How to Target and Market to Different
Target marketing is both simple and complex as well as learned and inherently understood. The purpose of target marketing is to strategically and directly speak to certain segments of your customer base. Although the idea is more complicated than it seems at the onset, target marketing is an incredibly effective strategy for your marketing campaigns once you understand the process and method of implementing target marketing.
Understand Your Business
Before you can analyze, dissect, segment, or understand your customer, you have to understand your product or service — the very fundamental framework of your business. This does not mean the shape, size, or volts of your product, nor the specific service you offer. The basic framework of your business is answering one question: why does someone need or want your service or product? Once you begin to recognize what your product or service provides, you can begin to analyze your customer.
Understand Your Customer
Companies spend billions of dollars each year on market research and marketing. Why? Because understanding the psyche of your customer is the first, and most important, step towards making a sale. You cannot market a product if you do not know who you are selling to. The most basic form of customer recognition is demographics. Are your customers old or young? Are they male, female, or an even mix of both? Are they married or single? Demographics offer a very general outline of your customer base, and this information is the first step to segmenting your customer base.
Segment Your Audience
People are individuals, not automatons, so you can't overgeneralize in terms of segmenting your customer base. Not all baby boomers are computer illiterate, and not all women are stay-at-home moms. Over the years, companies have made the mistake of over-generalizing and have suffered the consequences. Overgeneralization is a lazy approach to targeting audiences, and it can backfire — big time.
For marketing purposes, however, you do need to segment your audience with a broad stroke initially to address specific needs and wants. This will allow you to create detailed customer profiles of your targeted audiences. To market to a specific audience, you must envision all aspects of their life and dig deeper than what lies in demographic information [http://smallbusiness.chron.com/demographics-marketing-22008.html].
Create the Ideal Customer
Although it may seem a bit infantile, the next step in implementing a successful marketing campaign is to pinpoint, out of the customer segment, the ideal customer for your business. If you took the time to understand your product or service before, you'll know which type of business you have. Is it a product or service that's very specialized to a small segment of the population? Or is it a general product that solves a universal need, like a mop? However, you identify your business, now you have the opportunity to create your ideal customer.
For instance, you sell classic, aftermarket Ford Mustang parts. For marketing purposes, is this somewhat specialized? Yes, but you still have segmented audiences. Someone restoring a Mustang could be a married, retired Caucasian male with a disposable income. Or, your customer could be a blue-colored single male rebuilding a Mustang out of necessity. If you, first, brainstorm and write a very detailed description of your absolute ideal customer, you can begin to consider their needs. In addition, you can make variations of your ideal customer to identify different needs.
Identify the Profile
If you've created the ideal customer, you can begin to identify their needs. What does a married, retired male and single, blue-colored male have in common? Obviously, there's a love for cars, but what else? If they are restoring a Mustang, they must appreciate classic construction, be somewhat nostalgic — which is still applicable to the younger male — good with their hands, active, and have a solid knowledge of mechanics. You've now identified your target audience. Even though they are demographically dissimilar, there is enough commonality to create a pretty targeted campaign.
Once you've identified key segments of your audience, now you must propose value for the intended audience. But, what is valued by the specific audience? Keeping up with the Joneses? Making money? Saving money? Family? Having fun? For this, you'll have to make general inferences according to your audience segmentation and identity profiles. Remember, these customer segments and their values aren't always mutually exclusive. In other words, a customer can value both family and fun.
In the end, your proposed value to the customer should include the assumed needs and wants of your intended audience. What problem does your product or service fix? And why is it specifically useful to your intended audience?
Speak the Language
Now that you've segmented your audience and identified detailed customer profiles, it's time to form campaigns that connect with your intended audience. Although over generalization, again is not good, using language, concepts, and references that appeal to a specific audience is the basic notion of target marketing. For instance, if you are striving to appeal to the iGeneration — an audience that is incredibly knowledgeable of digital media — then references to popular trends is warranted. However, referencing Betamax, even as a joke, to appeal to this generation will most- likely fall on deaf years.
In addition to references and language, the tone of content, color schemes, and designs will be dependent on the target audience. For example, you provide a service installing walk-in bathtubs, and your largest customer demographic is the elderly. A soft tone in content, soothing colors, and simple designs would be more effective than flashy design elements and technical jargon. Although target marketing is researched and analyzed continuously, some aspects of target marketing include common sense.
Now that you've mapped out a plan for your target marketing approach, you can begin to consider what customer segments you may have overlooked. Remember, over generalization is a lazy practice. The walk-in bathtub example used earlier recognized the elderly as the key audience. What about an active, young paraplegic? A veteran? These may be overlooked customers that you are not targeting. Although the idea of target marketing is to analyze, segment, and speak directly to your customer, the idea of business is always to expand to new customers.