Question: In past articles you have made reference to “target marketing”. Exactly what is target marketing and how does one go about developing the strategy?

Answer: Target Marketing is defined as researching and understanding your prospective customers’ interests, hobbies and needs so that you can focus your message on a specific segment of the market that is most likely to purchase your product or service.

This strategy is particularly effective when combined with “niche marketing” which is a subset of a larger market, and is identified by a unique set of needs or preferences. An example could be a shoe store that specializes in running and speed walking shoes.

In developing a target market strategy, you could consider the following:

  • Define your target customer – “My ideal customer is a white collar, college educated person who is between the ages of 30 and 50, into physical fitness, with above average income”.
  • Locate your target customer – “My ideal customer owns their home in a medium-priced neighborhood or zip code, and belongs to a local gym or club fitness center”.
  • What are their buying habits? – “My ideal customer wants a quality running shoe and will buy several pair each year. Our shoe brands are regarded as the best in the industry and will not disappoint our clients, thus ensuring their continued patronage.

Once you have profiled your target customer you now need to determine the best way to reach out and become known to them. You can begin with social media. Those individuals in the 30 to 50 age-bracket are relatively tech savvy. They will research the products online and your social media presence is critical to success in driving them to your website.

If you intend to have a physical store presence, plan to locate in the area or zip code you are targeting. Consider placing store openings ads in local or regional publications serving the same areas.

There are a number of physical fitness publications. It is not uncommon to find them in the lobby of physician’s offices, health and country club wellness centers. Check around to determine if a particular magazine is more prevalent and, if your budget allows, place an ad in one that allows you to limit distribution to the localities you intend to target.

This is but one example of target marketing. Your local SCORE counselor can assist you in developing your own marketing strategy.

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Gray Poehler is a volunteer with SCORE Naples. Business counseling on this and other business matters is available, without charge, from the Naples Chapter of SCORE. Call (239) 430-0081 or visit https://naples.score.org/mentors .The SCORE business office is located at 900 Goodlette Road North, in the Fifth Third branch bank building.