In order to build a strong and resilient brand, it is critical to form a relationship with one’s target market. Business owners, management, and marketing departments need to align their brand offering with the consumer if they want to ensure profit and long-term growth.
In my view, few brands out there have the financial means and reach to successfully target and market to all consumers. I would say Coca-Cola would probably be one of the very few brands that have the marketing spend and resources to successfully reach such a wide audience.
With the proliferation of technology, media fragmentation, and changing consumer preferences, brands need to understand the paradigm shift. This shift incorporates a move away from mass market toward niche. The real opportunity for brands lies in connecting with a niche group. To help navigate this change, it is vital that business owners and marketing departments identify and lock-down their target market.
By whittling down the mass market to the core user group or audience, brands are able to reap a significant reward. For one, they are able to create more tailored solutions and brand offerings, their message can be highly-targeted and crafted for impact, and they are able to speak to consumers in a more personal way thereby improving engagement levels.
In both my brand consulting and lecturing work, I have seen the shift to relationship-based brand and business building. Being consistent, reliable, and delivering timeously is important to establish a relationship with the consumer. Brand builders need to keep this in mind.
Segment your Target Market
Internationally renowned marketing expert Philip Kotler puts forward several segmentation variables, summarised below, to help classify or categorise consumers:
Demographics calls for brands to look at consumers in terms of physical attributes such as age, gender, and race, as well as economic factors such as income and occupation. This allows business owners and marketers to physically identify their target market.
Psychographics look at consumers’ thoughts, attitudes, opinions, impressions, and feelings. All of which impact how solutions are conceived and delivered.
Behavioural segmentation looks at the behaviour of the consumer in terms of what the buy, when they buy, and how often. It incorporates questions such as: how frequently do they purchase the product, are they a heavy-user or a light-user of the product/service/brand, which brand(s) do they buy, where do they buy from?
Geographic segmentation refers to where the consumer lives. It can be identified in terms of broad regions e.g. urban, rural, inland etc. or can be specific e.g. country, city, town etc. Brands need to consider the geographic segmentation in relation to the offering, selling a heater on a humid coastline won’t yield the same sales as fans or air-conditioning.
Identifying the audience is the first step towards understanding them better, which in turn can facilitate relationship building. Being able to serve and meet the needs, wants, and desires of the consumer is an important foundation for relationship building.