What Is a Secondary Target Market?

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Dividing total potential market into different segments, or "targets", increases the efficiency of marketing efforts.
Dividing total potential market into different segments, or "targets", increases the efficiency of marketing efforts. (Image: histogramme image by Danielle Bonardelle from Fotolia.com)

A secondary target market is that portion of a business' total potential customers second most likely to purchase its product. They differ from the most populous and profitable, primary target market in characteristics, behavior and number. Though it doesn’t generate as much revenue, the secondary target market is worth marketing efforts because of its relation to, and potential influence on, the primary target market.

Market Segmentation

To improve the efficacy of a marketing strategy, businesses divide the total potential population of customers into different categories known as segments. The business then analyzes these segments by various methods, aided by secondary and primary market research. This analysis is then used to target groups of potential customers likely to purchase their product, and tailor marketing efforts towards that group. The extent to which a business can define or shape the needs of its customers determines the potential success of that business.

Target Market

A target market is, according to the website Entrepreneur, “a specific group of consumers at which a company aims its products and services.” Business people should think of a target market as the specific group of people who are most likely to buy from them. This target market can be further divided in any number of ways, but most divisions include a primary and a secondary target market.

Primary Target Market

A business' primary target market is the group of people most likely to buy from them. Like market segments, the consumers comprising this market share characteristics and behaviors common to other consumers in the same market segment; the primary target market, however, and is more populous than the secondary target market, and will make up most of a business' sales.

Secondary Target Market

A secondary target market is comprised of those customers second-most-likely to purchase a business' product or services. The characteristics of the secondary target market differ from those of the primary target market, but the secondary market is related to the primary market. A secondary target market typically includes future primary buyers, which are those buying at a higher rate within a small market segment and are those who influence primary buyers.

Potential Value

Despite being fewer in number and generating less total sales than the primary target market, the secondary market should nonetheless be the focus of a significant share of your business’ marketing efforts. Because the secondary target market includes future primary buyers, efforts aimed at attracting secondary buyers are an investment in the future sales of products and services.

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