Under The Bar: Target Market…Really?

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elitefts™ Sunday edition

Target Market…Really?

Many businesses today try to market to everyone and think they can be everything to everybody.

I'm seeing this more and more in the fitness/strength industry, but it's happening everywhere. The pressures of the economy has been and is hitting everyone. Even the ones who say they aren't being affected aren't seeing the total picture. Just because their sales are up 20% in a poor economy doesn't mean they aren't being affected. Think of it this way, they should be up 80 percent, not 20 percent. The reality is that businesses are now being forced to create more value and profit while cutting expenses and resources – but this is for another post.

One strategy many are looking to is expanding their market reach by trying to expand into other markets. The problem is they're trying to do this using the same marketing they're using for their current market(s). If you're going to try and expand your reach, your marketing HAS to be different for each market you try to enter.

Another mistake (much bigger) on a micro spectrum is not understanding that your target market has segments and each of these segments will need to be marketed to differently. People are NOT the same.

Here's a quick lesson for you in marketing terminology:

*SOURCE: BusinessDictionary.com

  • Target Market: A particular market segment at which a marketing campaign is focused.
  • Market Segmentation: The process of defining and subdividing a large homogenous market into clearly identifiable segmentshaving similar needs, wants, or demand characteristics. Itsobjective is to design a marketing mix that precisely matches the expectations of customers in the targeted segment.

Few companies are big enough to supply the needs of an entire market; most must breakdown the total demand into segments and choose those that the company is best equipped to handle. Four basic factors that affect market segmentation are (1) clear identification of the segment, (2) measure-ability of its effective size, (3) its accessibility through promotional efforts, and (4) its appropriateness to the policies and resources of the company. The four basic market segmentation-strategies are based on (a) behavioral (b) demographic, (c) psycho-graphic, and (d) geographical differences.

  • Differentiation: Result of efforts to make a product or brand stand out as a provider of unique value to customers in comparison with its competitors. (*more on this later)

My intention is not to write a book on marketing, but I do what to show that marketing is far more than deciding what the best subject line for an email message is, or what part of your sales letter should be highlighted. Before any of this is even considered you HAVE to know who your target market is and drill down into the different segments.

What are these segments?

The options here are numerous and include (but not limited to):

  • Geographic - world, country, territory, region, city, block, density, climate, etc
  • Demographic - age, gender, family, life cycle, income, occupation, education, religion, race, generation, nationality, etc
  • Psychographic - social class, lifestyle, Personality, sport, etc
  • Behavioral - occasions, benefits, how often they use the product or service, loyalty, culture, attitude, etc

The question then becomes who ARE your customers?
NOT who do you want them to be but who ARE they?
Most managers and business owners can't begin to tell you this because they haven't paid attention or pulled the data to know. Most of this information can easily be discovered with surveys, polls, or just simply asking. Most business owners I speak to already have much of this data in their records, but never considered how to use it.

Think of how much better or targeted your marketing could be if you knew who you were really trying to reach and what they really want.

The biggest mistake is thinking YOU know what they want. I wrote many times before to be VERY careful on what you assume to be true because most of the time these assumptions are wrong.

The take away is to KNOW who your customers are.

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