Target population

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Target population
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Target population is a set of specific recipients to whom an advertising message is addressed. Chosen in accordance with psychosocial and demographic conditions. Proper establishing a target group and the creation of an advertisement campaign tailored to the group's preferences is one of the most important tasks for the employees of advertising agencies and marketing departments in enterprises. It aids in managing the campaign properly and reaching potential customers. It is also beneficial in choosing the form and type of advertising message. Target populations can be defined as the individuals, groups of people, or companies chosen „for behavioral change by public policy initiatives such as statues, agency guidelines, or operational programs”. Target populations can be understood as „the people who are expected to comply with policy directives or who are offered policy opportunities”. As public policies operate mostly through people to obtain desired results, policies will not bear fruit unless „target groups make decisions and take actions consistent with the production of policy purposes” (Ingram and Schneider, 1991).

The target population representatives qualities

Various criteria are used to select the target population from the whole of the potential customers. Most frequently used criteria are (Przemysław Kazienko, Katarzyna Musiał, 2007, pp. 293-310):

  • socio-demographic - the most popular way of determining the target group. It is based on the selection of persons meeting such criteria as: age, gender, education, occupation, marital status, number of children, place of residence, income,
  • geographic- this criterion consists in a more detailed determination of the place of residence, workplace, most frequently visited shops by the surveyed group,
  • financial - this criterion allows to distinguish individuals who have a particular income, financial status and having determine whether or not they have any debts,
  • cultural - selecting a target population based on the behaviour, needs, skills, lifestyle, personality traits, interests, views, hobbies, ways of spending free time and money of individuals.

Benefits of establishing a target population precisely

Selecting a target population precisely and thoroughly enables:

  • addressing an advertisement or a commercial to a group of recipients in terms of both content and form of realization,
  • selecting appropriate operational approach and method of running an advertising campaign,
  • developing materials tailored to the needs of potential customers (Helen Ingram, Anne Schneider, 1991, pp. 333-356).

Customizing the offer to the target population

Customizing the offer to the target population consists in (Przemysław Kazienko, Katarzyna Musiał, 2007, pp. 293-310):

  • product matching - matching the selected target population to a product or a service. Products must correspond to the needs of the customers to the maximum possible level. These needs are usually different and often mutually exclusive, so it may be necessary to create many different products in multiple variants,
  • matching advertising channels - selecting channels of informing the target group about products and services. Channels that are most convenient and reliable for a potential customer should be chosen. The youth looks for the vast majority of products and services on the Internet, while in the case of older people, from small towns and villages, television advertising or advertising newsletter put in the mailbox will be more effective,
  • language and style of communication matching - the advertising message must also be tailored to the selected target population. Children, teenagers, the elderly and specific professions use different variants of a language. Some utterances and messages will be more effective for some groups. In other cases, however, they may be perceived as negative,
  • distribution channels matching - distribution channels are nothing more than places of sale, i.e. local shops, shopping malls, wholesalers, hypermarkets or websites on the Internet. Those places of sale where potential customers purchase products or look for information about them should be selected.


Author: Sylwia Pasternak