The Importance of Targeting
Back when television was in its infancy and there were three networks and things like personal computers, the Internet, cell phones, and PDAs didn't exist, advertisers ran commercials that appealed to the general audience, or mass market. In the 1960s and 1970s there was no need to aim a message to a particular group, since most everyone watched the same programs, and there were few other types of media to reach people.
With the rise of cable television and specialty networks, the adoption of satellite radio and MP3 players, and the proliferation of e-mail usage and the global marketplace that is the Internet, the mass market has disintegrated. Everyone has his or her own favorite Web sites, cable networks, and specialty magazines. Marketing has evolved to new levels of sophistication to deal with the increased choices and types of media. Today, marketing messages and products can be tailored to individuals.
The major television networks are promoting their shows via the Internet. Episodes can be downloaded onto iPods and other MP3 players for consumers to watch at their leisure. The networks realize that their target audience, adults ages eighteen to thirty-four, isn't necessarily watching content during network broadcasts.
This specialization of the market is good news for small business marketers. It means that it's easier to reach customers once you know your target audience. Rather than having to spend millions of dollars on a glitzy television campaign, small businesses can target potential clients by taping and running an inexpensive commercial on a local channel that airs programming about entertaining or food. Small businesses can also devise specific marketing programs for reaching specific targets through guerrilla marketing.