Target marketing means selecting a market segment and directing your marketing efforts toward that segment. For example, a home improvement store might target homeowners ages 35 to 55 who make an income of $75,000 or more in Columbus, Ohio. That tightly defined target market could guide all marketing decisions, from message to advertising outlets. But choosing a tightly defined target market offers disadvantages as well.

The Wrong Target

When you focus exclusively on a target market, you must be sure it works for your product or service. When you choose one market segment, you exclude others. The ones you exclude could offer you many sales, maybe even more sales, than the one you chose. Remain aware of this potential disadvantage when you focus on a target market, and be prepared to change your tactics if you find you need more sales.

Small Market Share

The target market you choose may not be large enough to support your business. One characteristic of target markets -- their well-defined, limited scope -- can work against you if that segment does not contain enough customers. Capturing 100 percent of a small market can still leave you with low sales.

Ethical Problems

Some businesses receive criticism for targeting certain market segments. For example, outlets who sell lottery tickets in disadvantaged neighborhoods can come under fire for the appearance of taking advantage of desperate people with a promise of riches that isn’t likely to come true. Similar problems could arise for a business selling firearms in a notoriously violent neighborhood. Look at your target marketing to make sure it will not engender potentially harmful publicity.

Sharing a Market with Competitors

Before selecting a target market, you should examine the competition in that market. You may not be the first one to notice the advantages of a market segment. If that segment is saturated with companies marketing to it, choosing that target market could hinder your sales rather than help them. Look for target markets that can bear additional marketing and support the kind of sales you need.