Target Market vs.  Demographic

You probably know that, in today’s marketing landscape, you have to create tailored campaigns that call out a specific audience in order to make every single marketing dollar count.

By Kurt Webber

At the end of the day, not all consumers have a want or need for all products, so identifying which ones would value your product or service can go a really long way. It can boost your bottom line while helping you reach a range of other marketing goals along the way.

In the past, marketers were forced to cast a wider net — effectively throwing metaphorical wads of cash at a mass market in the hopes that one or two consumers might bite — but today, we understand that customers demand a more personalized experience, and that they’re more likely to tune out ads and brands that don’t apply to them. Decades of mass market advertisements have weakened the power of the ad, so new strategies are vital to success.

Ad targeting alone (the practice of narrowing down your digital ads to target a specific group of people) is almost twice as effective as non-specific advertising. But creating a targeted ad campaign is a challenge and one that requires you to understand the needs, wants and behaviors of your core market. How do you do that? It all comes down to segmenting them into different groups based on their habits, traits and other key factors.

Understanding phrases like “target marketing” and “demographics” will help you lay the foundation.

How These Terms Differ

These two marketing buzzwords are invaluable to the marketer with her eye on the target, so to speak. Although they’re often used interchangeably, they have very different meanings. With that being said, they do work closely together. Essentially, demographics are used to inform and identify a target market, so we can think of them as some of the broadest yet most basic factors to creating a hyper-targeted marketing plan.

  • Demographics — Demographics are observable, measurable identifiers that can be attributed to a group of people. They include things like age, gender, education level, household income, race, parental status, religion and geographic location. Any group of people can be classified by demographics in order to help define a target market. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to create a target market without demographics!
  • Target Market — On the other hand, your target market is the group of existing or potential customers that you want to target in a specific ad campaign. Demographics will help you segment your consumers by value. For example, you might find that single moms in their 30s who have a college degree spend more on your product than other groups. That indicates that marketing dollars spent targeting that cluster will be wisely spent.

STP Marketing and Other Strategies

One of the ways marketers use these segmenting basics to their advantage is through what’s known as STP marketing. STP stands for segmentation, targeting and positioning. The STP model is an audience-focused marketing strategy rather than a product-focused one. It requires three important steps: market segmentation, market targeting and product positioning. Together, these three steps help deliver the right ads to the right groups.

Demographics and target marketing are vital parts of the STP model. During segmentation, marketers must identify key demographics and break down audience by age, gender, income, ethnicity, profession, education, household size and other factors. To complement demographics, many marketing experts recommend further segmenting by psychographics, or the personality traits and emotions of an audience.

Various other time-tested marketing strategies rely on targeting. Many times, marketers and researchers will use specialized segmenting techniques — including objective segmentation, non-objective segmentation and the CHAID model — to help further segment markets by demographic. Once the market is segmented and targeted, you must position your ads or content so that it reaches the right audience at the right time.

Why It Matters

Every step of your marketing strategy must work for you, from the brand messaging on your product labels to the way you interact with consumers on social media. When we get really specific about where we spend our ad dollars, every single one brings a bigger return on investment. But there’s a bigger reason for why hyper-focused marketing works: Consumers prefer it.

In fact, consumers say that they prefer targeted ads over random ads, and the majority of them say they’ve used targeted online ads to help them find an offer or product that they wouldn’t otherwise know about. In other words, using demographics and focusing on your target market can improve opinions on your brand and actually make users want to engage more.

But targeted marketing isn’t only about digital, though it’s clear that creating hyper-specific campaigns is easier online than off. Understanding everything about your core market will help you create a stronger overall brand message, whether you’re redesigning your packaging, sending out mailers with custom shipping labels or honing a brand-new influencer campaign.

The Personalization Factor

Another important thing to consider when weighing whether or not to use STP marketing or any other model that relies on targeted advertising is that it can help you meet other marketing goals along the way. Experts are already calling 2018 the year of personalization in marketing. That’s because it’s clearer now than ever that customers don’t just prefer, but demand, a personalized experience online and off.

Of course, when you build a marketing strategy that’s totally tailored to the consumer, there’s a good chance that he or she will have a more personalized experience. This leads to better reviews, more customer engagement and a better overall image of your company. Make sure that you’ve built a marketing foundation that works for you and leverages every single dollar spent with targeting and personalization. It’s proven to work!

Kurt Webber started Blanco in 1996 after working in the label industry for more than 10 years.  As a Salesman, Sales Manager, then Vice President of Sales for Southern Atlantic Label in Chesapeake, VA he gained a strong knowledge of the label and printing industry. Following Southern Atlantic, Kurt was Vice President of Sales at Custom Printed Products in Shreveport Louisiana. Kurt has experience with most every known Pressure Sensitive Label application and is very involved in Production and Marketing at Blanco.

Marketing stock photo by non c/Shutterstock