Target Marketing Definition & Types

Targeting, also called multi-segment marketing, is a marketing strategy that involves identifying specific personas or markets for particular content. Many companies use target marketing to learn more about their consumer behavior and thus create advertisements for specified groups to maximize their response.


  1. Demographic targeting
  2. Geographic targeting
  3. Psychological and behavioral targeting

This strategy is much more useful than mass marketing, as it targets the consumers who are most likely to interact with the product or brand, based on a particular buyer persona. There are many vital targets. Below are the most common:

Demographic Targeting

Demographic targeting is based on age, gender, race, ethnicity, monthly income, education, religion, economic status, and more, and are commonly used in all kinds of marketing.

Using demographics is a tried and tested marketing technique. In fact, it is a foundation for target marketing. By combining various segments, say age and gender, specific consumers can be targeted for products in a myriad of ways, from product placement to advertisements and much more.

A well-known trick using demographics is the selling of cereals for kids. The cereals are advertised on tv during children’s shows using exciting cartoon characters. When taken shopping, the cereal boxes are showcased lower at the eye levels of a child (as opposed to adult’s height), so the child asks for the cereal they saw on t.v, and the parents will buy it for them. Knowing the age and interests (as well as height) of kids leads directly to sales. Demographic targeting at its finest!

Knowing demographics also help push sales if a specific product is not performing as well as desired. If a product is selling in the 25 to 40 male demographic but isn’t in the 25 to 40 female demographic, advertisements specifically targeted at those women can be made to boost its sales. On the other hand, if a product is for women aged 25 to 40, the ads will focus mainly on women in 25 to 40 demographics. An example of this is birth control ads, which are often played during shows popular with women in that age range, to reach the specific target audience.

Geographic Targeting

This targeting is based on a particular location and can be as broad as a region or country, or as specific as a city and neighborhood.

Also known as geotargeting or geo-filtering, gathering geographic information (such as city, state, IP addresses) and then targeting consumers within specific locations has proven to be a very efficient marketing strategy, as it results in ads being sent to precisely the right people in the right place.

An instance of this would be sending ads out for a local-to-the-consumer car dealership vs. advertisements for the brands in general. The generic ads may entice interest, but a local ad will have a higher chance of resulting in an actual sale.

Geographic targeting also uses the info on where the consumer goes regularly or has been to in the past in order to create interest and habit personas, which can be valuable in selecting what group the consumer belongs from. On more practical levels, knowing the consumer’s geographic information ensures they are within the target area of the service or product you are offering.

Psychological & Behavioral Targeting

Such targeting uses previous purchases, personality traits, favorite places, shopping habits, even “Likes” on Facebook or their Twitter, and opinions, etc.

Knowing the consumer’s personality can considerably enhance the effectiveness of a marketing campaign. Are they extroverted or introverted? Depending on which word selection can be everything. Are they an impulsive buyer or someone who makes rather thought out and well-planned decisions? Think about how to best pitch your sale to them. Have they already bought the product? Is it time to sell them that product a second time or offer something new but related to it?

Using data gathered about the potential consumer’s psychological and behavioral patterns using web cookies gives much more than a one-up in figuring out how to sell a service or product to them, as you can influence them and predict their responses better. Facebook Ads algorithm is perhaps the most common use of behavioral targeting. It sometimes seems the second you even think of a product, that product suddenly pops up in your news feed. By examining your previous interactions, likes, comments, interests, and personality, their program can match ads to their target audience almost flawlessly. Can you tell me you haven’t bought something you didn’t know you need until you saw its ad on Facebook? I don’t think many people can answer that question with a “NO”.

Taking into consideration a person’s thoughts and opinions is very vital too. Political views, entertainment preferences (even something as straightforward as tablet reader vs. paperbook enthusiast), what types of websites they follow can all make a big difference in how a marketing initiative is perceived. Targeting the right group or not is the primary difference between a hit and a miss when opinions are involved. People hold their beliefs, opinions, and preferences very dearly, and it will cost you very not to respect that.

Targeting comes in many forms and shapes – any group of people is a potential target group. Utilizing one of the above is a sure way to improve your marketing campaign. However, there’s still plenty of opportunities in fields like loyalty and brand awareness, in which you target people who are already your customers in a different way than potential future customers.

Ultimately, demographics, geographies, psychological, and behavioral tactics lie at the root of success in target marketing campaigns. Knowing who you actually want to convert and then targeting your content at the specific consumer can carry you to successful marketing endeavors.