What is a Target Population?

Definition: A target population is a certain group of the population that share similar characteristics and is identified as the intended audience for a product, advertising or research. It is a portion of the whole universe of people selected as the objective audience.

What Does Target Population Mean?

Also known as target audience, this term refers to a group of people that possess certain attributes that can be classified properly to separate them from the entire population. The purpose of this technique is to understand and evaluate their preferences and behaviors in order to market a given product or service or to study a given element that appears among them like behavior patterns. It is a concept that relates with market segmentation strategies employed by companies.

For example, a given company can identify its target population as women between 21 and 35 years old living in certain geographical location. Nevertheless, this is still a broad target that will have very distinctive needs. In order to homogenize their needs properly, the target must be narrowed, which is the job of market segmentation. By employing demographic and psychographic analysis to identify particular clusters among this initial target, companies can establish market segments that they can serve more adequately, employing different strategies to reach each of them.


Healing Helpers Co. is a company that provides physiotherapeutic services to high-performance athletes. When the business was conceived by its founders they decided to pick the state of Washington as their market, since many Olympic athletes live and train there.

Nevertheless, the market is very wide since there are many disciplines and each of them have particular needs. In order to serve each segment properly they launched a research project intended to study the most common injuries experienced by high-performance athletes in the state of Washington. The study revealed the most frequent injuries were located in the ankle and shoulder regions. It also revealed that the discipline that suffered the highest number of injuries was gymnastics.

Also, most athletes were between their early 20s and mid 30s. With this information the company picked a target audience they will serve and started to specialize in (and advertise) ankle and shoulder treatments.