Target group of the Campaign

It is useful to focus your campaign on a target group that is as specific as possible, because that makes the effect more predictable. This makes your campaign more effective.

The target group must be as homogeneous as possible with regard to relevant characteristics.

Read below:

  • Finding relevent characteristics
  • Why focus on a specific Target Group?
  • Marketing target group and Communication target group
  • Influencers
  • Segmentation characteristics
  • Persona
  • What to research
  • Most important target groups first
  • Target groups consist of people
  • Followers, alternative to target group
  • Choose platform
  • Target group approach, according to marketing guru Kotler

Finding relevent characteristics

When defining a target group, you must look for relevant characteristics. The main characteristics of a target you can define by:

  • Roles in the decision-making process:  Initiator – Influencer – Decision maker – Buyer – Payer – User – Complainant. (Or: DMU )
  • Communicative characteristics
    • Language skills : how well do people read Dutch, are they happy to be addressed in the language of their own sub-culture , do they like to use jargon, etc.?
    • Media use : which media are used and for what (information, entertainment, etc.)?
    • Mutual communication: with whom do people communicate and about what?
  • Values and motivations
  • Name and address data

If you have more experience you can also consider the following ways of segmentation:

  • Segmentation according to Floor & Van Raaij
    • general level ( personal )
    • domain specific level ( product group bound )
    • brand-specific level ( brand-specific )
  • STP: Segmentation, Targeting, Positioning.
  • Mentality model
  • VALS typology.
  • Diffusion & Adoption: Innovators – Early Adopters – Early Majority – Late Majority – Laggards

Why focus on a specific Target Group?

You must focus your campaign on a specific target group, so that the effect is as large as possible. Compare your campaign with a bucket of warm water: if you pour it into a swimming pool, you will not notice any difference, but if you pour it into a bath, the effect will be considerable.

In the previous example, the swimming pool is the ‘total population’. You can successively divide this into the following increasingly smaller groups:

  • Stakeholders
  • Target groups
  • Segments

In practice, however, we speak almost exclusively of target groups. Every stakeholder and segment is ultimately approached as a target group.

When defining a target group, you must look for relevant characteristics. For example, does it matter which media someone uses, or is it more important what his favorite brand is? You will find this out by asking questions about possible characteristics in your research (also called segmentation characteristics or segmentation criteria). In your campaign you approach each target group with its own message and its own resources (you can present this in a Media Mix or Content Calendar).

Marketing target group and Communication target group

The target group consists of the people you are targeting the campaign for. This sounds logical and easy, but it is important that you distinguish between:

  • Marketing target group: these are mostly consumers, or ‘shoppers’ (people who do the shopping).
  • Communication target group: these are ‘recipients’, individuals who receive the message. The communication target group can consist of the marketing target group and / or influencers, such as journalists, bloggers and other opinion leaders. The communication target group is therefore usually larger than the marketing target group.


Imagine which people influence the target group. You can then probably come up with a more creative and effective solution. Namely a solution where you also focus on the influencers. Or only on the influencers.

The two-step flow theory and multi-step flow theory existed for decades, but in our age of social media they appear to be more important. This might have to do with the fact that people are less affected by someone they do not know and trust.

So, distinguish several target groups: the original target group (for example the marketing target group) and the influencers. Be aware that these influencers can also consist of various people. For example, you should probably approach bloggers differently than journalists. You should come up with different means of communication and messages for each target group.

For example focus on making fans of people who influence other people. On the longer term you can bind people to your brand, so that they keep bringing in new people. We call this the loyalty effect.

Segmentation characteristics

Also think about whether it matters if the recipient is male or female, how old he is, where he lives, what education he has, what media he uses etc. These are all characteristics with which you can describe the target group.

If you consider that men and women should probably be approached by other means and / or a different message, then you can split the target group into men and women. You can also split the target group into age categories if you think that is relevant for a more effective campaign. This way you can divide the target group into different sub-groups , or ‘segments’. We call this distribution segmentation .

A target group must always be a collection of people with the same important characteristics. We call a group of people with the same characteristics a homogeneous group.

Always ask yourself: Which characteristics are important? Is it important to divide the target group into segments? Why? Why not?


Think of a persona for every target group and every segment.

What to research

It follows from the foregoing that you must research:

  • Who plays which roles in the decision process (the DMU).
  • What relevant characteristics are useful to describe the target groups: is place of residence important or mentality, knowledge, attitude, behavior, etc.

Start your plan with the target group: what is the ‘problem’ that you can solve for the target group and how can communication help with this? Of course, the assignment usually starts with the problem your client is facing (too few visitors, customers, sales, etc. or undesirable behavior: smoking, drinking, etc.). The client already knows what his problem is; your added value is the outside-in view.

You can describe target groups with the help of characteristics, with the same characteristics you can segment the target groups; regardless of whether it is for example Internal Communication , Marketing Communication or Corporate Communication .

Most important target groups first

As a rule of thumb, keep in mind that target groups closest to the brand are first informed.

Employees, for example, can get angry when they hear from the media that they are fired, if they have not heard this directly from their own supervisor.

Loyal customers feel a little more privileged if they know news sooner than other customers.

Target groups consist of people

Often, a target group is defined as: ‘companies that can become customers’, or ‘the municipality’. But remember that target groups consist of people. Make the target groups as specific as possible: as small and homogeneous as possible. For example, you can simply email or call an influential journalist or blogger, so find individual people if you can. A target group with e-mail address or telephone number is ideal .

Even if you would focus on a company or municipality, you cannot achieve an effect on everyone who works there, most effect will be reached one person or a few people (often the DMU).

Followers, alternative to target group

The concept of target group comes from the time that communication was mainly ‘sending’: the target group is the group of people you are targeting the campaign for. Nowadays it is at least equally important to create a group of followers on social media. Also offline it is good for a brand to have fans and ambassadors who follow the brand. This group is created by attracting people, not by focusing on them.

Focus on the target group.
Creating followers by dialogue and learning from each-other.

Choose platform

On the internet we have to offer attractive content. This creates a group of people following someone or a brand.

An organisation that wants to stay in contact with a group of people must provide the right content via the right platform. For example, Faceboek attracts a different audience than Instegram, and LinkedIn attracts a different audience.

‘Followers’ are people you can reach through a certain platform. Think about that when you put the media-mix together .

Target group approach, according to marketing guru Kotler

Undifferentiated approach: one marketing mix for the entire marketing target group.Differentiated approach: the market is divided into segments and a specific marketing strategy is developed for each segment.Concentrated approach : the market is divided into segments and the company focuses on only one or a few of these segments.
+ Low costs .+ More impact per segment than with the undifferentiated approach.
– Higher costs.
+ Reasonable costs.
+ Reasonable impact.
– Selected segments must have sufficient potential.

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