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Back to Basics: Why Targeting Your Market Is Essential

Back to Basics: Why Targeting Your Market Is Essential
Kent Height

As marketers we sometimes get caught up in the latest social media platform, new digital campaign or exciting video production. But it’s important to always be certain that the great work we’re producing and the channels we use are appropriate for the audience we’re trying to reach. Whatever type of business you’re in, it’s critical that before you embark on your next campaign, you clearly define your target market and establish the right channels to reach that audience.

While that may sound like an incredibly obvious statement, sometimes it’s easy to lose track of who we’re trying to engage with and why. Without a clearly defined target market, you’re marketing activity amounts to nothing more than taking shots in the dark with the hope that you’ll somehow attract customers.

The Target Market Defined.

A target market is a group of people that have related characteristics and needs, and to whom marketers should direct their marketing efforts. It’s a specific, clearly defined audience, separated from the market as a whole and identifiable by demographics such as age, gender, location, economic group, social status, location, language and psychographics.

Why Pinpoint-Target Your Market?

In marketing, there is no middle ground. You either engage your audience, or you don’t. And if you get it wrong, you’ll be lucky to get a second go. If you don’t target your marketing activity perfectly, you’ll be wasting your campaign dollars and getting your message to the wrong people – or nobody – each result is equally ineffective.

As an extreme example, a lack of effective targeting might be a retirees resort offering discounted tickets to a snowboarding weekend as an incentive. While there may well be snowboarding grannies out there, they are few and far between, and quite frankly if they’re still snowboarding in their old age they’re not likely to be interested in a retirees resort.

So in defining your target market, you’ll need to be specific. The language, tone of voice, messaging and proposition must really engage your audience – too generic and it’s unlikely that anyone will take any notice of your marketing. They’re likely to simply tune your marketing out like white noise.

Benefits and Solutions

The CIM’s definition of marketing is;

“Marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably”.

In every aspect of your marketing activity you should keep this in mind. The key to effective marketing is to identify your audience’s pain or problem and offer an appropriate solution. If you know exactly who they are, you can communicate the benefits of your product or service, along with the results they can expect in a language they understand and in a way that motivates them to purchase or at least engage with your brand.

This si true whether your area is marketing, sales or client services: put the customer first – their needs, hopes, dreams and aspirations – and you can’t go wrong.

Another added benefit of highly targeted marketing is that your target market can relate to one another. By taking the time to identify them, understand their needs and engage them effectively, you can create a ‘community’ based around shared interests. This is especially important online, where your customers may spend a great deal of time communicating with one-another on social networking sites, forums, and blogs, talking about your brand – the good and the bad.

As a final note of advice, when defining your target market, avoid making assumptions. Understanding what makes your target market ‘tick’ is a science, but it’s not rocket science – look for objective data that you can use as the basis of your marketing strategy. Research your target market thoroughly and essentially, they’ll tell you what they like, what they think, and what they want from you – you only have to ask.

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