Don’t Forget Your Target Market

One of the most basic parts of marketing is also one of the most frequently ignored.

Marketing 101 says “figure out your target market first, then move on to strategies, tactics etc.” After all, how can you communicate a message to someone successfully if you don’t know who they are? It seems obvious, but it can be more challenging than it appears. As a professional who writes and edits a lot of marketing copy, let me show you the top four ways that I see people lose track of their target market(s).

(1) They assume that the target market is exactly like them.
I am almost never the target audience for the products I write for. So I put myself in their shoes. In a previous job, I worked with a business owner who insisted on advertising on a politically charged talk show because he agreed with the host. What he didn’t realize is that a lot of people who used his product tuned out because the host was so polarizing. Why not advertise someplace else rather than sacrifice half of your target market?

(2) They assume that the target market is all the same.
People are diverse, which means your target market is diverse. It pays to identify your primary target audience, then work to identify your secondary and tertiary target audiences. There are even instances where your primary target market isn’t your most profitable. Most importantly, you almost always speak a little differently to each different group.

(3) They assume that all of their products or services have the same target market.
This is similar to #2, but with a twist. Did you ever consider that each of your products might have a slightly different target market? It’s possible that your large sized bag of product appeals to heavy users and your smaller bags may appeal to a more casual consumer. These two groups may be as different as night and day when it comes to age, financial situation and media consumption.

(4) They assume that their target markets (primary, secondary, etc.) use the product or service in the same way.
Imagine the joy that a candy manufacturer feels when they discover that their product is being used in an interesting new recipe? Suddenly they may need to start advertising in media that is targeted at “foodies” rather than just focusing on kids or adults that love candy.

As you can see, it’s easy to mix up and even miss your target markets when you develop your marketing messages. One trick to make it easier is to involve an impartial third party to review your work. Many of Anchor’s clients rely on us to do just that. We help them to identify all of their target markets, then we refine their message until it speaks uniquely to them.