Article #24, July 31, 2004
How Important is Target Marketing?
If you spend any time and money on marketing, Target Marketing can improve the return on investment of those resources many times over. When marketing your product (or service), you may want to appeal to as many possible customers as you can. While this seems like a worthwhile goal, the result will likely be that you don’t make a connection with anyone. In addition, your networking work will be useless as other business owners will not have a clear picture of whom to refer to you.
What target marketing allows you to do is focus your effort on a particular segment of the market, making that emotional connection so necessary to the success of your marketing. For example, I have seen TV commercials for minivans many, many times with families and/or moms with a bunch of kids. The manufacturer is trying to appeal to mothers, who make the majority of buying decisions for this type of vehicle.
Do you think the manufacturer of the minivan would turn away anyone else who wants to purchase their vehicle? Of course not! However, if they can successfully make a connection to a major segment of the market, they can beat out their competitors and sell more minivans. If they try to advertise to the general public, however, they may not make a connection with anyone!
Selecting a segment of the market to target can be an involved and challenging process. Making the commitment to yourself that it is important and setting aside a few hours to work on it will pay off in the future, and will likely save you time and money (against revenues) in the future. I used the book “Jump Start Your Business Brain”, by Doug Hall to help me through this process. Pay attention to the clients you like best, in combination with how logical it is to target that segment. You can also get some ideas by researching what your competition does.
Once you have selected a target, it is critical in all of your marketing efforts to speak to this target, including any advertising you do as well as your company’s website and printed marketing materials. The more focus you can direct toward your target, the more successful your marketing efforts will be. Find out what turns your target market on, and use it to make that all-important emotional connection.
The next step is to find out where your target market gathers, and go there. Join their groups and advertise in their trade magazines. It’s also important to keep showing up again and again. By consistently attending meetings, you gain credibility and your prospects will begin to trust you. If you decide to advertise, you will need to run your ad for a period of time. The first few times, your ad might not even be noticed! It can be a very expensive endeavor. Again, you can research what your competition is doing, or businesses similar to yours. You might even call them up and ask them what the ROI (return on investment) has been for their ad.
Establishing a target market for your business and then focusing your marketing resources only there is a difficult process, but is work the time spent.