Challenges of Communicating With Target Market Segments

Instructor: Lynn Doerr

Lynn has worked in various aspects of marketing for many years and has a Master's degree in Marketing Communication.

Diverse target segments within a population require marketing strategies equipped to address differences - differences in preferences and needs as well as communication styles and venues. Marketers confront these challenges by customizing messages and the medium for each audience.

Communicating with Target Markets

Ideally a marketer tries to define a customer type for their product and develop a strategy and the corresponding tactics to best appeal to them. But what do marketers do when there are various customer types for the same product? Customers can have different communication preferences or may even see a product as serving different needs. This is when the marketer needs to think more critically about how to appeal to different audiences - men versus women, old versus young, and even different ethnicities.

Customer Types


Let's take a look at an example to better understand the different types of markets that may exist for one product and how marketing efforts can be tailored to each one. Consider the marketing efforts for a car. The marketing team has already done market research and has identified three key customer types and their motivations when car shopping:

  • Parents - looking for a safe car for their family
  • Men - looking for a stylish and fast car, well-equipped with modern technology
  • Women - looking for a stylish and safe car, well-equipped with modern technology

Each market is slightly different in how they evaluate a car and determine which model will best fit their needs. There are two key elements to consider when designing the marketing campaign - the message itself about how the product meets a certain need; and the medium used to communicate the message. The market research revealed information unique to each customer type that will allow the marketers to tailor message content and how and where the messages are delivered.

Car Shopping
Evaluating a Car


Let's start with the message. The marketing campaign will need to address the different needs if they want their messages to resonate with the different types of customers. For instance, a man shopping for a car may want to make a statement by having state-of-the-art features while parents may be more concerned with features that ensure the safety of their children. So messages need to be tweaked to appeal to the different audiences. The one common factor is that the car provides transportation but how each customer type wants to experience transportation is different. The message needs to reflect needs that may vary from 'a driving experience supported by the latest technology' to 'the safest drive your money can buy.' Different audiences respond to different messages.

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