Having a target market is essential in marketing; not only does it inform your marketing strategy significantly, but it also maximizes your marketing efforts. Of course, you can truly only maximize your marketing efforts if you are marketing to the right people—those who would see your ad and consider investing in your product or service. Many companies are able to define their target market by location, gender, age, social media habits, hobbies, etc., but even after a target market is established, there is a great deal to consider in how you approach your marketing. Here are some brief tips for marketing to your target market as effectively as possible.
Be careful not to generalize.
When marketing toward your target market, be careful not to generalize. Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen puts it well when he discusses the marketer’s tendency to divide the customer base into target demographics, and how this tendency causes marketers to miss the mark about their target market. He states, “The fact that you’re 18 to 35 years old with a college degree does not cause you to buy a product. It may be correlated with the decision, but it doesn’t cause it.” Instead, Christensen says, we should focus on a “jobs-to-be-done” approach, as consumers typically purchase something when they realize they have a job that needs to be done. What does this mean for your marketing? It means that when defining your target market, you need to pinpoint those needs that are going to drive someone to invest in your product or service. And then you need to market to those people who are most likely to have those needs arise (such as those who follow certain social media pages or who have previously purchased some other, related product or service.)
Study more than demographics.
On this note, it’s important to study more than social demographics in your marketing research. Yes, knowing social media, TV viewing, and magazine reading habits of your target market will prove invaluable, but you should also seek to understand the psychographic profile of your target market. What lifestyles do they lead? What are their opinions on current events? What things do they value? These things are not quite as quantifiable as demographics, but they’ll go a long way in ensuring that your marketing truly resonates with your target market.
Redefine your target market if needed.
It’s surprising how many companies have not quite fine-tuned who their target market is. When considering your own target market, ask yourself these questions:
- Is the target market too general? Sure, it would be great for everyone to be a potential consumer, but this simply isn’t the case. Only those who have the interest and means are going to invest in your product or service. If you’re a company that sells nutrition bars for dogs, for example, and you’ve been marketing to all pet owners, then you’re forgetting about that more specific group that is more likely to purchase your product—active pet owners who take their dogs with them on their adventures. Sometimes you simply need to get more specific with your target audience to see success.
- Is the target market too specific? Sometimes companies get too specific. Maybe you have a product that you’re marketing to children, for example; if you aren’t including parents in your target market as well, then you’re forgetting to also market to the group that ultimately has the purchasing power.
- Am I choosing the right target market? Sometimes companies simply choose to focus in on the wrong portion of the population. Ask yourself if your target market as it stands has the means and interest to invest in your product.