Target Marketing – Everything You Need To Know And More
March 25, 2017
Target marketing is about attracting customers who will buy what you’re selling.
In order to target market effectively, you’ll need to know exactly who purchases your products and exactly how to reach them. And acquiring that kind of knowledge requires some research and planning on your end.
The evolution of target marketing
Target marketing is the most current method of marketing to consumers based on research into their interests, hobbies, and needs, and it didn’t spring from nothing. Before we got here, advertisers and marketers were using cohort marketing, and before that they were using generational marketing. Target marketing is essentially a refinement of these ideas.
In older days, marketing was easy. If you were a small business, you knew all of your customers by name. And if your company was big enough, it had only a few marketing options: place an ad in the local newspaper, or in one of a handful of national magazines, or on one of three broadcast TV networks. From a marketing perspective, people were dependable.
By the early 1980s everything had changed. Advertisers came up with what they called “generational marketing”-instead of defining everybody by gender and stage of life, they began to consider things like demographics and socio-economic factors when targeting customers.
Marketers soon realized that even generational marketing wasn’t going to be enough to keep up with the seismic shifts in American culture and attitudes. Despite coming of age at the same time, lots of people were behaving quite differently.
With advances in technology like credit cards and store loyalty programs came a solution: cohort marketing. Suddenly it was possible to market to people based on their past purchases and buying patterns, because we could track those purchases and buying patterns. And as it turns out, this is a highly effective method of grouping consumers for targeted advertising.
Identifying your target market
One of your first steps in starting or growing a business is identifying your market. Once you’ve identified your market, you can begin targeting the people who will pay for your product that you are selling.
Your target market can be broken down into four “who, where, why and how” components:
The “who”: Demographics
Who needs your product or service? Include basic demographic details such as age, gender, family size, educational level, and occupation here.
The “where”: Geographics
Where are your customers? These are the places your customers can be found (i.e., their zip code), and be sure to learn details like the size of the area, its population density, and its climate.
The “why”: Psychographics
Why do your customers make the choices they make? This is personality and lifestyle information that will help you figure out your customers’ buying patterns.
The “how”: Behaviors
How do your customers behave? All customers are buying products to fulfill a need, but how do they regard that need? How do they regard your product? How much information do they have on this need or how your product fulfills it, and what are their information sources?
Researching your target market
New technologies can make nailing down your demographics and psychographics much easier (and cheaper) than in the past.
If you run social media profiles for your business, most social sites provide a free demographic breakdown of your followers in the admin area. If you have your customers’ email addresses, services like Rapleaf can pull detailed demographic information for you.
And speaking of social media, don’t forget online marketing sites. You can visit 40billion.com which is a fastest-growing network of entrepreneurs and crowdfunders. They specialize in promotion of small businesses by broadcasting and promoting to its large network of several million users across the most popular social networking sites for small businesses – including Twitter, LinkedIn, 40Billion, and even Facebook. Innovative services like tweet ads and promoted company listings were created for small entrepreneurs to tap into a growing, active network online without spending thousands on pay-per-click ads or traditional advertising. They also offer crowdfunding promotion and promote crowdfunders and their campaigns/projects.
Data from your payment processor or inventory history could also be helpful. What are your customers buying, and when? How much is the average purchase in your store? What time of day is busiest? When do purchases spike, and when do they fall, and can you develop any hypotheses to explain the fluctuations?
You can also use email, phone, or in-person customer surveys. You don’t necessarily need large numbers of participants to learn more about your customer base-you might be surprised how much you’ll take away from just 5-10 good conversations. If you’re worried about being able to recruit survey participants, offer a free gift or store credit.
At the bare minimum, these are the things you should know about your target customers: (1) Gender (2) Age group (3) Interest/Hobbies (4) Geographic Location (5) Profession (6) Income Level and (7) Residence: Own or Rent.
Beating your competition
Today, finding out what your competitors are (and aren’t) doing can be as easy as running a Yelp search. Studying your competitors’ customer feedback can help you identify their weaknesses that you can exploit for your own gain.
Built customer loyalty
If you’re doing things correctly, you’re asking your current customers what they like about doing business with you.
The great thing about getting to know your customers is that not only will you be able to track down new customers just like them, but your tried-and-true customers will become more loyal-and spend more money!
Getting to know your customers, and giving them what they want, is a surefire way to build a loyal customer base-the kind that gives your business 5-star reviews online, and that tells all their friends about how much they love you.