When you want to market your products or services, the first thing you need to do is to determine your target market. Once target market is determined, you can then use the four P in marketing to decide how to approach your target market. The Four P referred here is product, price, place (distribution) and promotion.

So, why is target market important? The main reason is that company exists for a reason. It needs to differentiate itself from competition in order to survive. For example if you have decided to sell bottled water to the general mass in the urban area, then good luck with that. In the US, Pepsi and Coke has widespread distribution of bottled water consumption through its Aquafina and Dasani brand. If you still insists on selling bottled water, then you need to narrow your target market.

For example, instead of selling to the general mass, your target market for the bottled water can be physically active individuals who avoids thirst quenchers such as Gatorade when they exercise. Once you identify this target market, you would then use the four P to differentiate yourself from regular bottled water. For example, in terms of place (distribution), you can avoid places such as fast food restaurants or lounges. Statistically, people who are exercising, seldom visit these places. You would then concentrate your distribution on places such as the school’s sporting facility.

While choosing your target market seems trivial, it will cost you a lot of marketing dollars if done incorrectly. Let’s assume that you do not decide what your target market is and you are now using the four P in marketing to market your product. You would then distribute your bottled water to places such as convenience stores, gas stations and the shopping mall. Will you capture audiences who are physically more active than the population? Yes, you will. But, the percentage of that audience is small compared to if you focus your distribution on that target market. As a result, you spend large amount of money to capture a small portion of the audience. Worse still, big companies such as Pepsi and Coke are now aware that you are invading their turf. The next thing they’ll do is to bombard the mass media with advertisement and price cut to make your products invisible. If they do it long enough, your survival may be in question. Therefore, choosing your target market is really important before marketing your products.

In the online world, you need to choose your target market too. Once you choose your target market, the four P should reflect this decision. For example, if your target market is individuals who are looking for ways to invest their money, you should not advertise in general audience such as CNN. Your marketing budget will be more effective if you spend your money in financial website such as Yahoo! Finance or The Motley Fool.

Same thing with your distribution channel. If you distribute your content to the general article directory, you will get loads of visitors who may not be interested in your products or services. Furthermore, as discussed earlier, it might attract your bigger competitors thinking that you are trying to take away their lunch. If your bigger competitors are not inept, they will then react accordingly and launch offensive campaigns that will render your marketing campaign useless.

Fortunately, nowadays, there are plenty of niche article directories allowing marketers to publish articles of certain field. Thus, smaller publishers can gain more visibility as niche directories generally have less people submitting their contents. Furthermore, larger competitors are reluctant to publish their contents there. The reason is that they have a larger cost overhead. Focusing on small target market will not do them any good. It is their loss. But you, my friend, should not miss this opportunity. It is one of the most efficient way of using your marketing dollars.

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