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The Target Marketing Myth

The hottest marketing term being thrown around today is “target marketing”. People are making tons of money on this term. It is so ill defined, that no one can tell you exactly what it is. How big or how small it is. What the defining parameters are, how to measure it, or how to actually observe it. As business owners please don’t fall into the trap of marketing professionals who tell you, “You are not targeting your market”. Hell they can’t even operationally define it. What’s more, let them try to measure it. Other than that, just ignore me, and spend your money any way you want without measurable results.

What is Target Marketing?

There are many definitions, and I don’t have enough room to put them down here.  Technically speaking, target marketing has been closely aligned with terms “niche” marketing, and “market segmentation”. Which are very nice sounding terms however, they lack good scientific vigor with regard to a definition. Honestly, if you jump on the web for a definition for target marketing you will find that the term is so grossly defined that you could drive a battle ship through the holes in the definition.

How is it measured?

It’s impossible, because there is not an operational definition for it. Good luck with spending those marketing dollars.

Can a Target Market be too small?

Well supposedly it can be. However, it really is based more in how much money you are making. If you are only selling to 10 people but they are paying you a million dollars a year, and you are happy with that, then I guess it’s not too small. There are companies that make fabulous money selling personalized private jets to very few people.

Can a Target Market be too large?

Well supposedly it can be. Ha! Don’t you love it, it’s the same answer as above. The definitions of “target marketing” do not define the parameters. However, I read an article where a company target marketed an entire country. Although think about toilet paper companies? Who is their target market? Better yet who is NOT the target market? If I find out who those people are, I will not be shaking hands with them. I guess it’s anybody that doesn’t produce human internal waste. Hmmm. I guess if they don’t produce human waste, I suppose they are dead. So I guess toilet paper companies don’t target dead people.

Is there any value to target marketing?

Well let me save you several hundred dollars on this one. Here are some things you already know but will be told to you in different way.

  1. Only try to sell your goods or services to people who can afford them.
  2. Only try to sell goods or services you actually have an expertise at selling.
  3. Only sell your goods or services in geographical area you actually serve.
  4. Only try to sell your goods or services to people who actually want or need them.

Are you target marketing on the web?

Well I have a question is your web marketing working? If you respond yes to this question, by definition you are evidently “target marketing”. If you say no, then evidently you are not. Can you see how much B.S. this is? I discussed this with my good friend and colleague Brad Carroll, author and CEO of Dakno Marketing, Inc. We batted target marketing around on IM for a good 30 minutes, when I brought up the definition of “target marketing” of as “if your marketing is working you are target marketing, if it isn’t your not target marketing”. He gave me a “smiley”  and simply said, “yeah”.

What came first the Success or the Target Marketing?

Talk to the Chicken or the Egg.

What is the answer?

First of all, I don’t claim to have all the answers. I do know that I have been quite successful with clients businesses on the web, and I don’t spend a whole lot of time worrying about target marketing. Although Brad says I am, I just don’t know it. I am not sure he knows for sure, because we can’t even define the darn thing clear enough to know if you are doing it or not. However, I do know a few things that I have found to be very effective through trial and error.

  1. Don’t be something online that you are not in person.
  2. Don’t work with people that you don’t like working with and make sure there is not something on your website that is attracting them.
  3. Figure out who you want to work with, understand them as completely as you can psychologically and focus your content to that group.
  4. Don’t be afraid to try something way outside of the box.
  5. Know how people behave on the web (My next post will focus on this topic)

If you can do these 5 things don’t worry about nebulous terms like “target marketing”.

Ciao for now.

Dr. Jay

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