Target selection is choosing the segment that you will want to focus your marketing on. As a result of your reflection and research you will know your agency's direction for the upcoming months, and your target selection will support this goal. Community Literacy of Ontario shares clear examples of these concepts later on in this module.
After you have chosen your target market, you need to gather as much data as you possibly can on that specific group. You will already have investigated your own records, but you can also look further afield. If other organizations also view this target as a potential client, check out their marketing. Also, watch commercial ads to see how the professionals market to this group. A target review prepares you for developing a focused marketing mix. A “marketing mix” is how we plan, develop and implement our marketing strategy based on our knowledge of the target. We'll study this concept in more detail later.
No target analysis is complete without thinking about who our competition is in relation to a particular target market. To edge out the competition, we need our marketing to sell our programs as more gratifying, satisfying and useful in the long run. Let's remind ourselves that good marketing is not manipulative. Literacy agencies offer excellent programming for learners and we should not hesitate to actively promote our agencies in our communities.
“No one has to buy what you're selling. In fact, one of the biggest obstacles to the purchase – and therefore the biggest phantom competition – is your customer's inclination to do nothing at all…To increase your share of opportunity, think about where your phantom competitors are hiding. Then find ways to make your product an easier, more gratifying, more satisfying, and more valuable alternative.” (Small Business Marketing for Dummies, p 52)
Targeting Example: Learners
Learners make up our most obvious market and the one that is often most difficult to reach. We might segment the learner market by their goals or we might look at segmenting by other characteristics. We can segment by age, sex, goals, or even geographical locale. Where can we find this information? Student personal files are a valuable source. They tell the learner's age, gender and address. Training plans record the learner's goal and level. Attendance sheets let you know when they started and stopped. The learner satisfaction survey may let you know why they have decided to opt out. If you analyse this information, you may discover that certain themes emerge.
For example, perhaps you will see that your program is thriving with female learners with independence goals but is not so successful with males. You may find that male students who want to go to college are very committed, but only for three months. Perhaps you discover that your program is extremely successful for math upgrading, but that students requiring writing skills are not completing their commitment.
Once you start to analyse your data, you will begin to see patterns.