Overview of Target Markets

What is a target market?

A target market is a market segment that has been deliberately selected by an organization, in order to focus their marketing efforts. Organizations may have several target markets and will typically have distinct market offerings each of them.

The concept of a target market is an important aspect of modern day marketing, especially as the vast majority of firms focus on the needs of a particular market segment/s, rather than the overall market (which is known as mass marketing). The starting point of the marketing concept, which is the foundation of most marketing textbooks, is the selection of a target market.

Definition of a target market

Definitions for target markets tend to be reasonably similar across most marketing textbooks as follows:

  • A target market is a market segment that has been deliberately selected by an organization in order to focus their marketing efforts and offerings.


Why are target markets important?

Virtually all organizations today focus their marketing efforts on specific target markets. Certainly in previous business eras, it was more common for organizations to have a fairly generic offering and engage in what is referred to as mass marketing. However, with the increased level of competition, particularly from firms with well-defined market offerings, it is very difficult to be successful with this generic approach to marketing.

A target market allows the firm to focus its marketing efforts and develop a unique positioning and marketing mix that strongly matches the needs of that part of the market. This approach is a foundation of modern marketing and is the first part of the marketing concept (which most marketing textbooks use as part of their structural framework).

Without a clear target market, an organization will have a limited understanding of the market, will probably have vague or weak offerings, and will generally have a weakened competitive position. Therefore, defining and pursuing clear target market/s is a critical part of business success.