If you try to target everyone you end up not reaching anyone. It’s a concept that is not too difficult to understand but is all too often ignored by companies in their marketing efforts. Let’s talk about the 3 steps of reaching and appealing to your audience; Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning.

1. Segmentation – Segmentation is the grouping of your consumers based on some sort of criteria. It can be based on location, demographics, or any other measure. The idea is that those grouped together are likely to respond similarly to a marketing action because of their similar characteristics, behaviors, or needs.

It’s important to know that the same population can be segmented in various different ways depending on how you are trying to appeal to them. So for example you could segment all the visitors to a mall on a given day either by the age group they fit into (teens, adults, elderly, etc.), or by what they bought at the mall (clothes, food, appliances, etc.).

2. Targeting – At this point you need to determine your target market. You must determine the attractiveness of each segment by asking questions as:

  • Is this segment large enough to be worth my time?
  • Does this segment have the potential of being profitable?
  • What sort of competition will I face by targeting this segment?

From here on out you ignore all the segments except the ones you’ve chosen and focus the current campaign on targeting just these consumers. Keep in mind that your target market has to find value in what you’re offering. You can choose to target different segments with different campaigns. For example, Dodge sells cars, but it targets mothers to sell Caravan’s and speed junkies to sell Charger’s.

3. Positioning  – This is arguably the most important step in the process. It’s crucial to position your product, service, or brand to appeal to your target market in order for the consumer to have any interest in what you’re offering. Similarly, your positioning must be done in a way that creates value for your offering. Here’s a simple visual test to prove my point. Imagine your driving down a country road and you saw these signs:

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Which one would prompt you to make the purchase?

Driving further down the road you see another pair of signs:

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Now which sign would you most likely react to?

This demonstrates the importance of positioning what you’re offering in a way that appeals to your audience. Be aware that “shiny and polished” isn’t always the best way to produce a sales response.

It’s as simple as that…Segment the market, target the appropriate segment, and position yourself to appeal most to your target.