Chapter 13: Target Marketing

Posted on October 28, 2019 | Updated on October 31, 2022

Key advice given to most marketing professionals is to know their audience. But once you’ve figured out who your customers are and what makes them tick, what do you do with that information? One answer is that you work on target marketing — or segmenting your different buyer personas into specific groups so you can create campaigns centered around individual needs and reaching out to each segment.

In one recent survey, around 63 percent of marketing professionals indicated that generating new leads is one of their top priorities. But at the heart of that desire is finding new customers who are truly interested in what you have to offer. You can drive tons of traffic to your website or storefront, but if it isn’t the right kind of traffic, it won’t translate into sales. Target marketing digs into the core of who your buyer is — the ones who actually make purchases — and how you can repeat any success you’ve already had with new segments.

Benefits of Target Marketing

There are a few drawbacks to target marketing, such as risking missing out on customers you might not have considered part of your buyer personas. However, there are many more advantages than disadvantages:

  • Create highly personalized messages for your buyers.
  • Generate more word-of-mouth marketing as customers share your message with others.
  • Reduce your website’s bounce rate, since your target audience will find what they’re looking for.
  • Offer the right products to the right people and spike your conversions.
  • Save money on marketing campaigns, as you will limit your ads to only those people you most want to reach.

When done correctly, target marketing saves money and drives a better return on investment (ROI) for your brand. You probably already have a general idea of how it works, but let’s dig in a bit deeper and find some strategies you can implement right away.

How Does Target Marketing Work?

Your first step in setting up target marketing for your brand is figuring out who your audience is. If you haven’t already surveyed your customers, then you must complete that step first. Look at who bought from you in the past year, where your website visitors come from and how they translate into revenue. Also, look at your competitors and who their customers are.

Once you have an idea of your target audience, spend time creating buyer personas for each segment of that audience. Rank your personas from who you most want to reach — your “core demographic” — to the people who don’t translate into much noticeable profit. Ideally, your main efforts go to your number-one-ranked buyer persona and translate into more orders. You should also consider:

  • How big each segment is. If a segment is too large, can you break it down further?
  • Which groups have the best potential for growth?
  • What segments are already targeted by top competitors? Will you have to fight harder for these people?
  • Which people line up with the company’s goals and philosophy?

While you might have many potential good core audiences, the one that works best is the one that doesn’t have a lot of other businesses competing, plenty of room to add new members and who match up to your goals as a brand.

Who Uses Segmented Marketing?

Just about any type of business can use segmented marketing. Where a lot of businesses fail is by figuring out their different buyer personas but then not creating content specifically geared to that audience or advertising in places those people hang out exclusively. Here are a few of the types of businesses using target marketing:

  • Clothing stores. Think Rue 21 and Forever 21 and how they specifically locate their stores in places where teens shop and design their displays to draw in Gen Zers.
  • Restaurants. A casual dining restaurant might offer coupons, while a high-end restaurant will advertise in glossy magazines or by sending out a targeted email about a celebrity chef coming for a visit.
  • Tech startups. The audience is broad for tech startups, but many find their niche audience. Think about some of the apps out there and how they target a particular demographic. They might have customers of all age ranges or types, but they know who their core audience is. Uber and Lyft are two good examples of marketing to a specific age group.

Of course, these are just some of the businesses using segmented marketing. No matter what type of business you own, you can benefit from breaking your customers into sections.

Tips for Segmenting Your Own Audience

You might wonder if you even have enough customers yet to bother with segmenting. The answer is “yes.” If you have more than one customer, it’s time to personalize the experience through target marketing. Assuming you already have your buyer personas developed, here are some steps to get you from Point A to Point B as you start with your own plan:

1. Learn Their Language

Your first step in market targeting your audience is figuring out what language they use. Survey people on social media who follow you. Look at their posts, their likes and who they follow. Next, go to a keyword research tool, such as Alexa’s Keyword Difficulty Tool, and see what search terms your target audience looks for. Once you have a feel for the age and speech patterns of your target group, it’s much easier to write advertising in a language that’s familiar to them.

2. Produce Valuable Content

Marketers who produce content that’s valuable to their audience are about 13-times more likely to see a return on their investment. You already know the searches your audience members conduct, so take those search terms and answer questions your buyers already have. The more questions you answer in-depth, the more your target audience will flock to you for answers and likely buy from you.

3. Advertise Better

Going back to language again, you also now know what search terms you should pay for to drive more traffic to your landing pages. If you’ve done your homework, you understand the questions your leads have and you can write a description for your website that draws them in and targets them for the terms they search for in the way they search for them. This works just as well on search engines as on social media sites like Facebook. Many social media sites also allow you to narrow your audience and spend your money wisely.

4. Improve Customer Experience

Understanding who your typical customer is allows you to improve their overall experience with your brand. For example, older generations might prefer to speak on the phone or face-to-face, while younger generations want a live chat option. Knowing your core audience allows you to segment these types of customer service options and meet the needs of all your customers. 

Who Is Your Target Audience?

Now that you’ve figured out who your target audience is and developed a buyer persona, it’s time to get going with your target marketing. Focus on building one segment at a time and completely exhaust all potential customers in that group before moving your attention elsewhere. With focus and perseverance, your business will grow steadily over time. 

CHAPTER 12: Word-of-Mouth Marketing       CHAPTER 14: Diversity Marketing


The Small Business Marketing Guide: Introduction

Chapter 1: Successful Viral Marketing Campaigns
Chapter 2: Influencer Marketing
Chapter 3: Conversational Marketing
Chapter 4: CMS Marketing
Chapter 5: Brand Marketing
Chapter 6: Scarcity Marketing
Chapter 7: Transactional Marketing
Chapter 8: FOMO Marketing
Chapter 9: Neuromarketing
Chapter 10: Close Range Marketing
Chapter 11: Guerrilla Marketing
Chapter 12: Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Chapter 13: Target Marketing
Chapter 14: Diversity Marketing
Chapter 15: Undercover Marketing
Chapter 16: Cause Marketing

About The Author

Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her exploring the outdoors with her husband and dog in their RV, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or curled up with a good book with her cats Gem and Cali.

You can find more of Eleanor's work at

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