creating marketing

Target Marketing For Dummies

Target Marketing is all about zeroing in an a specific consumer demographic

Target Marketing is all about zeroing in an a specific consumer demographic

Target (Niche) Marketing Explained In Simplest Terms.

“Targeted (or Niche) Marketing is all about specifically and purposefully marketing to a distinct consumer base. Whether a specific age, gender, race or other profile, it is all about zeroing in on a specific type of customer. As big box stores continue to increase the array of goods they offer, it is becoming necessary for small businesses to appeal to “specifics”. By finding a “niche” they can then build their business supplying goods and services that big box stores simply do not offer.”

So how does one do that? Below we will examine just that by using a simple example – The sandwich board!

Now take the lowly sandwich board. Here is a tool that just decades ago was an esteemed part of any business’s marketing plan. Yet in this era of technology, instant sharing and online commerce, one must ask themselves… does the sandwich board still have a place in our marketing tool box and specifically for use in targeted marketing?

We are here to tell you that yes, yes it does.

In fact simple tools – like the humble sandwich board – can be some of the most effective tools available. What is more, they are ridiculously cost efficient.

“Simple tools are the most practical for small businesses. Small business cannot afford to advertise to EVERYONE via carpet bomb tactics and targeted marketing means nothing if it is off target or if their specific niche consumer base never sees the message. It is crucial for small business owners to understand what works and how to specifically address their target market. How do you do that? by understanding your consumer base.” – Miles Gunnar

Small businesses don’t have the budget to mass-market. Instead they must develop “smart-bomb” (targeted/niche) marketing by creating marketing content that targets the consumers of greatest potential. To do so they must first ascertain WHO those targets are by asking:

  1. WHO are the customers you want to target? (age, demographic, location etc).
  2. WHERE are they that they can be targeted? (where will they see the marketing).
  3. WHEN will they be available to be targeted (when is their attention available).
  4. WHAT is the most effective message to target them with? (what matters to them?).

Essentially you are determining where you need to be, what you need to do and what you need to say to get their attention (a lot like dating actually), then building your marketing content based on that.

“All marketing success is determined by the content and content is determined by knowing the target and specifically addressing them.”

Take this excellent example of a small business using the simplest of marketing tools (a sandwich board) effectively and specifically.

Some of the most effective marketing tools available, are also the simplest.

Some of the most effective marketing tools available, are also the simplest.

For those of you not in the know, this sandwich board has been creatively rendered to portray a slightly modified battle scene from the best-selling and wildly popular Pokemon series of games (which has a massive cult following). Anyone familiar with these games will instantly recognize this image. The sheer popularity of this game within the last 15-20 years of pop-culture makes it easily recognizable with a specific (and wide) demographic.

Let’s examine it’s target:

  1. Because of its “Pokemon” based image, it will likely resonate very positively with a consumer base that spans both genders, most races and predominantly an age group of 8-30 years old.
  2. Being an isolated board on the street outside the shop, it then narrows that targeted audience down to those passing by, which is precisely the consumer base most likely to immediately make a purchase here.

This little sandwich board, with an estimated cost of $100-$150+the artistic labour (likely volunteered by staff), has just addressed all of the necessary target parameters to effectively engage this specific demographic. As outlined above, its content was determined by taking into consideration:

  1. WHO? It knows who it is addressing (specifically those with a knowledge and affection for a widely popular series).
  2. WHERE? On the street outside of the very business it promotes. This means those impacted by this marketing, can instantly follow through with a purchase (as opposed to ad’s found online, on television, in magazine etc).
  3. WHEN? Likely during the lunch or dinner hours, when hungry people are more prone to purchase a taco.
  4. WHAT? The message clearly indicates that taco’s are on the menu, but does so via a creative, fun and insightful means.

This meager sandwich board is going to grab the attention of a specific demographic, one that is in position to immediately make a purchase. Would it be as effective on a website, or social media? YES! However it would then be addressing a slightly different demographic.

Why? is it because sandwich boards are truly that awesome?

No. The sandwich board is no more than the medium, it is carrying the message and in this case the message is what is so effective (Note that the Medium can impact and change the Message and vice versa. The relationship between Medium and Message is a complicated one. For more on that we recommend reading our post here and also familiarizing yourself with Marshall McLuhan and his writings here).

It is enough for now to say that the success of the example above is found in the specific, direct manner and the content being used.

It is true what they say: “Content is King” and it is the specific TARGETED content of your marketing that will make or break your efforts.

This rule applies for advanced marketing tools as well. All marketing success is determined by the content and content is determined by knowing the target and specifically addressing them.


Whether you call it “Target”, “Niche” or “Smart-Bomb” Marketing, the philosophy is the same. Build your marketing and advertising content to address a SPECIFIC set of consumers. Don’t try to reach everyone, you will either run out of money, or build flimsy, ineffective marketing. Discern WHO the BEST consumer base is for your business and then apply yourself to getting their attention.

For more on HOW TO DISCERN YOUR TARGET MARKET we recommend reading this post.

Okanagan Small Business Marketing

Transition Marketing Services is a small business marketing firm in the Okanagan. Our passion Small Business Marketing. Educating and equipping small business owners with the tools and strategies to succeed. We have made it our priority to know Specialized Marketing. We keep up to date on what is new, what is available and what makes the most sense for businesses of all sizes and backgrounds. We recognize that every Small Business is unique, and their Marketing needs to be as well. Visit us at our website and let us know how we’re doing or if you have any questions.