Target marketing involves breaking a market into segments and then concentrating your marketing efforts on one or a few key segments consisting of the customers whose needs and desires most closely match your product or service offerings. It can be the key to attracting new business, increasing sales, and making your business a success.
Targeting in marketing is a strategy that breaks a large market into smaller segments to concentrate on a specific group of customers within that audience. It defines a segment of customers based on their unique characteristics and focuses solely on serving them.
Instead of trying to reach an entire market, a brand uses target marketing to put their energy into connecting with a specific, defined group within that market.
Five Different Types of Targeting
- Behavioral Targeting (aka audience targeting)
Behavioral targeting is the practice of segmenting customers based on web browsing behavior, including things like pages visited, searches performed, links clicked, and products purchased. If you add mobile and physical store data into the mix, that can also include things like location, and in-store purchases. Visitors with similar behaviors are then grouped into defined audience segments, allowing advertisers to target them with specific, relevant ads and content based on their browsing and purchase history. An oft cited example of behavioral targeting is retargeting ads.
- Contextual Targeting
Contextual targeting involves displaying ads based on a website’s content. Think: placing an ad for dishware on a recipe site, or an ad for running shoes on a running forum. It’s kind of like the digital version of placing a print ad in a niche magazine. It works based on the assumption that someone reading a page about running is likely to also be interested in your ad for sneakers.
- Search Retargeting
Search retargeting is when you serve display ads to users as they browse the web based on their keyword search behavior. Campaigns are set up with keywords that you choose and that are relevant to your business or products. For example, if you are a furniture retailer, you might want to serve display ads to users who have searched for “leather couch”, or “leather sectional”. This kind of advertising is successful because it uses intent to connect with shoppers. The shopper may or may not know about you, but they are showing interest in a product or solution that you offer. Think of this as an upper funnel, prospecting strategy.
- Site Retargeting
Site retargeting, also known as just “retargeting”, involves showing display ads to users who visited your site and then left without completing a purchase to browse elsewhere. It differs from search retargeting in two important ways: it is not keyword based, and it is targeting people who are already familiar with your brand, or who at least have visited your site once and showed interest in your offerings. Because of this brand recognition, the ROI of site retargeting is often extremely high. Think of this as a lower funnel, conversion focused strategy.
- Predictive Targeting
Predictive targeting uses all of the web browsing data from behavioral targeting, layers in 3rd party data (if available), and applies powerful AI and machine learning to analyze the data and predict future buying patterns based on past behaviors. The AI that powers predictive targeting can make connections between behaviors, identify similar and related products for upselling and cross-selling, and zero in on the shoppers most likely to convert at any given time—all in an instant. And the more data it analyzes, the more it learns and the better its models become.
Importance of Targeting
Targeting in marketing is important because it’s a part of a holistic marketing strategy. It impacts advertising, as well as customer experience, branding, and business operations. When your company focuses on target market segmentation, you can do the following:
- Speak directly to a defined audience
Marketing messages resonate more deeply with audiences when readers can relate directly to the information. Brands that have a large, varied market of customers often struggle with creating marketing campaigns that speak directly to their audience. Because their viewers are very different, few slogans or stories can resonate with each person on a personal level. Through target marketing, you can alleviate this problem and focus on crafting messages for one specific audience.
- Attract and convert high-quality leads
When you speak directly to the people you want to target, you are more likely to attract the right people. Your marketing will more effectively reach the people most likely to want to do business with you. When you connect with the right people, you are then more likely to get high-quality, qualified leads that will turn into paying customers.
- Differentiate your brand from competitors
When you stop trying to speak to every customer in your market and start focusing on a smaller segment of that audience, you also start to stand out from competitors in your industry. When customers can clearly identify with your brand and your unique selling propositions, they will choose you over a competitor that isn’t specifically speaking to or targeting them. You can use your positioning in marketing to make your brand more well-known and unique.
- Build deeper customer loyalty
The ability to stand out from competitors by reaching your customers on a more personal, human level also creates longer-lasting relationships. When customers identify with your brand and feel like you are an advocate for their specific perspectives and needs, they will likely be more loyal to your brand and continue to do business with you over a longer period of time.
- Improve products and services
Knowing your customers more intimately also helps you look at your products and services in a new way. When you have a deep understanding of your target audience, you can put yourself in their shoes and see how you can improve your offerings. You can see what features you can add to better serve your customers.
- Stay focused
Finally, the benefit of using targeting in marketing is that it also serves to help your brand and team. Target marketing allows you to get more specific about your marketing strategies, initiatives, and direction of your brand. It helps you clarify your vision and get everyone in the organization on the same page. You have more direction when it comes to shaping upcoming plans for both marketing and the business as a whole. A focused approach helps you fully optimize your resources, time, and budget.