Let’s consider a hypothetical case of two competing businesses, A and B.
A has a ₦2 million marketing budget and almost literally throws this money at its campaigns. It has sponsored promotional posts published on blogs read by people from ‘all walks of life’; it distributes tons of hand bills to random people on the streets; and it puts up paid ads on television and radio.
B has to work with ₦500,000. They decide to squeeze the best result they can from the limited funds at their disposal. They zero in on people who fit the profile of their ideal customer, and pitch hard to them. Company B spends their money on promotional posts published on the type of sites their ideal customer reads, carefully directs social media ads at them, and reaches out through radio stations and programs their target market tends to favour.
In the end, company A has a jump in sales worth ₦200,000 in the two months following the campaigns; company B records a ₦700,000 sales boost in the same period.. And it’s not a surprise why this happens.
The hypothetical scenario presented here is quite simplistic, but it mirrors reality in one significant way: targeting specific types of customers tends to yield better Return on Investment than just splashing cash on marketing strategies designed to ‘reach everyone’. It’s the sort of smart marketing that spurs business growth and builds a strong niche brand.
Why you should practice target marketing
We have already pointed out that this approach to marketing typically produces more returns per person targeted than a swoop on the wider public. Here are some other related reasons as to why you should be more intentional about who gets to see or hear your ads and marketing content.
- It’s usually less expensive than methods that are fashioned to reach everybody.
- It makes it easier to design marketing copy and adverts, because such content can be crafted to include specific kinds of tones, colours, images and themes that appeal to the particular target groups. Doing this for ‘the general public’ might be more difficult, if you’re aiming to achieve results comlarable with what you’ll get with target marketing.
- There’s a better chance of customer loyalty to your brand when you identify with people from particular socio-economic groups, age brackets or cultural leanings. If your brand is quite good, these people might come to take it as a defining feature of their group.
- It could help make your brand more easily identifiable. A brand that begins to use ads that seem hip and youthful will have one more defining characteristic that people will tend to remember.
- An intensive focus on marketing to a target audience can also confer you with a competitive advantage, especially if your competitors haven’t clearly defined their ideal customers themselves.
How to reach your target market
Here are five steps to identifying and pitching to your target audience.
- Determine who has the problems your business solves
Your business exists to create value by meeting needs. Whose needs are you meeting? And what characteristics do you find that your customers have in common?
Some problems are universal, and their solutions might well be tailored for the wider public. In this case, marketing to a broader, less definite audience might not be a bad idea. But if yours is a small business with a lean budget and sells a product that’s used by certain groups of people, you’ll be wise to identify those people and focus your efforts on drawing more of them towards your brand.
- Market segmentation
This is about splitting markets up into groups of people defined by certain specified criteria.
For example, people may be divided into groups based on their income, age, place or region of residence, etc. These classifications are informed by the idea that there are things about these groups that determine their purchasing and consumption decisions.
Groups may be defined by geography (locations, whether district, city, state or country), demography (gender, education, marital status, etc), or psychography (social class, personality, interests or values).
The importance of market segmentation becomes clear when we consider how well it works for businesses. Detergent ads tend to be aimed at mothers, and cocoa beverages are marketed as though they are the preserve of young children. These strategies have worked quite well for the companies that have deployed them.
- Identify what segment (or segments) your typical customer belongs to
Here, you’ll be matching the characteristics common with your customers to specific demographic, geographic or psychographic groups. This process should help you come up with a fairly well rounded picture of your average customer. For instance, when you’re able to tell what social groups your customers belong to, you could communicate with them using the language styles that are peculiar to those groups.
- Take a cue from competitors
Maybe your competitors already know a thing or two about your target market; after all, they’re (presumably) serving the same kind of people you’re looking to make into your loyal customers.
Examine their marketing and find out what demographics and social groups they’re wooing. This might give you a good idea who your target audience are.
- Direct marketing efforts at the defined group
We hinted at what this entails at the beginning of this article.
People who belong to the same social, economic or interest groups tend to hang out on similar on same sites, whether on the web or in the real world. Your best bet for successful targeted marketing would be to meet them at those points.
So, if you have a women’s fashion shop, you’d want to publicize your business on websites that are popular with women, or use Instagram, which is also known to be favoured by customers in this demographic.
There are other ways to achieve targeted marketing, such as setting your social media adverts to reach people in particular age groups, who have interests and preferences that fit with what you would expect of your typical customer.