Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Marketing Online? Identify Your Target Market…

Marketing online can be difficult and time consuming if you are not marketing to the correct audience. Identifying the target market can help your company find opportunities and ways to market to a specific market online. The target market provides information needed to focus on the consumers who may be interested in your products. Once your target market is identified, you can save time and money in these rough economic times.

Entrepreneur.com defines a target market as “A specific group of consumers at which a company aims its products and services.” These specific groups are the individuals you want to buy your products. The target market can be divided into segments that include demographics, income levels, age, etc.

To further categorize your target market, you should understand the differences among the four generations; Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y. Each generation have different needs, wants, and desires.

Born between 1922-1945

Traditionalists are also known as Veterans, the Silent Generation and the Greatest Generation. This generation possesses nearly seventy-five percent of the American wealth and contains executive leaders from some of the most established and leading companies in the US. This group not only survived the Great Depression of the 1930s but shaped the US economic and military power.

The Traditionalists are viewed as being rational thinkers when it comes to spending money. When extra money exists, most would prefer to pay bills or spend the money on children or grandchildren. You’ll most likely see people from this generation taking their time on a purchase and thinking the purchase over. They are seen as being very frugal with their money.

Baby Boomers:
Born between 1946-1964

There are about 75 million Baby Boomers in the US, which represents about twenty-nine percent of the US population. This generation is the largest generation among the four. The Baby Boomers signify the boom of births after WWII soldiers returned home.

Unlike the Traditionalists, the Baby Boomers have a different view on money. They are known to spend most of their money on health and wellness, improving their appearance, and purchasing items of the highest quality that they can afford. Baby Boomers think cost effectively and require high levels of services when making a large purchase. This generation is viewed as the most “savvy” generation among the other three.

Generation X:
Born between 1965-1980

Generation X grew up in an era of political stupidity and emerging technology. This generation included the Watergate scandal and other political fiascos that were brought to light by the media. Also, handheld calculators replaced heavy adding machines and computers were now offered as desktop appliances, unlike computers from the Traditionalists that were the size of whole buildings and whole rooms for the Baby Boomers.

Generation Xers look to peer influence, value and convenience when making a purchasing decision. Generation Xers are also brand loyal, meaning they purchase items of a particular brand repeatedly because of product satisfaction. They prefer to purchase more organic foods and environmental friendly products.

Generation Y:
Born between 1981- Present

Generation Y, also known as the Millennials, have grown up in an era of technology. They have always known cable television, cellular phones, pagers, voicemail, laptop computers and video games. Technological advancements in media and communication drive their expectations for convenience.

These young shoppers look for fashionable clothing, trends, and purchase items for entertainment value, such as the iPod. Their purchasing behaviors are very impulsive, and depend on friend recommendations and written reviews.

The following are a few questions you should ask yourself when identifying the target market:

- Are your target customers male or female?
- How old are they?
- Where do they live? Is geography a limiting factor?
- How much money do your customers make?
- What other aspects of the customers’ lives matter? Do they prefer luxury items?

In order to market effectively to a generation, you must find ways to grab your target markets attention by using a message that relates with them. The lifestyles and social values of the different generations influence their purchasing power. These can be determined by understanding factors like income, education, gender and much more. To be efficient in your online marketing, you must understand the motivations of your target market with the underlying values of their generation. You can then design your online advertisement to match and communicate to the needs and desires of your targeted generation.