To get the most out of your marketing, target your efforts at defined market segments. Online surveys help to identify how to meet your consumer’s needs.
To get the most out of your marketing, target your efforts at defined market segments. Online surveys help to identify how to meet your consumer’s needs.
“One for all - all for one.”
Alexandre Dumas’s famous motto from The Three Musketeers provides works as a simple synopsis of how the mindset behind marketing has evolved from past practices into the current year. The latter portion of the quote, “all for one”, was very much the mindset of advertisers during the early days of marketing. Print advertisements - often featured in newspapers & magazines, or plastered on signs, were often uniform in both design and the audience they targeted. You can imagine how it was not only harder to justify the cost of running multiple different sets of advertisements at one time could be; information about consumer tastes and buying practices were not readily available at the turn of the 20th century. Businesses also operated at a much more local level, where audiences were more homogeneous, and had fewer meaningful distinctions in their products (color choices, additional features) to offer their customers.
The mindset behind modern marketing is just as easily encapsulated by the prior half of the Musketeers creed - one for all. Global firms market on a trans-international level, and that level of scale dictates that important attention must be paid to audience selection - not only as a cost saving measure, but to more effectively meet the needs of their consumers.
The global market is an extremely competitive space and with more businesses competing against one another than ever before, people are left with an ever-expanding selection of alternatives.
In this article we will go over everything you need to know about the importance of targeted marketing, how to identify your customers through market segmentation, and how to turn the knowledge you gain about your customers into an action plan.
In practice, target marketing involves breaking a market into multiple distinct segments; from there, business owners can focus their efforts on the key groups of customers they are trying to reach. Doing so allows business owners to save money, attract new business, and create lasting relationships with their consumers.
Through obtaining a clearer understanding of what our customers look like, we can work to meet their needs more effectively. With a firm grasp on what their wants and desires are, we can address them more confidently in our marketing efforts; advertisements that try to appeal to certain market segments without properly assessing their tastes are often viewed as out-of-touch and ineffective.
Creating and maintaining strong brand resonance with your custom is integral to the long-term success of your business. If we can show our customers that we are an organization that listens and is ready to meet their needs, they will value our brand over our competitors. If we can survey our target market ahead of time, recognize developing trends, and meet their wants before they even know they want them, our customers will remain forever loyal to our business. In order to attract customers in the 21st century, you must ensure your marketing efforts are made with direction, focus, and consideration paid to the makeup of your audience.
Segmenting our markets into distinct groups provides benefits for both the marketer and the customer.
With seven billion people out there, marketing to every single one of them is out of the question. We as business owners have a limited amount of time and resources at our disposal - and it is vital that we use these resources where they matter most.
Of course, target marketing has its drawbacks as well. The very nature of target marketing entails that we will be excluding some people from your messaging; if we falsely identify who your target market is, our marketing efforts run the risk of failure. Depending on the types of product or service our company offers, target marketing may also prove to be difficult; the more distinct our consumer segments are, the more our market development costs will increase.
With more and more marketers adopting target marketing strategies every year, it is clear that the benefits far outweigh the cons. As marketing technologies continue to advance, markets continue to grow, and the amount of people inside of those markets continue to evolve their wants and desires, the rate at which businesses use target marketing to reach their key audiences will only continue to rise.
There are four main types of market segmentation that we can use to differentiate our customers. The customer profiles we build - that is, the “picture” of the customer we use as a basis for our marketing efforts - are built by compiling elements of these different segments.
Demographic segmentation involves grouping consumers together based on shared physical traits, belief systems, and other statistics that can be measured or quantified.
These qualities are some of the most sought-after and commonly utilized segments by marketers. Content creators working in the entertainment industry utilize age & gender demographics when refining their products and services. Marketers will often adapt their advertisements into other languages in areas with highly diverse populations. Businesses often try to match their sales and marketing channels (like TV stations or websites) to those that will best reach the largest amount of potential relevant audience members.
Geographic segmentation relates to segmenting consumers into groups based on a shared location. Depending on the scale at which a company does it’s business, their marketers may choose geographic segments ranging from a narrow scope to those that are very broad. Marketers may choose to only target customers in the specific cities in which they operate. Other businesses may find it pertinent to market to neighboring counties, or even a particular region of the country. Many businesses operate in a number of different states, and so will treat each state as its own segment when creating their ideal strategy.
Behavioral segmentation involves segmenting customers based on common spending habits, brand affinities, and product or service preferences.
Purchasing behavior describes things like how customers approach the purchasing decision, what sorts of barriers they encounter, and how these behaviors can be predictive of purchase-making.
Product usage looks at how customers use a product, and categorizes them based on how often they use it. Delineations like heavy user, medium user, and light user can help marketers determine what product features or consumer needs to emphasize.
Purchase occasion takes note of when and how often people purchase specific products and services. Some goods (holiday cards, themed decorations) are only purchased on specific occasions; other products are only purchased once every several years, like a mattress or a car.
Benefits sought segmentation group people together who have similar perceptions about product or service value and benefits. Patrons can have very different ways of viewing a product and the benefits it provides them; Customer A might purchase baking soda to use for cooking, while Customer B needs it for their child’s science fair project. Since the product users’ needs vary dramatically, we must tailor our marketing accordingly.
The buyer journey stage is a concept that allows marketers to determine how far along a consumer is in the purchasing process. This style of segmentation asks marketers to consider questions like: have they only just heard of our products and services, or have they conducted extensive research about us? Are they just window-shopping, or are they ready to buy?
User status refers to the level of familiarity consumers have with our brand. When interacting with our audiences, identifying if they are a non-user, buyer prospect, first-time buyer, or regular user allows us to communicate with them far more effectively.
Psychographic segmentation involves dividing up your target markets into groups based on shared socioeconomic class or lifestyles. Wealthy, middle class, working class, underemployed - all of these income-groups can be targeted along the lines of their shared tastes and beliefs. Alongside income level, marketers can also leverage lifestyle interests like health & fitness, environmental care, and self-actualization. Focusing on highlighting these distinct and meaningful segments allows marketers to create content that is far more engaging and relevant than it would be otherwise.
Now that we have a clear idea of what market segmentation is and why marketers use it, we can begin to adapt these practices into our own business.
The first step in this process involves creating a customer profile or “buyer persona”. A customer profile is a fictitious consumer stand-in that companies develop in order to visualize their ideal customer. When we as marketers have a clear idea of the characteristics & habits that make up our target audience, we can better identify the needs we have to address with our sales and marketing.
Once we have this information, we can then work to organize our users into clearer market segments & develop our strategies; before we can do that, we need to find some way to gather this segmentation data from our consumers.
Using one or more of these information-search tools in combination allows us to gather all of the relevant data we need to capture our target audience. The more information we’re able to funnel into our customer profiles, the better we are able to develop clear and distinct segments.
Another important feature of target marketing is that it allows us to gauge the size and profitability of our markets. The “80-20 rule” of business lets us assume that 20% of our customers are responsible for 80% of our profits; if we can accurately identify and segment our most loyal and frequent consumers, we can focus our marketing efforts on targeting them. The ability to identify and focus our efforts on the largest and most profitable market segments is one of the premier benefits of adapting a target marketing strategy.
With a crystal clear idea of what our audience is, what they need, and how they purchase our products and services - we can now develop our winning marketing strategy.
Okay, so we’ve identified your audience and are aware of their needs - now what do we do? We’ve got the research, but we want to turn it into something real - something that will allow us to better meet the needs of our consumers. There are several ways we can approach using these consumer profiles we’ve designed in our marketing strategies.
Undifferentiated marketing involves treating individual marketing segments as one whole. Very much the opposite of a targeted marketing strategy, this style of marketing is used by two segments of businesses: those who find themselves unchallenged in their market (rare), and those who have little to no idea of what they’re doing.
Mass-marketing as a business strategy has gone the way of the dinosaur in all but the most extraneous of circumstances; while it can save businesses money on marketing costs and production, it is ultimately a handicap.
Differentiated marketing occurs when businesses identify several distinct potential target market segments. By utilizing a mixture of different marketing approaches and a variety of channels, marketers can address the needs of multiple unique consumer groups all at once. To do this, companies might choose to develop unique brand identities in order to better serve their respective consumer segments. Developing distinct brand offerings that cater to a wide variety of tastes might also allow marketers to capture a larger piece of the market than they would with one standardized product.
Focused targeting involves identifying several distinct segments and choosing not to cater to all of them. Businesses may find it pertinent to focus on only the segments they find most profitable, or segments that have the highest potential for market growth. Clothing retailers often differentiate their business by only targeting one segment of consumers with any particular brand. An example of focused targeting would be Victoria’s Secret and their PINK brand - which caters exclusively to female youth and young adult women.
Customized marketing is utilized in markets where the requirements of the individual consumer are paramount. For industries like construction, marketing research, and design, business is conducted on an individual per-client basis. Mass-marketing may be used to generate awareness for the business, but is otherwise ineffective. In these types of relationships, marketers must work closely with their clients in order to develop the appropriate marketing mix. Each individual sale takes more effort, but is likely to generate high enough returns to justify the added focus.
With the advent of new internet marketing technologies, target marketing has never been as prolific as it is today.
Online retailers utilize this style of marketing when choosing which websites they want to host their advertisements. For example, manufacturers of expensive goods like BMW and Rolex might look to websites like Forbes. If we were to take an intimate look at the user profiles companies like BMW use, we would likely find overlapping segments for consumer qualities like age, lifestyle, and product benefits sought. Consumers of Forbes enjoy luxury goods and have a higher income on average, meaning there is likely to be an overlap between their consumers and the consumers that purchase BMW and Rolex products.
Social media companies are adept at defining their users and breaking them up into distinct segments. Groups of consumers are formed on the basis of shared interests like politics, sports, religion, music, and their geographic location. Platforms like Instagram and LinkedIn allow businesses to pay for access to their market segments. The data these organizations sell is extremely valuable to marketers.
In the world of mobile gaming, the concept of a “whale” pertains to customers who make up the vast majority of a game’s revenue stream. With the rise of free-to-play, pay-to-win mobile games and digital micro-transactions, the world of digital gaming has exploded into a multi-billion dollar industry. Although millions of people may spend little to none of their money on the games they play, the 1% or .1% of players who spend exorbitant amounts of cash on their gaming habits allow these businesses to turn a hefty profit. Marketers often seek to identify and motivate these whales to spend more by offering them targeted discounts on in-game currency, special product offers, or VIP treatment like exclusive access to new content and improved customer support.
Helpfull is the premiere marketing tool for business owners looking to identify key commonalities in their target audiences. Helpfull allows its users to create and disseminate surveys for any occasion; surveys that can then be sent out to groups of real consumer panelists.
Customer profiles lacking? In need of some cold hard data?
With a variety of pre-segmented audience selections to choose from, Helpfull surveys are the ideal tool for getting quality consumer data; data that can be turned into concrete business action.
An intuitive user-interface, coupled with the ability to gather hundreds of consumer responses in just minutes, are just a few of the features that make Helpfull the ultimate tool for any artist, designer, marketer, or inquisitive spirit.
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