It can be argued that much consumer dissatisfaction with marketing strategies arises from an inability to aim advertising at only the likely buyers of a given product.
There are three groups of consumers who are affected by the marketing process. First, there is the market segment—people who need the commodity in question. Second, there is the program target—people in the market segment with the “best fit” characteristics for a specific product. Lots of people may need trousers, but only a few qualify as likely buyers of very expensive designer trousers. Finally, there is the program audience―all people who are actually exposed to the marketing program without regard to whether they need or want the product.
These three groups are rarely identical. An exception occurs occasionally in cases where customers for a particular industrial product may be few and easily identifiable. Such customers, all sharing a particular need, are likely to form a meaningful target, for example, all companies with a particular application of the product in question, such as high-speed fillers of bottles at breweries. In such circumstances, direct selling (marketing that reaches only the program target) is likely to be economically justified, and highly specialized trade media exist to expose members of the program target—and only members of the program target—to the marketing program.
Most consumer-goods markets are significantly different. Typically, there are many rather than few potential customers. Each represents a relatively small percentage of potential sales. Rarely do members of a particular market segment group themselves neatly into a meaningful program target. There are substantial differences among consumers with similar demographic characteristics. Even with all the past decade’s advances in information technology, direct selling of consumer goods is rare, and mass marketing—a marketing approach that aims at a wide audience—remains the only economically feasible mode. Unfortunately, there are few media that allow the marketer to direct a marketing program exclusively to the program target. Inevitably, people get exposed to a great deal of marketing for products in which they have no interest and so they become annoyed.
1. The passage suggests which of the following about highly specialized trade media?
(A) They should be used only when direct selling is not economically feasible.
(B) They can be used to exclude from the program audience people who are not part of the program target.
(C) They are used only for very expensive products.
(D) They are rarely used in the implementation of marketing programs for industrial products.
(E) They are used only when direct selling has not reached the appropriate market segment.
2. According to the passage, most consumer-goods markets share which of the following characteristics?
I. Customers who differ significantly from each other
II. Large numbers of potential customers
III. Customers who each represent a small percentage of potential sales
(A) I only
(B) II only
(C) I and II only
(D) II and III only
(E) I, II, and III
3. The passage suggests which of the following about direct selling?
(A) It is used in the marketing of most industrial products.
(B) It is often used in cases where there is a large program target.
(C) It is not economically feasible for most marketing programs.
(D) It is used only for products for which there are many potential customers.
(E) It is less successful at directing a marketing program to the target audience than are other marketing approaches.
4. The author mentions “trousers” (lines 9 and 11) most likely in order to
(A) make a comparison between the program target and the program audience
(B) emphasize the similarities between the market segment and the program target
(C) provide an example of the way three groups of consumers are affected by a marketing program
(D) clarify the distinction between the market segment and the program target
(E) introduce the concept of the program audience
5. Which of the following best exemplifies the situation described in the last two sentences of the passage?
(A) A product suitable for women age 21-30 is marketed at meetings attended only by potential customers.
(B) A company develops a new product and must develop an advertising campaign to create a market for it.
(C) An idea for a specialized product remains unexplored because media exposure of the product to its few potential customers would be too expensive.
(D) A new product is developed and marketers collect demographic data on potential consumers before developing a specific advertising campaign.
(E) A product suitable for men age 60 and over is advertised in a magazine read by adults of all ages.
6. The passage suggests that which of the following is true about the marketing of industrial products like those discussed in the third paragraph?
(A) The market segment and program target are identical.
(B) Mass marketing is the only feasible way of advertising such products.
(C) The marketing program cannot be directed specifically to the program target.
(D) More customers would be needed to justify the expense of direct selling.
(E) The program audience would necessarily be made up of potential customers, regardless of the marketing approach that was used.
7. The passage supports which of the following statements about demographic characteristics and marketing?
(A) Demographic research is of no use in determining how successful a product will be with a particular group of consumers.
(B) A program audience is usually composed of people with similar demographic characteristics.
(C) Psychological factors are more important than demographic factors in defining a market segments.
(D) Consumers with similar demographic characteristics do not necessarily form a meaningful program target.
(E) Collecting demographic data is the first step that marketers take in designing a marketing program.
8. It can be inferred from the passage that which of the following is true for most consumer-goods markets?
(A) The program audience is smaller than the market segment.
(B) The program audience and the market segment are usually identical.
(C) The market segment and the program target are usually identical.
(D) The program target is larger than the market segment.
(E) The program target and the program audience are not usually identical.