X marks the spot – the importance of target marketing

Andres Mongrue, Associate Regional Director at Starcom MediaVest Group, MENA offers his thoughts on why it is so important for markets to identify, and aim for, a target market…

For many of the largest clients present in the Middle East today, segmenting audiences is of critical importance.

“Half my advertising is wasted, I just don’t know which half.” – John Wanamaker, American Retailer, (1838-1922).

While the sentiment behind Wanamaker’s famous statement still rings true for some marketers today, a lot has changed since he originally turned the phrase. In today’s turbulent business economy, the need to maximise ROI for each dollar spent continues to drive marketers away from wasteful mass targeting choices of the past toward more efficient targeted communication.

The concept behind target marketing is simple; target relevant communication to the relevant audience in the right place and at the right time when they are most receptive to your message. This approach continues to replace mass communication of the past, where marketers targeted everyone with the same message in the hopes of it falling on their target audience – an approach that has proven to be costly and ineffective.

For many of the largest clients present in the Middle East today, segmenting audiences is of critical importance. Take, for example, a market like Egypt, which boasts a population exceeding 80 million; to reach everyone with one message would be highly inefficient for even the biggest media spenders. A marketer selling a line of shampoo products, for instance, would be better off identifying need-based target groups and focusing relevant communication to them. A mother of three living in rural Egypt will have a very different motivation for her purchase decisions, as well as a different set of media choices, versus a young millennial living in Cairo. Through a unique set of media choices such as digital, mobile and social, the marketer can deliver tailored messaging intended for the millennial, while TV speaks to the rural mother. This approach would lead to a much more efficient market strategy than trying to reach all 40-plus million women in Egypt at once.

While the concept of target marketing may not be new, the emergence of digital and data has changed how marketers go about it. As media companies such as Facebook evolve from a social media network to a $212 billion-dollar Tech company, they open up new possibilities on how to leverage the deluge of data available around the 1.44 billion users on their platforms. Today, marketers have at their disposal online behavioral data that allows them to get as granular as possible to target consumers by their purchases, interests, behaviors and even intent. The growing complexity can be daunting, but the best marketers are embracing this change and simplifying their approaches by always bringing their targeting strategies back to the business objective at hand.

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