Target Market and Marketing Effort

Happy 2011! I thought I would start the year off with a few comments about marketing strategy so we get off to a good start.

I seem to come across a consistent problem when working on projects that I think needs some clarification. It has to do with marketing effort/activity and aligning it to the target market for the product/service you’re selling.


The majority (75-80%) of a company’s marketing effort should be directed at their “primary” target market. This is their core franchise and represents the bulk of their sales. This group should be well defined and understood by the company. Everyone in the company should know who their core customer is. A good way to illustrate this is to picture what a Pepsi drinker would look like if they walked in the room. Everyone should have the same general idea of what that person looked like. The same goes for your product, everyone should know who that core user looks like and where to find them.

A secondary target market should also be defined and perhaps account for 20-25% of your marketing effort (red area). After that, the rest is sales/revenue you achieve by ‘default’ not design. Marketers seem to struggle with this concept of focus and aligning marketing effort and want to set their sites too broadly and attract non-users. All this does is dilute your marketing effort against your core franchise.

Non-users or infrequent buyers of your product/service should account for a very small part of your marketing effort unless you’re in a mature category and trying to re-energize a old brand. In fast moving consumer products or in the technology market you need to have a well defined target market so you can maximize your return on investment.

In some cases the marketing effort is too broadly based because the company or marketing person doesn’t really have a well defined target market…..it’s loosely based on secondary research or gut feel. An easy way to improve your marketing effort or ROI is to revisit your target market definition and make sure you have a crystal clear definition that everyone can understand. Once you have this clarity then all other marketing decisions become much easier and your alignment improves.

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