“Marketing is not an event, but a process, it has a beginning, a middle, but never an end...” Author unknown

The Blog

Identifying the right Target Market is more important than, well, anything really.
Posted at 02:15 PM on 20 Jul 2009 under Marketing

I cannot believe how often this is overlooked or badly managed. A business CEO with interests in cycling suddenly sponsors a professional cycling team when, really, none of the cycling-watching market would ever actually buy a false nail kit. “And 3rd on the stage from Knysna to George today was the Allure, Do It Yourself Nail Kit Team.”

Even the obvious is sometimes dreadfully off the mark. Medical shows on television are constantly sponsored by (yes you guessed it) medical products. It is the obvious way to go but let me assure you that the medical industry considers medical shows to be exaggerated, unbelievable and based on pure fiction rather than medical fact and thus, they choose not to watch them at all. The right market for this would be more suited to bored teenagers who look to television to find gore and guts. These are all pretty obvious examples but the point is made.

Then there is the temptation to use a self-appealing strategy for marketers. This is as evil as the forbidden fruit itself. The trap is easy to fall into where we devise strategies that fit in with our own lifestyle yet as a 28-year-old, white, English speaking male; I have no actual want or need for hair-dyes, alcopops or washing powders and if I ever find myself devising marketing material for the products, it is imperative to remember that. Something I might find funny or tasteful, might not appeal to the actual hair-dying market for example. I know this now but I learnt the hard way.

As a young, know-it-all 23 year old, I was asked to coordinate a wine-related awards show in Stellenbosch. During the preceding weeks, a few friends and I visited a comedy club in Cape Town to see a new act. It was completely hilarious and most of us left with stomach cramps and tear stained cheeks. This prompted an invite for the comedian to MC our exclusive wine event. What I did not take into consideration was the market. The comedian and the older, conservative, mostly Afrikaans-speaking audience did not speak the same language, AT ALL. What was a funny show in Cape Town quickly became unfunny and generally insulting to the wine market and went quickly downhill until finally, an esteemed member of the wine fraternity asked the comedian to get off stage. This left a sour taste in everyone’s mouth and what was otherwise a hugely successful event, won’t be remembered as one.

Target market selection is more important than anything else in marketing. Language, imagery, emotion, colours, location and even price are ALL affected by the target market. Not only will you not sell your product but you can also fall embarrassingly flat on your face.

Dean Oelschig
Penquin International

Comments

I couldn’t agree more! Before any decent Marketing strategy can have effect, the target audience has to be understood.
Although this seems elementary, too many people make this mistake!

By Karen on 2009-07-20
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