Why Identifying the Right Target Audience is So Crucial for Product Development

Market SegmentationThis guest column is by Marketer and SEO Expert Sumit Chakrabarti

Can anyone of you recall during your childhood days how a guy sold women’s clothing in the neighborhood always knew when to knock on the doors to sell his stuff?

Well, he knew it by heart when the women at home finished their daily household chores, and would be keen to look at his fascinating range of clothing line? Especially, Indian consumers can relate to such instances pretty well.

Firstly, without having any degree in MBA marketing or other credentials, the guy knew how to do the basics right. Firstly, he must have identified who could be his target audience. If he had a range of sarees with rich colour and design, the best customers were supposed to be women in their late 20s and 30s.

Secondly, as mentioned earlier, the street-smart seller also knew the right time to hit the ground running. Considering the above example, the best time could be late afternoon, when women used to relax after finishing off their daily work.

Here, for the seller, that specific segment of women was the “Target Audience”.

You may have heard this two-word cliché thousand times, especially if you are somehow related to advertising or marketing.

Even the oldest and fossilised form of marketing concept emphasised the significance of identifying the right or ‘target audience’ to sell a product or service.

It boils down to identifying the basic demographics such as age, gender, occupation, ethnicity, income etc. to make a product visible. Though over time, things have gone beyond just the basics. Read on to know more.

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More Insights into the Evolved Concept Keeping up with Changing Society

Over the decades, marketing concept has evolved due to the inevitable changes caused by increasing complexities in the human societies.

The marketers realized that only understanding the basic demographics are not enough to make their products/services stand out. They also need to look into the more modern concept of demographics which contain three key elements – Baby boomers, Generation X and Millennials. Each of these demographics has different requirements, interests and priorities.

Well, there is more….

Gradually, the focus has also started shifting towards understanding consumer psychology.

Considering this, the concept of psychographics has emerged. It’s more intricate because of their co-relations to the innate human behaviours and preferences. While demographics is about “who is buying your product”, psychographics help you understand “why they buy”.

Psychographics include the factors such as:

  • Lifestyle
  • Personality
  • Values
  • Behaviour
  • Interests or hobbies

In addition to the above, marketers’ strategy should be multi-dimensional than one-dimensional. A good example could be when advertising on men’s fragrance where a company should not just think of advertising on men’s magazine or in the TV’s prime-time slot during the shows that men watch. Even wives and girlfriends gift their partners such products on special occasions. So, advertisements should target both men and women through the right channel to generate more positive response.

The Key Steps for Market Segmentation when Identifying Target Customers

According to Roger Best, the author of ‘Market-Based Management’, there are some key steps for identifying a target audience:

  1. Select the most suitable audience – Do customer segmentation based on the needs they want to fulfill and benefits they seek from a product or service.
  2. Categorize according to usage patterns – Consider various factors such as lifestyle, demographics, usage behavior and pattern to categorize the customers.
  3. Opting for a valuation approach – Consider the market rate/pattern, barriers to enter the market, accessibility for evaluating various segments.
  4. Test the market – By creating specific storyboard for each segment, test the market penetration to each segment for formulating an effective positioning strategy.
  5. Alter the marketing mix - The marketing positioning strategy for specific segments can be extended to include all the aspects of the marketing mix.
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So, carrying out proper research, identifying the appropriate customer segments and understanding their needs and desires are the most effective ways to ensure that your brand will never go off the target.

Image Credit: Gropsr