Finding Our Target Market and Communicating With Them

Arrow_Hitting_TargetAs Communicators, We “Talk” to Our Target Market. No matter what type of business we’re in, as Small Office Communicators, working in large offices or small, the people we need to talk to every day are our “Target Market” – the folks who want and need our products, and all of our marketing efforts must connect directly with them. If we haven’t clearly defined our target market, we’re shouting with our eyes closed, hoping that we’ll find the folks who actually will buy. However, without knowing who our Target Market actually is, we don’t know if anyone is actually listening.

OK… Let’s Define a Target Market?

Our target market is a group of people, from a very few to very many, that have similar characteristics and needs, and to whom we direct our marketing and product efforts. This is a very specific audience – the ones who will buy OUR products and services. First, target markets are defined by broad demographic measures: age, gender, family situation, economic group, location – from county to country, social status, language, etc. A few examples of businesses with target markets would be:

  • A shopping network that targets working moms over 30
  • A resort that targets retirees
  • A store whose target market is young families
  • A clothing store that targets teens who see themselves as ‘alternative’
  • A winter sporting goods supply store that targets people in cold, northern areas
  • A blog that targets well-to-do expatriates

You can see here that not all the information is demographic (who people are). For example, the teens who see themselves as ‘alternative.’ So another factor in target marketing includes psychographic data (how people see themselves and the world around them). This is just as important as demographic information.

You can see how defining our target audience makes sure we are heard when we talk. Where does your business fit in?

Why We Direct Our Marketing Efforts Directly at Our Target

Arrow_Missing_TargetIn marketing, we either hit or miss – close doesn’t count. If we don’t talk to our market, we’re wasting every dime we spend because the folks who might buy are not hearing our message. Look at the example above, how well would a message for our retirees’ resort work loaded with active teens snowboarding and loud rock ‘n roll?

Since we can’t make everyone happy, we must make our target market very specific. If we talk too broadly, we’ll be talking to folks who have no need or interest in our products or services. They’ll just tune us out like other noise they want to avoid.

How to Win at Target Marketing and What’s the Prize?

The key to successful marketing in any business is to identify who are the right people to talk to, and also identify what is bothering them – and how OUR solution will relieve their pain. If we know exactly who they are, we can communicate our product’s features, advantages, and, most important, the benefits, in language to which they’re most likely to respond… Tell our retirees that, at our resort, they won’t have to fight the crowds… Tell our alternative teens that they won’t find the square older folks clothes here.

Here’s a fun benefit to talking with JUST our target market – they’ll relate to each other. As we identify and talk just to them, we create a community or ‘tribe’ centered on their common interests and needs. As we create our online campaign with blogs and social media, this community will actually help us, “spread the word.”

One trap to avoid is making assumptions. Thinking we know your market is NOT a substitute for objective data. As we research our target market, we’ll know what they like, what they think, and what they want from us.

This post is the first of a continuing series on, “Target Marketing.”

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