Target Marketing: Why everyone is the wrong answer.

Author: Eric Allgood CMgr CAHRI MAITD

Recently I was attending a networking group and one of the members stood up to explain who their perfect referral would be. The said that their perfect referral would be anybody who is looking for (insert their product/service here)!

It would be like me stating my perfect referral is any business owner thinking about marketing! When you read that did anyone pop into mind? No!? Well, I am shocked!!! Actually, not at all, because as humans we are not hard wired to accept the terms anyone or everyone and then consider a specific person or group.

Furthermore, if you write children’s books, who is your target market? Kids? Nope, their parents and grandparents are who buys the books, so you need to target them. All the major fast food franchises got into a little bit of strife not that long ago about the amount of spend they had during children’s programs. Whilst their target market is the grown-ups, the decision makers are the one’s who will incessantly nag until a happy meal (or equivalent) is had!

Defining your target market significantly narrows your field, which sounds counter intuitive, but is it really? If I said to you there are two rooms full of people, one room has 1,000 people in it and the other has 50 people in it and you get to choose which one you get to talk about your product or service to. You’d pick the 1,000 every day, wouldn’t you?

What if you then found out that only about 5% of the people in the first room would ever even consider buying your goods/service? Still the first room, because they both equate to 50 people and the others might know somebody they could mention it to, and there’s this thing call brand awareness Eric!

Yes, I have had people say this to me, and the response comes down to the following things:

Clouded message: In order to speak in a manner that the 950 people might, that’s right, might¸ understand enough to refer you, a completely unknown, to their friends, your message will need to be so diluted, the other 50 may not see the relevance.

Relationships: If you can speak directly to 50 people who use your type of goods/services directly, you can tailor the message to ‘speak’ directly to them, to reflect their issues, fears and roadblocks. The relevance you bring to your message means the relationship can start as they now know you and because they can relate to your message, they will like you. If they get to the point of sale, your service delivery will determine if they move on to trust you!

Cost: The cost of talking to the masses is huge; using the example above, whit if you then discovered it would cost you a per head rate for each opportunity? Hmmm, 50 people sounding much better isn’t it?

What I have described above is called cut through, and the better cut through you have the more effective the campaign!

The benefits of target marketing are:

  • Finds growth potential
  • Builds interest in your brand where it counts
  • Helps create brand loyalty
  • Saves you money in the long run
  • Concentrates your message to being specific and relatable
  • Identifies under-served marketplaces
  • Helps you understand your product/service more intimately
  • Allows you to understand your business more effectively and grow sustainably (what if you market your product to those 1,000 people and they all said yes? Could you cope? In fact, in some instances communicating to the 50 intimately could be just as dangerous).

Defining your target market or market niche is the best time and money your organisation could ever spend, otherwise you’re building your house from the roof down!