first impression, meet clients, and convince people that they need your product, even if they’ve never considered it before. Don’t let an unfamiliar market get in the way of stellar sales—GET TO YES FASTER® with YESCALATE®.