Target Marketing Defined

Market this, target that. What’s it all mean?

A target market is a group of customers that the business has decided to aim its marketing efforts and ultimately its merchandise.[1] A well-defined target market is the first element to a marketing strategy. The target market and the marketing mix variables of product, place (distribution), promotion and price are the four elements of a marketing mix strategy that determine the success of a product in the marketplace.
Once these distinct customers have been defined, a marketing mix strategy of product, distribution, promotion and price can be built by the business to satisfy the target market.

Market segmentations

Target markets are groups of people separated by distinguishable and noticeable aspects. Target markets can be separated into:
        • geographic segmentations, addresses (their location)
        • demographic/socio-economic segmentation (gender,age, income occupation, education, sex, household size, age, and stage in the family life cycle)
        • psychographic segmentation (similar attitudes, values, and lifestyles)
        • behavioral segmentation (occasions, degree of loyalty)
        • product-related segmentation (relationship to a product)[2]

Strategies for Reaching Target Markets

Marketers have outlined four basic strategies to satisfy target markets: undifferentiated marketing or mass marketing, differentiated marketing, concentrated marketing, and micromarketing/niche marketing.

Mass marketing is a market coverage strategy in which a firm decides to ignore market segment differences and go after the whole market with one offer. It is type of marketing (or attempting to sell through persuasion) of a product to a wide audience. The idea is to broadcast a message that will reach the largest number of people possible. Traditionally mass marketing has focused on radio, television and newspapers as the medium used to reach this broad audience.
For sales teams, one way to reach out to target markets is through direct marketing. This is done by buying a consumer database based on the segmentation profiles you have defined. These databases usually come with consumer contacts (e.g. email, mobile number, home number, etc.). Caution is recommended when undertaking direct marketing efforts—check the targeted country's direct marketing laws.


CVS Caremark’s target market is women since they make up 80 percent of the pharmacy chain’s customers. CVS has marketed its stores to aid women who are constantly multitasking. They recently redesigned 1,200 of its 6,200 stores to women, including shorter wait times for prescriptions, wider and better-lit shopping aisles, and more beauty products.[3]

The Oreo cookie is a popular cookie in the U.S., known for its two discs of chocolate with a white cream filling. The Double Stuf Oreo cookie is also marketed to U.S. consumers. However, Kraft has formulated a different version of the Oreo to target consumers in China. The Chinese version consists of four layers of long, thin biscuits coated in chocolate. Kraft CEO, Irene Rosenberg, trusts her executives who live and work in China to know what consumers would prefer in order to maximize their profits. In Germany, Kraft is appealing to the tastes and preferences of German consumers by creating dark chocolate products. It is also introducing premium instant coffee in Russia, which is a beverage that is popular to consumers.[4]

World Wrestling Entertainment’s (WWE) target market is young males. Monday Night RAW is the number one entertainment program on primetime cable among male viewers (2 million+) including the male demographics of 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54. It is shown at 9:00 PM ET to reach its target market.[5]
Kohl’s department store has a target market consisting of consumers buying for themselves and their families.[6]

The Psychology of Target Marketing

A principal concept in target marketing is that those who are targeted show a strong affinity or brand loyalty to that particular brand. Target Marketing allows the marketer / sales team to customize their message to the targeted group of consumers in a more focused manner.

Research has shown that racial similarity, role congruence, labeling intensity of ethnic identification, shared knowledge and ethnic salience all promote positive effects on the target market. Research has generally shown that target marketing strategies are constructed from consumer inferences of similarities between some aspects of the advertisement (e.g., source pictured, language used, lifestyle represented) and characteristics of the consumer (e.g. reality or desire of having the represented style). Consumers are persuaded by the characteristics in the advertisement and those of the consumer.[7]

   1.  Kurtz, Dave. (2010). Contemporary Marketing Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.
   2.  Cohen A. Wiliam. (2005) The Marketing Plan. John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
   3.   Kurtz, Dave. (2010). Contemporary Marketing Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.
   4.  Kurtz, Dave. (2010). Contemporary Marketing Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.
   5.  World Wrestling Entertainment. (2009, May 28). Strength in Numbers: World Wrestling Entertainment 2009 Annual Report. Retrieved from
   6  Kurtz, Dave. (2010). Contemporary Marketing Mason, OH: South-Western Cengage Learning.
   7.  Aaker, J., Brumbaugh, A., & Grier, S. (2000). Nontarget Markets and Viewer Distinctiveness: The Impact of Target Marketing on Advertising. Journal of Consumer Psychology (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates), 9(3), 127. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier database

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