How Does the Type of Buyer or Consumer Affect a Marketing Strategy?

A cereal maker targeting children would need to offer a sweet taste and colorful box.
A cereal maker targeting children would need to offer a sweet taste and colorful box. (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

The type of buyer or consumer of a product powerfully affects every aspect of the marketing strategy. That is because the strategy is built around the marketer's understanding of the needs, wants and personal characteristics of the target market, a group of consumers who are most likely to choose the firm's brand.

Target Market Selection

Before it can effectively market its product, a firm needs to pinpoint exactly which potential buyers will be the focus of its efforts. Otherwise, it risks wasting money and time on people who are loyal to other brands, uninterested in the product category or unresponsive for other reasons. These buyers are often selected based on demographic features, like age, sex or income. They also can be identified by the lifestyle, personality and attitudinal characteristics known as psychographics.


Many key dimensions of a product, like flavor, size and style, must be designed in accordance with the preferences of target consumers. For example, a firm that hopes to market a breakfast cereal to children would need to incorporate features like a sweet taste and a colorful box. If the target market is composed of large families, marketers would probably choose large, resealable packages in order to extend the brand's shelf life and encourage use by all family members.


Knowing the characteristics and personalities of target consumers is especially critical when developing a promotion campaign because the message must resonate with those potential buyers. An audience of teens, for example, would respond to different language and imagery than older consumers. Also, marketers need to learn which media vehicles are influential with the target. In general, a web-based promotion is less likely to get the attention of people over 65 than of their children and grandchildren.

Pricing and Distribution

How much the average target consumer can afford to pay for the firm's product must be considered when setting a price. Also, marketers must understand where and how these buyers prefer to shop. A clothing designer with a target market of young professional women would probably need to distribute its line in several department stores, where these buyers typically enjoy trying and comparing different brands. But a maker of standardized items like rubber boots or work gloves might be able to limit its distribution to a website.

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  • "Marketing"; Roger Kerin, et al.; 2009
  • "Marketing Management"; Greg Marshall, et al.; 2010
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