What is Customer Targeting?.

Customer targeting is an important part of any branding effort. Here I define customer targeting and demonstrate its place in an overall brand campaign.

A definition of customer targeting:

Customer targeting, or simply targeting, refers to the seller of a product or service going through the steps of specifically and clearly profiling the types of customers who will likely want to buy that product or service.

A comprehensive profile of the target customer group might include such factors as geographical location, income level, level of comfort with hi-technology, whether they drive an automobile, what type of music they listen to, and/or many, many others. It is important for the seller to pinpoint what qualities are most relevant about the product or service in terms of how those qualities might affect who purchases it. At that point, the seller can proceed to build a solid profile of the target customer group, or segment.

Sellers can realize three important benefits from taking the time to profile their target customers. First, they can tailor the features of their product or service even more precisely to the needs of the target customer segment.

Second, they can more specifically call out to or speak to their target customers in their ad campaigns, thereby allowing the seller to more directly get the attention of the people who might actually want to make a purchase.

Third, customer targeting can save the seller a tremendous amount of money by allowing the seller to develop more directed and efficient ad campaigns. By only contacting people within the target customer segment, the seller can afford not to buy expensive TV or newspaper placement and can instead put her advertising budget into more focused pieces such as direct mail, geo-targeted pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, and opt-in e-mail campaigns.

Targeting is an important step in an overall brand campaign. In terms of sequence, it should occur after the seller has developed a brand identity but before formulating tangible image associations, creating messaging and logos, determining advertising channels, etc. If carried out early enough in the product development cycle, the results of the customer targeting can be used to fine-tune product or service features, influence the marketing efforts, and inform other customer-facing materials.

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