In a competitive marketplace, it is essential to understand the importance of identifying a target market and target audience for your company and the products or services you sell. Having a clear understanding of who your customers are will allow you to create efficient ways to reach them and engage with them.
What is a Target Market?
First, it is important to understand the difference between target market and target audience and what each means. A target market is a group of customers at which a business aims its marketing efforts and resources to. This is who a company aims to sell to or reach through marketing activities, representing an ideal customer base that is most likely to have an interest in what the business offers.
The target market is defined based on different characteristics and factors of who you are trying to reach. These characteristics can include demographic factors, psychographic factors, geographic factors and more. It is important to also know that different businesses may have multiple target markets depending on what products or services they offer. Each target market may also have their own characteristics and preferences which will require customized marketing approaches to allow the business to reach and connect with them.
What is a Target Audience?
Although they sound similar, a target audience is very different from a target market. The target audience is a group of consumers that will most likely want the product or service a company is offering. This group is within the market that is being served advertisements and are the intended recipients of a particular message, product, service, campaign, or organization. It is the specific segment of the population that a business aims to reach and engages with through marketing efforts.
A target audience is based on various factors that identifies the group of individuals who are most likely going to be influenced by or interested in the messages or offers being presented. Similar to a target market, the audience may include demographic, geographic, and psychographic factors. It is important for businesses to acknowledge and understand the target audience so they are able to tailor their messages, content, and communication channels to resonate and appeal to the needs and preferences of the target audience.
Defining the Primary and Secondary Audiences
Following a target audience, there is also a primary and secondary audience. The primary audience is the main target group that a business aims to reach and engage with through marketing efforts. It is the most important segment for a business because they are most likely to have a need for the product or service being offered and are more likely to make a purchase or influence others to make a purchase. Key characteristics of the primary audience include relevance, highest conversion potential, and tailored messaging. Relevance is how closely the product or service being offered aligns with the primary audience. They have a genuine interest or need in what is being offered. Highest conversion potential is how the primary audience is most likely to convert into customers and make them a priority. Lastly, tailored messaging is how businesses create marketing messages, content and campaigns designed to resonate and appeal to the primary audience.
A secondary audience, also known as the target secondary market, is the additional target group that businesses consider in their marketing efforts.They are not as likely to buy or use a product but can exert an influence on primary audiences and still hold value and can contribute to the business’s success. Key characteristics within the secondary audience include relevance, indirect influence, marketing considerations, and additional opportunities. Relevance for a secondary audience may not be the primary consumers of the product or service, but they still have a connection or interest in what the business offers. Indirect influence is that the audience may indirectly influence purchasing decisions onto the primary audience. An example of this would be the secondary audience is an influencer or opinion leader who has the ability to sway the opinions and choices of the primary audience. Marketing considerations is how businesses can allocate a portion of their marketing efforts to address the secondary audience, but the messaging approach may not be as direct or tailored as it is for the primary audience. Lastly, additional opportunities is how the secondary audience can provide opportunities for expansion, targeting niche, or diversification segments that complement the primary audience.
Marketing segmentation is the process of dividing a larger target market into distinct subgroups or segments based on similar characteristics, needs, preferences, or behaviors. The segments broken up are specified based on potential customers who share common traits and are likely to respond to marking efforts in similar ways. The purpose of segmentation is to enable businesses to better understand their target audience and to create ways to reach them more effectively. By dividing the overall market into smaller segments, businesses can focus their resources, efforts, and communication channels more effectively which could increase their chances of attracting and retaining customers.
4 Categories of Market Segmentation
Demographic segmentation is the “who” of the consumers. This includes factors such as age, gender, income level, race, education and occupation.
Geographic segmentation is the “where” of your audience. This method divides your market based on geographic factors such as location, region, climate, population density, and even time zone. This approach recognizes that consumers' needs, preferences, and behaviors can vary based on the factors provided.
Psychographic segmentation is the “why” factor of your audience. It refers to the characteristics such as interests, values, personality traits, motivations, buying patterns and attitudes. It focuses on understanding the underlying psychological factors that influence consumer decisions and preferences.
Lastly, behavioral segmentation is the “how” factor of a business’s audience. It divides a target market into distinct groups based on purchasing behavior, usage patterns, brand loyalty, benefit-seeking behavior, occasion-based behavior and other behavioral factors. Benefit-seeking behavior is the outcome that customers seek from a product or service. Occasion-based behavior depends on specific occasions or events that trigger purchasing behavior.
Overall, the goal is to ensure the right people are being persuaded into investing in a company, product or service. All of these factors allow a company to better understand and meet the needs and influence of their consumers.
Role persuasion refers to the strategic use of persuasive techniques and messaging to influence individuals based on their specific roles within a decision-making process. It recognizes that different individuals within an organization or household may have distinct roles and responsibilities when it comes to making a purchase to change perceived thoughts/attitude of potential buyers to make them believe in a company or product.
Consumer Behavior is the study of individuals, groups, organizations and activities associated with purchasing, using, and disposing of products. Different consumer behavior types are determined by what kind of products the consumer needs, prefers, etc. Three factors that influence consumer behavior are personal factors which is how an individual’s interest or opinion is influenced by their demographic. Second is psychological factors which is when individuals respond to marketing messages depending on their perceptions or attitudes toward the product or company. Lastly is social factors which include family, friends, education level, income, social media and more. This shapes the consumers preferences, purchasing decisions, and consumption patterns.
4 Types of Consumer Behavior
Habitual buying behavior
Habitual buying behavior, also known as routine buying behavior, refers to a type of consumer characterized by repetitive purchasing of a particular product or brand without having much thought or active decision-making.
Dissonance reducing buying behavior
Also known as post-purchase dissonance, this refers to a consumer’s response to cognitive dissonance or discomfort experiences after making a significant purchase decision. When consumers make a purchase, especially for expensive or high-involvement products, they may experience dissonance if they perceive a gap in their expectations and the actual experience or if they have doubts about their decision.
Variety seeking behavior
This refers to a consumer's inclination or desire to explore and try new products, brands or experiences rather than consistently sticking to familiar choices.
Complex buying behavior
This refers to a type of consumer behavior that occurs when consumers are highly involved in a purchase decision and perceive significant differences among available brands or products. It occurs in situations where the purchase involves high financial risk, significant personal or social consequences, when the product is perceived as highly important or relevant to the consumer.
Understanding the concepts of target market, target audience, primary and secondary audiences, marketing segmentation, role persuasion, and consumer behavior is crucial in navigating the competitive marketplace. Identifying your target market helps you focus your marketing efforts on a specific group of customers who are most likely to be interested in your offerings. Similarly, recognizing your target audience allows you to tailor your messages, content, and communication channels to effectively reach and engage with them. By incorporating these concepts into your marketing approach, you can better understand your target audience, effectively reach them, and meet their needs, ultimately increasing your chances of success in the marketplace.
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