Marketing includes a broad range of business activities that range from research and development to promotion and support after the sale. To concentrate on a particular type of customer, many businesses engage in market segmentation. This process involves taking a larger target audience and breaking it down to a smaller, more select market. Demographics segmentation is a common strategy where several socioeconomic traits are used to categorize customers, including age, gender, marital status, race or ethnicity, income, education and occupation.
Some personal traits have more importance in market segmentation identification than others. Age is often a very integral element in homing in on a customer type. Colleges, for instance, normally target traditional-aged students coming out of high school at ages 18 to 19. However, they also target a non-traditional population of people who typically want to gain additional education after being in the workforce for a while. Some luxury product sellers target retired individuals or couples with disposable income and time to buy for the home.
Many companies also emphasize a gender or marital status in targeting. Feminine hygiene product makers naturally target women with their marketing efforts. Upscale fashion and apparel shops and makeup providers do as well. A do-it-yourself lumber store more likely targets men with its marketing. A cruise ship company may offer some trips that target married couples looking for a relaxing, romantic getaway.
Race and ethnicity are demographic factors that may or may not come into play in a marketing strategy. A local ethnic foods supermarket is likely to target a particular ethnic group based on cultural preferences for certain foods. In some cases, an organization intentionally targets a diverse crowd rather than a particular group. Some organizations actively promote themselves as having a diverse workforce. They typically include ads with various racial and ethnic groups represented.
These three factors are closely correlated in that income is often related to a person's education level and job type. High-end retailers commonly target customers with higher-level incomes and professional backgrounds, because they can afford the products or services. Discount retailers tend to focus more on lower-to-middle income earners by emphasizing value, affordability or low-cost products and services for people on a budget. Many companies, such as Target, go after the largest category of middle-class income earners.