Target, Segment, Market: Identifying Marketing Channels

| Apr 30, 2012

To get your message in front of your target market and add more clients to your pipeline, you have to learn where your potential clients are and how to market to them.

Here are a few questions you can ask to help identify the right channels for your marketing efforts.

Q1 – Who is my Target Market?

First, a definition: A marketing channel is any avenue through which your goods and services are available to customers. This means that your retail store and your showroom can be considered marketing channels, as could in-home appointments, as could architects and homebuilders.

Note: A particular group could be considered both a marketing channel and a target market. For example, if you’re using architects to reach homeowners, the architects are a marketing channel; if you’re looking to reach the architects themselves, they are your target market.

How do you identify your best marketing channels? You'll need to identify your target markets. Start by asking general questions about your customers:

  • Who are your most profitable clients?
  • Which group of customers makes up the bulk of your business?
  • What do all of these customers have in common?
  • What is the age range and median age?
  • Is the group primarily male or female?
  • Are they urban dwellers or suburbanites?
  • Are they highly educated?
  • What are their special interests or hobbies?
  • What is their income range?

Once you have answered these questions, segment your target markets into groups based on similar characteristics. Those characteristics might include age, income, or buying patterns.

Q2 – What are the Best Marketing Channels?

Examples of marketing channels might include architects and interior designers, homebuilders and remodelers, local and national trade publications for the building and remodeling industries, or end consumers themselves.

Each channel will have its pros and cons. For instance, architects and designers are in a great position to recommend technology to the homeowner, but a belief that home technology is incompatible with great design might make them reluctant to do so. End consumers are the most direct route to the sale, but are so diverse they’re difficult to target. You’ll want to focus on the channel or channels that have the most impact, the most revenue, and the fewest barriers to entry.

You will have to evaluate both the time and money you have budgeted for marketing to determine which channels should receive your marketing focus. Dividing your focus among too many channels may spread your marketing efforts too thin to be effective, so be sure you are careful in selecting the channels you will focus on.

Q3 – What’s the Best Marketing Technique?

When considering whether a marketing technique will be effective, answer the following questions:

  • Will it generate additional revenue?
  • Will it reach a new client base?
  • Will you become a better company by marketing to these clients?

Different marketing channels will require different marketing techniques. For example, lunch-and-learns offering content such as the courses available through the CEDIA Outreach Instructor program might be one of the best ways to reach architects and/or designers. This technique establishes you as a resource rather than another vendor and helps the architect or designer understand how your work can benefit them.

Builders, on the other hand, might be most receptive to specialized offerings such as consistent packages that are builder-specific. They may respond to the repeatability and profitability this solution offers.

It is essential to continuously monitor and evaluate your marketing strategy, and make adjustments based on the results of your efforts. Identify “success factors” – indicators that will show your efforts are having the desired result – and place emphasis on the efforts that yield the most success. Success factors might include increased sales, increased profitability, or increased customer satisfaction.