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

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Published on January 31, 2024
Market segmentation divides a market into distinct groups, while target marketing focuses on reaching specific segments with tailored strategies.

Key Differences

Market segmentation involves dividing a broader market into smaller, distinct groups based on various criteria like demographics, psychographics, or behavior. In contrast, target marketing refers to the process of designing and implementing marketing strategies specifically tailored to these identified segments.
Segmentation is about identifying and understanding the unique characteristics of different market groups. Target marketing, on the other hand, uses this segmentation to concentrate marketing efforts on one or more segments that have the highest potential for response.
The purpose of market segmentation is to enable more efficient resource allocation and tailored marketing approaches. Target marketing, however, is more about effectively reaching and influencing the selected segments with customized messages and products.
Market segmentation is the first step in a detailed marketing strategy, providing the groundwork for targeted approaches. Conversely, target marketing is the subsequent step where the insights gained from segmentation are put into action.
Market segmentation is a broad, analytical process, while target marketing is more focused and strategic, aiming at developing a strong connection with specific customer groups identified during the segmentation process.

Comparison Chart


Dividing market into distinct groups
Focusing marketing efforts on selected segments

Primary Focus

Identification and understanding of market groups
Engaging and influencing chosen segments

Role in Marketing Strategy

Initial analytical step
Implementation of tailored strategies


Efficient resource allocation and approach
Effective reach and influence


Clear market group identification
Strong customer relationships in target groups

Market Segmentation and Target Marketing Definitions

Market Segmentation

Categorizing potential customers into distinct groups.
Through market segmentation, we recognized the unique preferences of urban and rural customers.

Target Marketing

Directing marketing efforts to a specific market segment.
Our target marketing strategy focuses on young professionals.

Market Segmentation

A process to understand market diversity.
Market segmentation revealed varied spending habits among our customer base.

Target Marketing

Creating specific marketing campaigns for chosen segments.
Target marketing allowed us to design ads that resonate with parents.

Market Segmentation

Tailoring marketing strategies to specific groups.
Our market segmentation focused on different income levels.

Target Marketing

Tailoring products and messages to selected audiences.
We used target marketing to appeal to the luxury market.

Market Segmentation

Dividing a market into subgroups based on shared characteristics.
Market segmentation helped us identify the needs of different age groups.

Target Marketing

Strategic approach to influence a specific customer group.
Our target marketing efforts are aimed at tech-savvy millennials.

Market Segmentation

Identifying niche markets within a larger market.
Market segmentation enabled us to find a niche market in eco-conscious consumers.

Target Marketing

Concentrating resources on the most promising market segments.
Target marketing led us to focus on the health-conscious demographic.


Is target marketing more expensive than mass marketing?

It can be, due to the need for tailored strategies and campaigns.

What is the main goal of market segmentation?

To divide a broad market into distinct, manageable groups.

Can market segmentation be based on lifestyle?

Yes, lifestyle is a common basis for market segmentation.

How does target marketing differ from general marketing?

It focuses on specific segments rather than the entire market.

How do companies benefit from market segmentation?

By understanding and addressing the unique needs of different groups.

Can market segmentation change over time?

Yes, as market dynamics and consumer behaviors evolve.

Are loyalty programs a form of target marketing?

Yes, they're targeted at retaining and engaging existing customers.

Does target marketing require constant adjustment?

Yes, to stay aligned with changing consumer preferences.

Is demographic data essential for market segmentation?

Yes, it's one of the key criteria for segmenting markets.

Is target marketing effective for all types of products?

It's more effective for products with specific appeal to certain groups.

Does target marketing guarantee higher sales?

Not necessarily, but it increases the likelihood of resonating with the audience.

How does target marketing influence product design?

Products can be designed to meet the specific needs of target segments.

Does market segmentation consider geographic factors?

Yes, geographic location is a common segmentation criterion.

Can small businesses use market segmentation effectively?

Yes, it's beneficial for businesses of all sizes.

What role does consumer feedback play in market segmentation?

It helps refine and validate the segmentation criteria.

How does social media influence market segmentation?

It provides data and insights for more accurate segmentation.

How does technology impact target marketing?

It allows for more precise targeting and personalized campaigns.

Is target marketing suitable for global campaigns?

Yes, but it should be adapted to regional market segments.

Does target marketing involve ethical considerations?

Yes, particularly regarding privacy and data usage.

Can market segmentation help in crisis management?

Yes, by identifying the most affected customer groups.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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