Identifying/Finding Your Target Market

Marketing is not simply advertising or selling your faculty-directed study abroad program; rather, it is creating and delivering value to a targeted population. It is important to note that trying to reach all students at ASU is not as effective as focusing your efforts to deliver a specific value to a smaller, choice group of students. On the other hand, only focusing on one group of students, may not produce enough applications for your program to meet its minimum enrollment.

In this section we will discuss how to identify the ideal student populations on which to focus your marketing efforts.  Keep in mind that the “target population” discussed in this section is specifically for marketing purposes and does not necessarily determine the students that can apply and/or will be selected to participate in your program.

Step 1: Determine the specific value and opportunities your program offers to different populations.

Before determining your program’s target population(s), it is important to identify specific opportunities offered on your program and to effectively articulate the benefits of your program to different student populations; doing so will allow you to leverage these different aspects of your program to your target population.  Use the following questions to help you pinpoint the specific benefits of your program.


Step 2: Identify Your Target Market(s).

After articulating the value and benefits of your program, you can begin to identify your target market(s).  To do this, choose a specific aspect of your program from above and determine a student demographic that it will likely benefit.

Different options for identifying various demographics of students exist; however, academic track (majors, minors, colleges, schools, courses on campus, etc.) will most likely be the easiest to identify and locate. A good place to begin is with the following groups of students:

  • Students who need the specific credit your program offers as part of their degree map
  • Students in a major/college that has the same discipline/focus as your program

For example, if one of your answers from the Career Benefits section is “students will meet and interview a number of diplomats in Europe,” you might identify students in the following degrees as good target markets for your program:


However, you will want to get more specific to help you determine how to reach these students.  One way to do this is to identify different majors available to students. For example, students with international degrees can be broken down as follows (keeping in mind that there are more than three degrees with an international focus at ASU):


At the same time, it is important to keep in mind that if you focus all of your marketing efforts on one or two groups of students, you could run the risk of not meeting your minimum enrollment numbers.  Therefore, in addition to your identified target populations, you may want to consider targeting some of the following demographics of students:

  • Majors that have a lot of upper division electives
  • Students in your current courses. Students that enjoy your teaching style will often be attracted to other courses/programs that you offer.
  • Groups or organizations around campus that might have an inherent interest in the subject matter of your program
  • Non-ASU Students
  • ASU Online Students

Step 3: Finding your Target(s).

Once you have determined your target market(s), you must decide which marketing strategies will be best to reach each specific market.

To start, collect information on each target market that will help you to reach these students: the campus location(s) where the group can be found; the major’s college and the department within the college if applicable; contact information for the communications specialist in the major’s college or department within the college; and the names, contact information, and office locations of all academic advisors for the major.

Then, decide on the best ways to reach each target.  For example, if the target is part of ASU Online, in-person marketing will not be an option. However, using social media and electronic means of marketing will be effective.  On the other hand, if the target is located on an ASU campus, in-person marketing will be an excellent option, as will social media and electronic marketing.  See our example below:

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The following template can be used to help with steps 2 and 3 to identify your target markets and choose marketing strategies that reach them directly:
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