This article looks at the concept of target marketing and why it is so important to your business.

Suppose you were given a bow and three arrows only to attempt to shoot some moving animals. Your task is to shoot three animals. Your best strategy would not be to shoot into the air and hope that the arrows land on the 3 animals.

There are two things you would most likely do: first you would need to have your eye on one specific animal you want to shoot and the second is that you would position yourself appropriately to take the best aim possible, based on where you are standing in relation to the animal. We could also take it further to say you might want to make sure to use the arrow that best works for which animal. The arrow that is most heavily tipped with a tranquilizer would be best for a larger animal if that is the one you choose to target while the lighter poison tipped arrow would apply to a smaller animal.

Does this begin to give you an idea about why marketing professionals keep talking about target marketing? In the foregoing example above, you did two important things that are similar to what marketing professionals do in target marketing. You segmented the market by looking at them as big and small animals and decided which one to go after, you then targeted specific animals and positioned yourself appropriately to ensure your aim was good in taking down the animals of your choice.

Target marketing can be easy to do although some elements of it has to involve some research which small business owners usually don’t want to get involved in. Target marketing starts as soon as you identify that a need exists for what you want to offer to the market. Because it is difficult to please everyone and still remain profitable, you need to decide who you have put your goods or services up for. This takes into consideration various factors especially with what competition is doing and how you want to play against that competition.

The unfortunate truth is that most people start up their business because they have seen others doing same and it ‘appears to be making money’. It might be that the market is already saturated in that specific area which means there would be very little market to share for the businesses there to sustain themselves.

It is not uncommon among small business owners to give the response of ‘everybody’ to the question of ‘who is your product or service for? There are very few products that are for ‘everybody. Even water has different types for different people – pure water(this was available at a time), sachet water and bottled water. The bottled water comes as the normal water we buy in traffic and in the local mom and pop shops everyday and there are the more sophisticated others like mineral water and table water that are served in hotels. All is water but they are targeting different people because preferences are different.

So many other examples exist to buttress this point about segmentation and targeting. Think of a few more. What about salt? How have companies segmented the market for people who need salt?

In part 2 of the article we will look at some lessons in doing your target market correctly.