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How To: Target Markets Make for Effective Marketing

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutes
Last Update: 1/17/2018

Target Market Part 1: What is Target Market Segmentation? 

Have you ever had a patient or client you wanted to fire? Or have you ever said, “Gosh, I wish all my patients were like that!” Well you’ve just segmented your market. Market segmentation is dividing your customer or patient base up by a certain set of characteristics. It could be age, condition, body area, type of insurance, how many gray hairs they’ve given you, etc.

Your target market is the target customer base you want to attract. So target market segmentation is identifying your preferred customers and profiling them to determine their characteristics. Then you can craft marketing messages to speak directly to them. Let’s look at some examples.

See how target market segmentation fits into a comprehensive content marketing plan

Example 1: John Doe Physical Therapy

John is thinking about spending a few dollars on some paid Facebook posts. He has no idea what to post though!

John takes a look at his data in his EMR and sees that he has the best reimbursement rate from his worker’s comp patients and those from XYZ Health Plans. Since he is a typical private practice owner and has no time for anything, he starts with just his worker’s comp patients.

He digs a little deeper into his outcomes system to look for common characteristics like acuity, age, body region, referral source. He finds that the patients he sees the greatest volume of are male, between the ages of 35-55, with acute lower-back injuries. This is his target audience.

Now he has not only some guidance on what to post, but on what criteria to use when he fills out the targeting section on the Facebook ad buy.

Example 2: Anytown Physical Therapy Clinics

Mary owns a regional chain of 7 clinics. She has identified a need in the region for more TMD specialists. She sent one of her employees to get advanced training and would like to tap into this new market. To profile her target market, she uses the magic of the internet for her data here and here, since she doesn't have much from her EMR or outcomes system yet.

Her target market is chronic TMD patients. Prevalence is highest in Caucasian women between the ages of 20-40. There is also some weak evidence that higher estrogen levels may be associated with TMD. 

Mary takes a two-pronged approach and decides to market to the public and to referral sources. She has her newly trained practitioner write an article for the blog about what TMD is and how it effects women more frequently than men (with a call to action to call for more information of course). She promotes it with paid Facebook ads and Google AdWords.

Mary also takes the practitioner along on a few visits to local dentists and a few gynecologists for good measure.

Target Market Part 2: Are you accidentally selling tiny male genitals?

The first step in any marketing plan is realizing that it’s not about you. It’s about your patients and clients. As we’ve learned, this is how you figure out what, when, and how to talk to them. What does this have to do with tiny male genitals? Hang with me, we’ll get there.

First, answer the question, “Who is my target market?” and “People with pain” does NOT count. It will not help you craft a targeted message heard over the noise of the day. “Middle-aged women with chronic neck pain (over 120 days) working in sedentary jobs with employer-provided private insurance” will help you craft a message with a better chance of someone seeing it and saying to themselves, “That’s me! Maybe I should listen to this message.”

Knee pain Neck pain due to laptop use

This does not mean you are only going after one kind of patient or client forever! It just gives you a starting point to help you craft messages that will get heard over the noise. It’s better to be #1 in a market than a distant second. Once you’ve dominated one market, you can go into maintenance mode and start on the next market.

This brings us to tiny male genitals. In this incredibly entertaining article you can see extreme examples of what happens when you don’t speak your customers’ languages. In this case it’s literal. In Brazil, Ford tried to sell the Ford Pinto; sadly, Pinto translates to, you guessed it, tiny male genitals. Coors’ beer tagline in Spanish promised consumers diarrhea, and Electrolux tried to convince us Americans to buy their vacuums with the tagline, “Nothing sucks like an Electrolux.”

You likely won’t suffer this level of #epicfail. In your case you’ll just waste time, intellectual capital, and money if you’re buying ads. No biggie.

If you don’t already know who your target market is, take an in-depth look at:

  1. Your data – mine your EMR/billing software and your outcomes software. What population has the highest margin? (Call your customer service rep if you don’t know how to get this info from your software.)
  2. Your community – who’s in your neighborhood who needs treatment?
  3. Your mission – are you about prevention? Athletes? Wholistic health?

If life is too crazy, wing it and go with your instincts. Just be sure you answer age, gender, body region, and acuity at a minimum.

See how target market segmentation fits into a comprehensive content marketing plan