How to Define Your Target Audience

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  • May 18, 2016
target audience

Defining a target audience is a core step of any general marketing strategy. Your brand should have a specific audience in mind, and your ideas about it should include precise steps on defining your current and potential consumers.

The better you understand your consumers, the faster you’ll witness the success of your product. However, many new players on the market struggle with finding their audience, and the main reason for this is the lack of basic knowledge of the necessary steps. Businesses often overestimate the size of their audience and market and shoot to overly generalized target audiences.

One size doesn’t fit all

It doesn’t make any sense to try to appeal to everyone. Your product already has a specific target from its launching. This is the starting point from which your audience strategy should move forward. Your company should focus its budget, energy, and efforts to reach the target the product was designed for in the first place.

Having this in mind, targeting a specific audience adds to the quality of your overall marketing strategy and campaigns, and it also increases their effectiveness on the long run.

So, what steps should marketers take to achieve this?

1. Analyze your product/service

You won’t be able to figure out who wants your product unless you analyze it yourself first. Therefore, summarize all the features of your product/service by listing all the benefits it provides. The following questions might help:

  • What’s the purpose of your product?

Analyze the nature of your product. Is it something luxurious, or something that people would use on an everyday basis? Next, list the issues your product solves/addresses. How does your product make other people’s lives better?

  • Who would buy your product?

Analyze the problem your product/service can solve, and use this information to establish who would pay for a solution. But your consumers not only have to have a problem, they should also be aware of that problem. Conduct a research to see what people are searching for and how this is related to your product.

  • What makes your product unique?

Make a list of the features that make your product/service stand out among the other similar on the market. Differentiation is key to attracting your potential consumers. Moreover, make sure to emphasize this in your marketing strategy and product placement.

  • Why do your consumers want to buy from you?

List the possible reasons people are already buying your product. In other words, these here should be the benefits of the product. Analyze the buying trends: are there any particular consumers that buy more? Do they have something in common (age, lifestyle, interests, etc.)?

After this, make a list of potential consumers who would directly benefit from your product. Even though this will be way too broad at this point, it’s a solid basis to start from.

2. Select specific demographics to target

Figuring out who needs your product is not enough. It’s far more important to find out who’s most likely to buy it. So, the next step is to define the demographics. In doing this, think of the following factors:

  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Education level
  • Income level
  • Family status
  • Vocation

The list doesn’t have to end here. Add as many other details as possible and dig deeper into the factors that will eventually determine the ideal consumer. The more detailed your demographics, the clearer image you’ll have of those who’d buy your product, and the better the chances are to achieve your end goals.

3. What makes your target audience tick?

Now that you have the general idea about your ideal consumers, dig deeper into their more personal characteristics. Consider the following features:

  • Personality
  • Lifestyle
  • Hobbies
  • Interests
  • Values

Consider how your product will fit into your target’s life. When will they use your product and how? What characteristics will be most appealing to them?

4. Sketch your buyer persona

At this point, things should start looking a bit clearer. From the data you’ve put together, create several sample buyer personas from the audience segments you have. This ideal buyer persona will be the most receptive to your campaigns, so every campaign segment from this point on should be crafted with this persona in mind. Focusing your efforts to understand him/her better and creating ways to reach out to them with meaningful messages will increase your chances for success.

5. Choose the right networks

With the variety of social networks today, before you go any further, make sure that you as a marketer truly understand the purpose of some of the most popular social networks today. Before you start promoting your company/brand on a specific social network, think of ways to engage with your audience there. Also, focus on creating a unique style that will voice your brand in the crowded social media market. If properly executed, social networking campaigns will skyrocket your product in no time.

6. Evaluate your decision

Now that you have all the pieces of the puzzle figured out, you’re left with a couple of more ideas to think about. Think of the following questions that might help you crystallize the final image:

  • Have I figured what drives the decisions of my consumers?
  • Can my consumers afford my product?
  • Will my message really resonate with them?

Knowing your ideal audience will make you reconsider other aspects of your company and overall business strategy. Since many huge businesses today are customer-centric, this knowledge will make you think of other aspects of your business. Think how this discovery could impact your offer, distribution, or even pricing.

Final thoughts

Selecting your audience is the first step towards building an efficient marketing strategy. Once you have a clear idea of who they are and what they want, and once you’ve figured out how you can sell your product to them, think how efficiently you can push your marketing.

On times, you might also want to redefine some key aspects of your strategy concerning your target audience. For example, you might have started your businesses as a local clothing retailer, but now you want to expand your business globally. This requires a new marketing strategy, new market research, and an extended audience.

Understanding who makes the ideal target audience not only brings your company a step closer to achieving its goals, it also builds your message, product, and support around attracting this same audience, which by the end of this phase will already be a well-defined consumer group.

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Mimoza Naumovska

Mimoza Naumovska

Social media manager and content creator at Bonadza. I run the social profiles of the company and craft content for Bonadza's blog. I'm exploring the programmatic landscape and I'm eager to expand my blogging horizons. I love books, beer and gigs.

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