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Provided by the International Finance Corporation

In our previous marketing management articles (The Marketing Concepts, Market Segmentation) we have established that mass marketing is no longer considered effective for most businesses in today’s world of differentiated consumer marketplace. Therefore, most companies no longer tend to generalize the market, but instead they slice it into a number of different, narrowly-defined groups, and then choose the groups to which they aim to sell their products or services. This is called targeting.

The below targeting approaches are typically used to select target markets:

1) Undifferentiated Targeting looks at the entire market as one instead of choosing segments, and employs one-fits-all marketing strategy.

Despite the belief that this approach may be ineffective for most companies or products out there, it is often used by businesses which have very little competition, therefore they rule out the need for spending great amount of resources to adapt their strategies for various audiences.


2) Concentrated Targeting aims its efforts at selling to a well-defined, specific consumer segment by developing a marketing mix appropriate for the given audience.

Companies justify the extra effort and resources spent on a Concentrated Targeting strategy, as they are more likely to directly reach their specific, marketing-savvy consumers by handpicking them out of larger groups.

Many well-known retail brands, for example, have recently shifted their attention to target millennials (people with birth years between the 1980s and 2000s), who, as a number of business magazines forecasted, will be responsible for “30% of all retail sales” by 2020.


3) Multi-Segment Targeting while advantageous requires greater research efforts and more resources. Companies which employ this strategy target more than one of the above mentioned narrowly-defined segments by crafting different strategies for each one of them.  Nonetheless, the Multi-Segment Targeting approach offers a number of benefits to the company such as larger sales volume and bigger market share.

For example, for the mega fast food brand McDonald’s, the main targets are youth, children and low income young urban families (varies from country to country, as McDonald’s  may be considered expensive western food in some developing countries). McDonald’s is known for its affordable menu, kids’ meals and large playgrounds worldwide, making its restaurants a place to be for children or young couples.

You may find one or more of the targeting strategies above appropriate for your product.


Action Plan

Your task as a business owner or a marketing manager is now to choose the targets you wish to serve and develop explicit marketing strategies that suit your target market. 

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