Targeting Customers The Key to Marketing Your Business

Know your audience. This simple principle is the basis of all marketing. Without targeted customers in mind, a marketing plan can seem very daunting. And without a marketing plan your efforts can become scattered and counterproductive to your image development. Targeted customer groups will direct your energy into strategic, focused and successful marketing. This article will guide you through target customer identification and how to use your analysis as a tool for marketing campaigns.

So, who are your target customers? If you say, "women, aged 20-60 with middle to upper income levels," then you have only scratched the surface of your customer analysis.

The biggest weakness we saw in our 2006 Business Development Grant competition entries was the lack of targeted customer definitions. The above statement is not targeting. It describes an enormous population in this country with very little in common with each other. Moreover, targeting is more than just basic demographics like age and income. Jewelry is an emotional purchase. Targeting needs to include tastes, interests and self-image or "psychographics." To be a successful marketer of your products, you must define your primary customer base in much greater detail.

It is true that your jewelry may appeal to a wide range of women. However, you should see that your designs sell best to a core group that has a great deal in common with one another. These commonalities will extend beyond just preferences in jewelry. To identify a primary target group it is a good idea to start with yourself. Your demographics, tastes and design style will likely appeal to people very similar to you. Try answering these questions about yourself and the majority of your clients.

What are your family situations?
Where do you live?
What are your career situations?
What are your primary social activities?
What are your hobbies?
What clothing stores do you frequently visit?
What are your definitions of a typical night on the town?

Now consider the following three example target groups defined by these parameters:

Young Urbanites
Women 22-30

Modern Stay at Home Mommies
Women 27-40

Power Suits
Women 40-60

Now imagine the types of accessories that would appeal to each of these target groups. What would each type of woman wear on her night on the town? What would they wear Monday through Friday? Where would they look for their accessories? The answers are very different from one group to the next.

These are just a few of the hundreds of target groups possible. You can play with the identification parameters to make groups fairly broad or extremely specific. Many nationally recognized target groups have become household names. You have probably heard of Soccer Moms, Yuppies, DINKS (dual income no kids), Gen Xers, Babyboomers and more. Some groups are closely related or even overlap. How would you imagine women in the following target groups? Yoga Health Nuts, Religious Conservatives, Metaphysical Enthusiasts, Globetrotting Adventurers, Soho Loft Artists.

Target group analysis is a useful behind-the-scenes tool for savvy marketers. These classifications are not intended to be offensive or stereotypical. Instead, they are means of identifying people with similar tastes in order to effectively reach them with products tailored to their lifestyles. It is much more specific and achievable to develop a marketing approach for Young Urbanites than it is to successfully sell to all American women with a pulse, especially when you have limited available funds.

You will always have customers outside of your target groups. But, remember that you cannot successfully appeal to everyone all the time. Use your target customer profiles to direct your efforts and prioritize your spending to maximize impact. Below are marketing plan outlines for the three example groups in this article. Refer back to the group descriptions above as you read each plan. Notice that the plans are specific and actionable.

Young Urbanites

Modern Mommies

Power Suits

If you are a new business, you will be most successful branding your jewelry line if you stick to 1-2 target groups. Adding geographic target zones will make this process even easier. Consider Young Urbanites in San Francisco and Chicago, for example. Targeting will also help you determine what approach to take with your writing and graphic designs for sales materials.

Marketing can be overwhelming when you are not sure where to start. Identifying your target customers is the best place to begin. With target group information in hand, the rest falls into place. Then it is a matter of researching each exposure opportunity and budgeting your marketing dollars. At every step ask yourself how your target customers would respond. Once you know your audience, the answers will be at your fingertips.

Copyrighted by Halstead Bead, Inc., supplier of wholesale chain, findings, wire & beads for jewelry designers.

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