The Importance of Pinpointing Your Target Market

Photo credit: theimpulsivebuy on Flickr.In order for your marketing campaigns to be successful, you need to make sure that your marketing message is appealing to the right audience.

Sometimes this means that you need to create marketing campaigns that will appeal to your target audience and only your target audience.

To illustrate this, let’s take a look at Unilever’s marketing efforts for Axe Body Spray.

The Axe Effect

The book “Gen Buy: How Tweens, Teens, and Twenty-Somethings Are Revolutionizing Retail” (affiliate link) by Kit Yarrow, Ph.D., and Jayne O’Donnell, points out that “Axe connected with young men through MTV, ads in video games, and interactive websites—all with a direct boy-gets-girl message.”

Unilever’s marketing efforts for Axe Body Spray were incredibly successful.

However, they might have been too successful with a demographic that the brand wasn’t targeting.

According to the authors of Gen Buy, “Ironically, the soaring success of Axe Body [Spray] with preteen boys may be responsible for a recent dip in sales. Axe, which is officially targeted to men aged eighteen to twenty-four, was a runaway success with middle school boys. Older men taking note may have felt they didn’t want to be using a “kid product” and lost interest in Axe. And kids don’t want kid products either; they use products that help them feel more manly and mature—that means men have to want them too.”

When presented with this information, Unilever could reach the conclusion that they need to make their marketing campaigns more appealing to a more mature audience.

However, this might be a mistake.

In a blog post on, titled “Axe body spray and the target audience “trap”,” Tom Dougherty, President and CEO of Stealing Share, Inc., points outs, “If Axe, as some reports have suggested it might, expands its brand to attract a larger audience (say, going after males in their 40s), its market share would shrink. The core demographic would not believe in its “specialness” anymore, and the older one would not give it permission to speak emotionally to them.”

If both analyses are correct, Unilever’s decisions on how to make adjustments to their marketing campaigns are not so easy.

It’s not all gloom and doom for Axe Body Spray, though.

As the authors of Gen Buy point out, the market for grooming products among Gen Y men is sizeable and growing.


There are many things to consider when creating your marketing campaigns.

In some cases, even if your marketing campaigns resonate with your target demographic, they can lose their effectiveness if they also strike a chord with a wider audience.

Furthermore, the adjustments that need to be made to increase market share are not always clear.

It is definitely recommended that you conduct market research in order to make a more informed decision.

While business success is never guaranteed, additional information about the needs of your target audience and what messages resonate with them will increase the likelihood that your brand will be successful.

However, it is also important that you find out what factors will make your brand less desirable to your target audience.

This is another thing to consider when creating your next marketing campaign.

Photo credit: theimpulsivebuy on Flickr.

Chad Thiele

Chad Thiele

I am a marketing analyst and strategist. I earned my master's degree from West Virginia University in Integrated Marketing Communications in 2023. I also hold a bachelor's degree from UW-Madison in Sociology with a Concentration in Analysis and Research, and I completed the Mobile Marketing Professional Certificate Program from Auburn University in 2015.