Wanted: A Target Market

June 8, 2010by Ann Dencker

Wanted: a target market

It’s not always clear who is being targeted for a product or service. Without a clear target, I’m left feeling puzzled.

For those of you who live in Chicago, San Fran, NYC or Washington DC, there is a free online service available called parkzing.com. If you sign up for this service, it sends you an email when you get a parking ticket. Hmmm. I find myself wondering who is the intended target market for this service? At the top of the web page it says “Never pay another late fee again!” Okay, so I can tell they are appealing to people who have paid late fees in the past. (Sorry to say, I’m one of them.) Beyond that the target is more than a little murky. What do you think…do you think they’re targeting:

  • Stressed-out speeders who don’t notice the parking ticket and drive away so fast the ticket blows out from under the windshield wiper?
  • Disorganized paper-pushers who are destined to lose the ticket the second it hits their kitchen counter, but who would never lose track of an email amidst the dozens (or hundreds) they get each day?
  • Kind-hearted car-lenders who will let anyone use their car and want to know if “anyone” got a ticket?

I also can’t help but get a bit cynical. Who really is offering this service? What’s in it for them? (Yes, they hope you will pay them $5 to pay the ticket for you, but really, if you’ll try to avoid late fees, you’ll probably try to avoid any fees.) And most importantly, if I rely on them, will they really follow through?

Having a clear target market and attempting to make a meaningful connection with that target market would have provided answers to a lot of my questions. Connecting with a target can even build the foundation for the trust that is needed here.  Without that target and that connection, this was just a service that made me a little curious.

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