The first few sections of the Principles of Marketing Tutorials have introduced the basic concepts needed as a foundation for building a strong marketing program. In particular, we saw that the essential building blocks for creating a strong marketing program rests with marketing research and a deep understanding of customers. With this groundwork in place, it is now time to turn our attention to strategic decisions undertaken by the marketer to address customers’ needs and help the organization meet its objectives.
As we discussed in the What is Marketing? Tutorial, these decisions include:
- Selecting Target Markets
- Developing Products/Services
- Creating Promotions
- Arranging Distribution
- Setting Price
- Adding Support Services
In this tutorial, we examine decision #1 – how marketers determine which groups of customers to target. This is a critical point in marketing planning since all additional marketing decisions are going to be directed toward satisfying the markets selected.
For those new to marketing, selecting target markets may seem like a relatively easy decision to make. In fact, many inexperienced marketers will simply conclude that “We will just sell to whoever wants to buy.” However, this mindset is both ineffective and inefficient as the marketer is likely to drain resources in their quest to locate those willing to buy. Using a target market approach, an organization attempts to get the most from its resources by following a planned procedure for identifying customers that appear to be the best candidates to respond to the marketer’s message.