Pros And Cons: What Is Target Marketing?

How to use target marketing to save money on advertising by identifing consumer groups that are most likely to purchase specific products and services.

The point of target marketing is to identify consumer groups that are most likely to purchase specific goods and services. Research into consumer behavior shows that marketing targeted at certain demographic segments can influence that group's spending habits.

The best thing about using target marketing techniques is that sellers have a biographical sketch of their customers. This sketch allows businesses to implement the marketing strategies that will most impress their intended audience. Another benefit of target marketing is that it saves money. With a knowledge of who their target is, companies save on advertising dollars and postage costs because they're sure to receive more of a response from those who need their products.

One of the downsides of target marketing may be that a large segment of the population may be left out in the cold. Though demographics and segmentation might give an overall view of the intended target, consumer spending habits change greatly, depending on trends and economic factors.

Major demographics to consider in target marketing are:

-Gender

Only a few years ago, target marketing based on gender proved a good method for most businesses. Selling sports memorabilia or mountain climbing equipment? Target men. Antique doll sellers and craft companies went after women. But with society taking on more of a unisex lifestyle, businesses should be very careful when using gender to market goods.

Though men and women use many of the same products these days, subliminal messages can tell your target demo who your product is made to serve. If your product is pink, then you're probably marketing it to females. If the word "rugged" is a keyword in your campaign, then males are most likely your target market.

-Age

The age of potential consumers is one of the most important considerations during the target marketing process. What age group will most likely spend money for your product? Recent statistics have shown that preteens have more buying power than they did last decade; cell phone and jean ads reflect this demos growth as a target market.



Another example: Companies that sell alcoholic beverages or tobacco products are prohibited by law to sell their goods to minors; that's why you won't see these sorts of products advertised during commercial breaks for children's shows. You will, however, see ads for alcohol and tobacco during late night TV breaks and in magazines with a more adult focus.

-Income

Who can afford to purchase your goods? When developing marketing strategy, businesses should have a clear idea of what kind of money their target market makes each year. The income of your target audience relates directly to how well your product will sell.

Auto dealers who specialize in $16,000 cars will promote their inventory a lot differently than those that sell cars worth $160,000. The former will not place ads in luxury magazines; you won't find the latter's ads in budget newsletters.

-Lifestyle and Status

Is your target demo single? Married? Do they have children? These points are crucial when determining how to market your goods and services. For instance, it's probably not a good idea to place ads in singles magazines if your target market is families. Other status demos that companies consider depending upon their products are divorced people, college students, single parents and pet owners. Religion and philosophy may also play a role in marketing. You get the idea. Think about _who_ your target is and market directly to them and their needs.

-Social Class

Issues of class and race can sway a consumer's decision to buy a product--or not. Upper-class factions want to purchase goods made for people of their perceived level; lots of lower-class people want high-end goods, too--high-end goods that they can afford. Target marketers will probably have to use a bit of psychology in this area, since the ways which people perceive their status might not always be accurate.

-Geographic Location

Like accents, weather and lifestyle, the region in which a target market lives is a major factor in determining what--and how--it spends. Ever notice the difference in the ads you see in regional magazines? Or how local commercials vary from region to region? That's target marketing. The way noodles, for example, is marketed in New York (think soup) is different than in Idaho (think casserole.)

Before a business can market a product effectively, it must be aware of who their customer base is. The best way to learn about the people most likely to buy a service is to research the success and failures of products similar to theirs, review the present economic environment and reach out to the masses by performing market research analysis.

© Demand Media 2011