Selective marketing attempts to eliminate guesswork and waste in small business marketing and replace it with precisely targeted efforts. Selective marketing can reduce the cost of your small-business marketing while increasing the return you receive on your investment. It is often preferred over undifferentiated marketing for its exact nature and good results.


Many small businesses engage in selective marketing campaigns to ensure that they get the most return on their marketing investment. Selective marketing is not an ideal strategy for every type of small business. The discount retail outlet, for instance, would likely be better off with a more general, price-based promotion schedule. Those small businesses that have a niche market, who know their customers and where they come from, or who do far better with one segment than any others can do quite well pointing all their marketing initiatives toward a single goal. Maximizing the best-performing market segment for your small business is the key to the process.

Luxury Goods

Luxury retailers and manufacturers often gravitate toward a selective marketing strategy, because they target a very limited segment of the population. Luxury goods are not for everyone, so the small businesses that sell them use selective campaigns to match the right consumer with the right message and increase sales. For example, a selective marketing campaign for luxury goods might include a glossy ad in a lifestyle magazine and TV spots that run on networks or during events that draw a high-income crowd, such as business channels or golf tournaments. Time would be wasted handing out fliers to the general public, most of whom would not be interested.

Specialty Products

Specialty products by their very nature require selective marketing. Specialty products are those designed to meet the needs of a limited professional or niche market, such as comic book collectors or professional pilots. In either case, the number of potential customers you have has a definite cap, which cannot be expanded unless more people suddenly become interested in classic comic books or get their pilot's license. Therefore, the way you approach the market must cater to the needs and wants of the people who buy your merchandise. This is where selective marketing comes in with ads in pilot journals and booths at collectibles events. Other general advertising techniques such as signage should also be employed to let interested parties know you exist, but your specialty marketing is the main draw.


The issues with selective marketing stem from its precise nature. Although it may make for great returns when all is going well, it can leave you somewhat stranded should consumer trends change or if your target market be otherwise altered in some way. Any strategy that places all its attention on one prize is vulnerable in the case of a need to change. Flexibility is an important part of small-business marketing, because funds are limited, and large errors in judgement or periods of low productivity are not easy to absorb.