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Market Segmentation vs. Target Marketing — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on October 30, 2023
Market Segmentation divides a market into sub-groups with similar characteristics, while Target Marketing involves selecting one or more of these segments to sell to.
Market Segmentation vs. Target Marketing — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Market Segmentation and Target Marketing


Key Differences

Market Segmentation implies the process of dividing a vast market into identifiable and accessible groups or segments based on various characteristics like demographics, buying habits, or interests. It’s a strategy that allows businesses to more precisely understand and satisfy the specific needs and wants of subdivided target audiences. Target Marketing, on the other hand, involves designing and implementing a marketing mix that will most effectively reach the desired audience segment.
Market Segmentation enables a business to identify and categorize the distinguishing features and needs of different consumer subsets, thereby providing the groundwork for targeted marketing efforts. Conversely, Target Marketing then hones in on these identified segments, designing marketing strategies that cater specifically to these segments, optimizing the marketing message for more pertinent resonance with the targeted audience.
Through Market Segmentation, marketers can understand the variances between different customer groups, such as their differing needs, behaviors, or preferences, thereby establishing a solid foundation for informed strategic development. Whereas, Target Marketing makes use of this segmented data, choosing which segment(s) to actively pursue, often through customized marketing strategies intended to appeal directly to the unique needs of those selected segments.
With Market Segmentation, the vastness of the market is methodically categorized, allowing for a more focused and strategic allocation of marketing resources. By doing so, businesses are able to streamline their approach, ensuring that marketing efforts are not wasted on unrelated consumer groups. Alternatively, Target Marketing enables the design and delivery of specific messages and products that coincide precisely with the distinct needs, wants, and preferences of the selected market segments, thereby enhancing the efficiency of marketing initiatives.
The process of Market Segmentation sets the stage for detailed and insightful marketing strategy development by enabling businesses to decipher the various nuances and differences that exist within a larger market. Target Marketing, subsequently, utilizes this segmented information, enabling businesses to strategically tailor their marketing efforts, thereby ensuring that the respective needs, wants, and preferences of each chosen segment are accurately addressed.

Comparison Chart


Identifies and categorizes subsections of a market based on shared traits
Focuses marketing strategies on specific, chosen market segments

Strategy Focus

Understanding and categorizing market diversity
Implementing a marketing mix to appeal to selected segments

Resource Allocation

Broad, analyzing entire markets
Concentrated, targeting specific market segments

Role in Marketing

Provides a foundation for targeted marketing strategies
Utilizes segmented information to implement focused marketing

Impact on Marketing Mix

Identifies potential target markets
Informs the development and implementation of the marketing mix

Compare with Definitions

Market Segmentation

Identifying and grouping consumers based on shared characteristics or behaviors.
Through Market Segmentation, targeted advertising campaigns were developed.

Target Marketing

Employing a marketing mix designed to most effectively reach selected market segments.
Target Marketing enhanced ROI by directing efforts towards a receptive audience.

Market Segmentation

Categorizing a broad market into smaller, distinct subsets.
Market Segmentation revealed diverse purchasing habits among age groups.

Target Marketing

Designing marketing efforts to appeal to a specific market segment.
Target Marketing was employed to cater to the unique needs of young professionals.

Market Segmentation

Classifying a market into identifiable segments based on demographics, psychographics, etc.
Market Segmentation proved vital in tailoring products to diverse customer needs.

Target Marketing

Directing marketing efforts towards a particular group or segment.
Through Target Marketing, tailored advertisements reached the intended audience.

Market Segmentation

The process of splitting a market into subsets based on various criteria.
Market Segmentation enabled focused strategies for varied consumer subsets.

Target Marketing

Focusing marketing strategies on specific, identified segments of the market.
The brand's Target Marketing strategy effectively engaged the chosen demographic.

Market Segmentation

Dividing the total market into smaller, similar characteristic groups.
The company utilized Market Segmentation to better understand consumer needs.

Target Marketing

Implementing marketing strategies aimed at particular market segments.
Target Marketing strategies were developed post comprehensive market analysis.

Common Curiosities

Why is Market Segmentation important?

Market Segmentation helps identify and understand distinct customer groups, tailoring marketing to meet their specific needs.

What criteria are commonly used in Market Segmentation?

Common criteria include demographics, psychographics, geographical location, and buying behaviors.

What is Market Segmentation?

Market Segmentation involves dividing a large market into distinct groups based on shared characteristics.

How does Target Marketing differ from Market Segmentation?

Target Marketing involves focusing marketing efforts on one or more segments identified through Market Segmentation.

Can Target Marketing be implemented without Market Segmentation?

While possible, without Market Segmentation, Target Marketing lacks the focused insight derived from understanding distinct customer groups.

What challenges may arise during Market Segmentation?

Challenges include accurately identifying segments, gathering data, and ensuring segments are accessible and actionable.

What is the primary objective of Market Segmentation?

The primary objective is to identify and understand diverse customer subsets to enable more targeted marketing.

How does Target Marketing enhance customer engagement?

Target Marketing enhances engagement by ensuring messages and products are highly relevant to the selected audience segment.

How is Market Segmentation implemented in a marketing strategy?

Market Segmentation informs strategy by identifying viable customer segments and understanding their specific needs and behaviors.

How does Target Marketing optimize marketing strategies?

Target Marketing focuses efforts on specific segments, enhancing message relevance and improving resource utilization.

Can Market Segmentation be applied to any market?

Yes, Market Segmentation can be applied to virtually any market to better understand and cater to diverse customer needs.

What is the ultimate goal of Target Marketing?

The ultimate goal is to optimize marketing strategies to more effectively reach and resonate with selected market segments.

How does Target Marketing impact the marketing mix?

Target Marketing informs the marketing mix by highlighting the specific needs and preferences of selected segments.

How can businesses ensure Target Marketing is effectively reaching chosen segments?

Utilizing metrics and analytics to monitor campaign performance and adjust strategies ensures Target Marketing effectively engages chosen segments.

Can Market Segmentation and Target Marketing be applied simultaneously?

Typically, Market Segmentation is conducted first to identify segments, which are then targeted through Target Marketing strategies.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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