Commercially speaking, the term ‘target market’, is the potential group of buyers of a product, or people at which an advertising message is aimed. Synonyms of the word include: key or target audience, or target demographic. Generally speaking, the term refers to the potential customers that your business is seeking to engage with.
Identifying and knowing one’s target market is not always a simple process. However, it is a fundamental part of successfully planning a web-based marketing project. It is through defining a target market, that decisions on products, prices, communication style, brand image and potential promotional offers can be taken, all of which constitute key elements of a comprehensive web marketing strategy.
The analysis of potential customers is best done during the marketing strategy planning phase. Here, the most suitable demographic for your product or service is determined, based on past experiences, personal insights and hypotheses, and market research. Although this analysis will not be 100% accurate (meaning it will not exactly describe your target market), it will in any case be useful.
In marketing terms, target definition is fundamental in deciding which ‘audience’ you want to reach through specific campaigns. This very much influences what online channels to use. The best channel for marketing communication is then chosen based on demographic data (age group, gender, education, family structure) and behavioural segmentation (personality traits, lifestyle, personal values).
Currently, a very useful tool for companies to understand the attitudes of potential customers, is that of cookies, which are data files generated through users’ internet browsing habits. Cookies allow you to identify various groups of consumers and decide on the best advertising message for each group. In this way, companies are able to create content which is relevant, personalised and tailor-made to their customers’ needs.
To create a good marketing strategy, the first thing to do is define a target market based on different segments of your potential audience. Once the audience is segmented and your target group identified, you can implement the best strategies to tackle that market. This can range from a very broad, mass-marketing approach, to a 1-to-1 hyper-segmented approach. In all cases, what is most important is that your general marketing strategy be accompanied by a specific digital marketing strategy.
Targeting is therfore an indispensable part of digital marketing. A clear example to understand the importance of target market definition, is Facebook. On this social network, it is possible to create advertising campaigns targeted and shown only to precisely defined audiences interested in a specific product or service. In this way, advertising budgets can be optimised, and not wasted on audiences of limited interest or relevance.
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