5 Simple Steps for an Effective Marketing Target Strategy

what is your marketing target strategy

It’s fair to say that in today’s landscape, a marketing target strategy is firmly at the heart of a successful marketing concept. If you don’t know who your target market is, you don’t know how to focus your marketing for the greatest possible success. There’s no point promoting your upcoming taxidermy seminar to a vegan support group.

There are a range of popular segmentation and targeting models out there for marketing. In fact it’s easy to get lost trying to work out which is the right one for you. The internet can be a confusing place, and with all that competing marketing jargon, it’s understandable that a search for an effective strategy could just lead to a few hours clicking through cat memes.

The funny thing is, at a fundamental level, many of these models share the same core techniques. So in the interest of keeping it simple, here are 5 simple steps for an effective marketing target strategy.

Step 1 – Identify your target market

How’s that for simple? It’s almost embarrassing to write it down, but you’d be amazed how many marketing campaigns are launched without the faintest idea of who they’re launched at.

The first step is identifying the who and why of your target market. Think of it like painting a picture of your ideal consumer(s). You’re offering a cloud-based B2B customer service solution? Your target market is obviously going to be a business base. You’re selling early-age children’s books? Your target market is parents. You’re selling zero-calorie but utterly delicious ice cream? Your target market is everyone. Everyone wants that. Seriously, send us some now.

Persona development can be an important part of this, creating an image of your customer base to help solidify your understanding of who they are and what they want. These are fictional characters that incorporate the needs, goals and desires of your identified market.

Step 2 – Segment your market

Your target market might be ‘parents’, but it doesn’t take a genius to realise that not all parents are the same. As crucial as it is to identify the concept of your target market as a whole, it’s equally important to then segment that market to further personalise your marketing focus.

Personalisation is no joke, 98% of marketers agree that personalisation helps advance customer relationships. There are a range of ways you can look to segment your market. Here’s a very basic overview:

Demographics – A pretty simple analysis using factors like age, gender, job, income, nationality, family size and education. Ethnicity can also play a part in this, although a recent controversy over potential ethnicity targeting by Netflix shows the pitfalls of this as a strategy.

Demographics also includes religion, which is a slightly more considered topic for some brands. If you’re starting a new Islamic Takaful insurance fund, you’re probably going to want to be able to understand and target your market based on their beliefs.

Lifestyle – Lifestyle is about what your customer segment likes to do. If you’re marketing a new high-performance trainer, it’s helpful to understand the customer segment that like to run marathons for ‘fun’. ‘Fun’ is subjective you see. You can think of this along the lines of ‘what do they like to do in their spare time’? Holidays, hobbies, entertainment, activities.

Behaviour – Behavioural targeting is nothing new, but it’s increasingly powerful in the modern era thanks to the pleasures and pains of the digital realm. Digital platforms and intelligent analysis allows brands to understand previous online behaviour, which in turn can help identify and target particular user groups who may be valuable to your brand.

Step 3 – Gather data insight

So you’ve understood how and why to segment your market, now you need to get to grips with the realities of how those segments look in practice. Being able to define the characteristics of a segment doesn’t in itself reveal the depth of opportunity they present.

Now you know what they look like, ask yourself a few more questions:

  • How large is this particular segment of my market? It doesn’t make sense to spend as much time on a segment of niche buyers as it does the group who make up 80% of your sales.
  • What’s the purchasing power of this segment? There may be half as many of them, but if they’re four-times as rich, that more than balances out.
  • How do they spend money? Do they live online or enjoy the hustle and bustle of a fancy new mall? Customer pathways inherently involve understanding the end point of their journey.
  • Do they overlap? Segments might be differentiated, but there are areas where they overlap. Luxury travellers and coffee-shop-obsessed-hipsters both want to know where the best local cakes can be found. That means marketing that can target multiple segments at once.

There are a range of ways you can go about discovering this data. Some of it is open access market research that fancy consultancy firms and market research companies have kindly done for you. Don’t be afraid to have a quick google. Likewise, you can carry out your own research, whether that’s expensive market research, or just comprehensive analysis of your own in-house data.

And don’t forget that the likes of social media platforms and search engines actually have a scarily in-depth level of data about customers these days. Check your relevant digital sources such as Facebook and Google Analytics to see how the customer segments look there.

Step 4 – Understand your position

Marketing target strategy isn’t all about what you know about your customers, it’s also about what you know about yourself (and indeed your competition). Take the opportunity to define your own brand position as it stands, understand the products and services that you offer, and the way in which they appeal to the customers you’ve identified.

It’s important to also explore how the competition is positioning their own offers. Not only does that help you get a feel for the marketplace, it reveals ways in which you can differentiate from your competition based on the kind of customer segments that you’ve identified.

Step 5 – Inform your strategy with your analysis

There’s no point going through all this excitement if you don’t use the results to inform your strategy.  Take a simple call-to-action (CTA). A study by HubSpot showed personalised CTAs convert 202% better than a general one. That’s the kind of benefit that properly targeted and personalised marketing can deliver.

If you’ve followed these simple steps you should understand who your target market is, what the individual segments look like, and where the greatest opportunity might lie. Use this information to inform your marketing efforts in a number of ways:

  • Understand customer touchpoints: Your product or service probably has a variety of benefits for your customer, but not each benefit will be judged by each customer equally. Target your particular segments based on the particular challenges you can help them overcome, or particular benefits that appeal to them most.
  • Choose the right ways to communicate: If the target market for your brand is 65+ lovers of salsa dancing, there’s no point advertising on LinkedIn. Use your understanding of target personas to inform the channels you use.
  • Choose the right time to communicate: Equally important is understanding the right time to communicate. This is particularly true in the era of social media. If your target market is young professionals, repeatedly scheduling your social media marketing for 11AM on a weekday is not wise planning.
  • Manage your tone: Slipping in some slang and chuckin’ out yo’ mad rap skillz will not appeal to C-suite professionals. Inform your brand tone based on the customer segments you’ve identified.
  • Monitor your success: Marketing target strategy is not a one-time thing, it should be an evolving process that’s informed by the results of your efforts. Track how your marketing works for each segment, and be prepared to be flexible with your understanding. That’s how you ensure continued success.

Marketing target strategy is a fundamental principle of good marketing. While the jargon might sometimes make it seem complex, these simple steps should help you on your way to success.

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