With so many different marketing methods being used in business these days, it can be overwhelming to decide which is right for you.  One should consider the use of target marketing, which is dividing your market into specific groups and concentrating on just one or a few important components.  For example, a pet grooming business specializing in grooming show dogs could implement a direct mail campaign (snail or electronic) that reaches only particular dog owners rather than advertising in a newspaper that would reach a much larger market.  The first step is to define your target market; then you can develop strategies to advertise your business directly to them.

Defining your target market, or “niche”

  • Decide why a person would make a purchase from you.  People usually buy something for at least one of three reasons: to solve a problem, to meet a basic need, or to make themselves feel good.  Sorting your target market into one of these categories will help you narrow your focus to a smaller group.
  • Consider the demographics of those who could use your product or service.  This information includes age, gender, income, education, marital and family status, and ethnic and/or religious background.  You’ll be able to invest your marketing dollars more wisely if the information you gather about your target customer is specific.
  • Consider the psychographics including lifestyle, social class, activities, and attitudes/beliefs.  This additional information should allow you to form a picture of what the ideal prospect would be like.  From there, you can figure out where they would be exposed to different types of advertising.
  • When creating a target market, or micro-niche, you should make sure that it is small enough that you can be a competitive force, but not so small that there isn’t enough money to be made.  For example, Amazon has pretty much cornered the market on the online sale of books, DVDs, and digital media, so trying to compete with them would be futile.  Similarly, construction of birdcage perches exclusively out of recycled material is too specific and would appeal to such a small number of people.

Examples of target marketing

  • A direct seller for a higher-end jewelry company knows that her customers are mostly women in their 30s-40s who like a well-polished look that includes a versatile wardrobe, a contemporary hairstyle, and manicured nails.  Advertising to this target market can be done via fashion blogs, hair and nail salons, and local clothing boutiques.
  • A small business that offers in-home photography sessions knows that its target market is parents of newborns wanting professional pictures without the hassle of going to a studio.  This demographic can be reached via parenting magazines and websites.
  • A pastry shop that specializes in custom-made freshly-baked desserts knows that its target market is mostly made up of local business owners and private party planners.  Reaching this group can be done via vendor fairs and event hosting expos.

The key to target marketing is deciding who that small group is and then finding the best approach to reaching them.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your current and past clients to get to the information you need. You will save money budgeted for marketing as well as being able to build your business based on those who have the greatest interest in your product or service.  How have you defined and reached your target market?  Share your ideas in the comments section below!