Digital Marketing

What Is A Target Market? 5 Defining Characteristics

By Laia Cardona, on 26 December 2018

The target market is an idea as old as marketing itself. 

After all, a brand's products or services can't fit everyone. For marketing to be effective, it’s necessary to target a specific group of people with specific needs. Being clear about your target helps to focus all of your marketing initiatives and get a better return on investment.

Thanks to different digital marketing platforms, it's possible to obtain a great deal of data about your target audience and make very precise segmentations to personalize your communication as much as possible.

There are no more excuses for shooting blind! In order to achieve the best results, we are going to take a look at what exactly the target is and how we can define it according to 5 key variables.

What is a target market_

Target Market Definition

In marketing, the target market or target audience consists of the group of consumers whose characteristics, desires, and needs are most suited to the products and services offered by a particular brand. This group may also be called a target audience, market niche, potential customers, etc.

Target marketing consists of dividing a market into segments and focusing campaigns on one or several of them in particular. This makes it easier to promote and distribute the products.

Sometimes a brand's target is not static, but evolves to adapt to new market trends. For example, McDonalds has traditionally targeted teenagers and families with children. This approach was reflected in products such as the Happy Meal (a meal specially designed for children with a toy included) and the design of its facilities, with free WiFi for parents and recreational areas for children. But in recent years, McDonalds has identified another very interesting target, millennials. That's why it has made an effort to diversify its menus to include healthier and more sophisticated options, such as salads and premium coffees.

In the digital marketing environment, we can use the segmentation options offered in different advertising platforms to direct campaigns only to the users that you’re most interested in. These platforms also allow you to track the numbers on the results of your ads and the interactions with channels that allow you to identify market segments. This helps you align all of your marketing to hit the right target.

How to Define a Target Market: 5 Key Building Blocks

1. Demographics

Demographic segmentation is one of the classic segmentation tools. There are many key demographics you can use to segment and define your audience, but some common demographics include the following characteristics:

  • Age: The age of the target will set the tone of the campaign, the values, and the channels used. In the case of children, we must take into account that parents are the ones who make the purchase decisions, so campaigns must be attractive to both young and old.
  • Gender: Nowadays, there is a growing search for inclusive campaigns and not to assume classic gender roles (for example, not to direct cleaning products exclusively to women) or antiquated ideas of gender. Bearing this in mind, there are always products that by their own characteristics will be directed to a specific identity. It's beneficial to understand your target’s general identity so that you can correctly orient the campaign without falling into stereotypes.
  • Family situation: Married, single, with or without children... With the current segmentation options we can get extremely details, for example "newly married heterosexual couples" or "parents of children between 1 and 3 years old".

2. Location

Or in other words, where do the people in your target group live?

Sometimes, some companies, like an ecommerce that is trying to reach a global market, may not have one specific target location. In other situations, you may only be interested in users who live within a 5 kilometer radius of one of your physical stores.

If you want to reach a global market, you will still have to make a minimum segmentation of the target, since the same campaign will not work the same way in Madrid and Tokyo. At the very least, global target markets must take into account language and cultural factors.

3. Socio-Cultural Profile

Socio-cultural factors will go a little deeper into the demographics of your target, detailing aspects such as...

  • The economic class they belong to (and therefore their purchasing power).
  • Educational level and languages.
  • The profession. In the case of B2B companies, this factor is absolutely key, since we will generally want to focus on the decision makers of a particular professional sector.
  • The values and beliefs. For example, outdoor lovers activities, pet owners, people with an urban lifestyle...

4. Digital Profile

In order to reach your target market, you have to know where and how they move.

To a certain extent, the digital profile of your target will be linked to their age: from Gen Z, who are more attached to their phones, to older people, who have just opened a Facebook account to be more in touch with their family.

You need to identify which digital channels your target audience regularly uses (for example, which is their preferred social network) and their usage habits, especially in terms of purchasing decisions (do they research on Google before choosing a product, ask for recommendations on Twitter?)

5. Needs

Last but not least, you have to understand what your target needs and how you can respond to that need with your products and services. This is a fundamental section when designing a fictitious customer or personal buyer persona.

It’s crucial to know the value your brand can bring to users in particular to make their lives better. Generally, what we are looking for is to solve a problem or improve an aspect of their day-to-day life. Your marketing will focus on explaining to the potential customer what your products or services can do for them.

With these 5 building blocks you should be well on your way to building a strong target audience and creating an effective digital marketing strategy.

The must-have checklist for launching your digital campaigns

Laia Cardona

Responsable de la estrategia de inbound marketing en Cyberclick. Gestión del CRM con Hubspot, de la base de datos y creación de la estrategia global de contenidos, workflows y lead nurturing. Experiencia en marketing digital, comunicación digital y periodismo en medios de comunicación. ______________________________________________________________________ Responsible for the inbound marketing strategy at Cyberclick. Experience in digital marketing, digital communication, media journalism, CRM management with Hubspot, creation of global content strategy, workflows and lead nurturing.