Targeting in marketing refers to the process of aiming promotions and marketing messages towards specific individuals or groups of potential customers, in order to increase their likelihood of making a purchase. The targeting strategy used by a business is an important part of their overall marketing mix, as it helps them to ensure that the right message is seen by the right people.
The most basic targeting strategies start with defining the target customer – who is the business trying to reach out to? It's important to drill down and be really specific – what is the customer's age, gender, budget and spending habits? What kind of problems or needs do they have that the product or service can solve? Companies should use consumer research to understand their target customer and create detailed customer personas that communicate their preferences, motivations and behaviour.
Once the target customer is defined, the next step is to decide which channels to use for communications. These days there is a wide range of channels available – from traditional media (TV, radio, newspaper etc) to online communications (email, search engines, social media, paid ads etc). Each channel has its own advantages and disadvantages, so a business should select the ones that best fit their target customer and budget.
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The final stage of targeting is to decide on the content of the message. This is where the message has to be tailored to the customer’s needs and interests. It's important to create personalised and relevant content that resonates with the target customer, and to avoid generic messages that can be easily ignored.
When combining all three stages – defining the target customer and the channels that will be used to communicate to them, and creating personalised content – businesses will craft a tailored marketing message that will effectively cut through all the clutter.
When it comes to best practices for targeting, the most important thing is to get to know the customer as much as possible. The more you know about them, the better you can target them with relevant and personalised content. Companies should also make sure that their market research and customer data is legitimate, up-to-date and accurate. Finally, businesses should never ignore the importance of understanding the customer journey – the customer lifecycle and their expectations at each stage. This will help you to create tailored strategies based on customer needs and preferences.