Target population

From CEOpedia | Management online

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.

Examples of Target population

  • Young adults: This target population typically consists of people between the ages of 18 and 35. This age group is typically more open to new experiences and is more likely to be influenced by advertising.
  • Families: Advertising campaigns targeting families often focus on shared experiences, such as family vacations or activities that can be enjoyed by the entire family.
  • Seniors: Campaigns targeting seniors typically focus on products and services that are beneficial to older individuals, such as home health care services.
  • Millennials: This target population consists of individuals born between 1981 and 1996 and is often characterized as digital natives due to their comfort level with technology.
  • Low-income households: Campaigns targeting low-income households typically focus on budget-friendly products and services.
  • High-income households: Campaigns targeting high-income households typically focus on luxury products and services.

Limitations of Target population

One of the main limitations of target populations is that they can be difficult to identify. *Target populations can be elusive and hard to define because they are often based on imprecise criteria. *Additionally, target populations may also be dynamic and change over time, making it difficult to accurately identify and target them. *Another limitation of target populations is that they may not accurately represent the population at large. *Target populations are typically based on a limited set of characteristics, which may not accurately capture the diversity of the population. *Finally, target populations can be expensive and time consuming to identify, meaning that resources may be unavailable to identify and target them.

Other approaches related to Target population

A target population can be approached in many ways, including:

  • Analyzing the distribution of customers in the target population. This can involve researching the demographics, such as age, gender, socioeconomic status, and location. It can also include analyzing the customer’s interests, preferences, and values.
  • Establishing a segmentation strategy. This involves dividing the target population into smaller, more manageable groups based on demographic, psychographic, and behavioral characteristics.
  • Identifying target markets. This involves determining which segments of the target population are more likely to respond to the advertising message.
  • Developing an advertising strategy. This involves creating an advertising message that resonates with the target audience, as well as deciding on the best media channels to reach the desired audience.

In conclusion, the key to reaching a target population is understanding the needs and interests of the group. This requires researching the target population’s demographics, segmenting the population, and creating an advertising message that resonates with the group. Only with an effective strategy that takes into account the target population’s needs and interests can an effective advertising campaign be created.

Target populationrecommended articles
CanvassingMeasuring of advertising effectivenessSegment of the marketDifferentiated marketing strategyBelow the line advertisingSelection of target marketsConsumer decision making processDAGMAR modelAnalysis of customer


Author: Sylwia Pasternak