June 21, 2022
By: Kari Amarnani
What is a target audience? Simply, it’s the specific group of consumers that you believe would be the most intrigued and interested by your products and services.
It’s totally in your favor to provide your target audience with a personalized buying experience, which gives you a favorable brand reputation and increases your visibility and circulation in the industry.
Some industries have a pretty straightforward target audience. For example, a lip gloss brand would predominantly target women as their primary demographic, but there’s more to uncover when you dive a little deeper.
What if the lip gloss business specializes in semi-shiny-coverage products? Then, it would be more practical to target adult women, from the ages of 18 and onwards. And this realization potentially impacts the way you would market the brand.
Understanding your target audience to a tee comes with an avalanche of benefits for you and your consumers. Your business gets a firmer grasp on its marketing and advertising methods, and consumers find the products and services that are best suited for them. It’s a win for everyone.
As a marketer, determining your target audience is not just ideal—it’s vital. This information positively affects every move and business decision, executing the perfect personas to reach your intended market.
Statistics show that 80% of consumers prefer to do business with companies that offer personalized interactions. It’s no surprise that customers gravitate towards brands that resonate with them on a meaningful level.
That means it’s up to you to provide them with a personalized buying experience—and how do you do that without understanding them? Learning about your target audience gives you a preemptive edge that tells consumers, “Looking for this? We understand, and we got you!”
If you plan ahead, you can market your products and services to grab consumers’ attention among the sea of competition that probably didn’t do as much extensive research as you did, giving you another edge in standing out as a brand.
One of the most significant benefits of finding your target audience is that it increases your return on investments (ROI). A business is about a mission, but it’s also an investment. Without returns, it would be a road to nowhere.
If you find and understand your target audience, they’ll feel connected to you. If your target audience connects with you, they will likely purchase your products and services. And if you consistently provide them with successful buying experiences, they will return for more purchases. Eventually, you get a base of loyal customers and regular ROIs.
Talk about the best cycle ever.
But before you get to reap these rewards, you have to put in the work. Read on this comprehensive guide to figure out the basics, steps, and examples of finding your brand's target audience.
Your target audience is already interacting with you on your communication channels, and with the right research, you can consciously converse with them. Your target audience is already present on these platforms. These are some statistics to make your decisions easier:
Social media is the hub of internet marketing — on average, people spend 35% of their internet time on social media.
People in the US still watch cable and network TV more than twice as much as they stream their content. If budgets allow, TV is a viable marketing option and should be included in your campaign. You can look at newspapers and radio if your target audience is on the older side.
In the US, TV consumption has been steadily declining since 2019; it is expected to reach an average of 171 minutes a day by 2023. Despite having a respectable audience, television may not be a viable option for the long term.
90% of internet searchers are open to new brands when looking for a product or service. If you create a Google Business Profile or a website, you open yourself up to these potential customers.
Create both for the best results because over 50% of consumers visit company websites after checking out Google Business Profiles.
With 38% of Americans listening to podcasts monthly, podcasts can serve as a great medium to communicate with your target audience. You can collaborate with creators to build positive word-of-mouth, and you can extend this kind of collaboration to creators on platforms like YouTube.
Internet ads will expand your reach beyond the realms of one social media platform. You can use Google Ads to get your target audience to your website, get callbacks, or watch your campaign on a particular platform. If budgets allow, you should make a video advertisement as they’re shared more by 1200% over their text counterparts.
Getting the perfect audience is the result of timely research and brainstorming. The amount of work you put in is directly proportional to how educated your guess will be about who to target. The steps below should ease the process for you.
To do market research, you must perform a SWOT analysis, which assesses your brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Identifying these answers gives you a greater understanding of your business, which is key to determining your target audience.
Once you’ve attained the framework of your brand, you should be able to grasp your intended market further, not only on primary demographics like age, gender, etc., but also identifying motivations, competition, buying habits, and so much more.
A SWOT analysis provides you insight into the best positioning of your brand to engage with your target audience. Sometimes, the answer is not on the surface, and you need a structured and detailed game plan to reach your customers and rake sales. This gives you the awareness you need to make the most suitable decisions.
Lastly, remember that this isn’t perfect. It’s merely insight, and who knows, it may not serve you with preferred results, and that’s okay. Experience also plays a significant role in finding your target audience. Not to mention that society is ever-changing; what works today may not work tomorrow. Don’t sweat it—just keep rolling with it.
Numbers will provide you with unbiased and objective information all the time. Data will help you create a hypothesis about your target audience and potentially even how to target it. You should conduct primary research to get the best possible data; these activities will get you the numbers you need.
A voluntary survey at the point of purchase will give you an idea about your customers' age, income, attitude towards your products and services, and any feedback for your brand. You can even learn whether your existing customers link into your buyer persona or if they’re purchasing for someone else who would be a promising fit as a target audience.
Annual sales data will tell you when your products and services get sold the most and what peak sales mean in terms of numbers. This data will inform you when your target audience is the most active consumption-wise and the ideal time to engage with them.
You can interview customers one-on-one or in focus groups if resources and time allow. While methods such as these limit macro data, they give you first-hand customer insights you can’t simply create on your own.
Interviews and focus groups rarely provide you with numbers on their own. Your team will have to derive numerical data from your customers’ verbal answers to create any sort of analysis.
It’s not enough to know who your target market is—you also need to understand their motives and intentions behind every purchase. This is where brand personas come in handy. Depending on their purchase paths and pain points, you can curate a persona that rectifies these hindrances.
It’s imperative to ask yourself a couple of questions:
If they’re doubtful about the prices, take on a brand persona that reassures them that you care about them getting their money’s worth, and they deserve quality offerings. If they’re second-guessing the effectiveness, you can feature compilations of positive feedback, stating that customer satisfaction is the driving force behind your business.
This stage allows you to build a connection with them, alleviating doubts and replacing them with solutions. Create tailored messages—giving your target audience the impression that you are speaking directly to them and you’re ready to fix problems and serve them at every step of the way. This quiz by Sleepjunkie is an ideal example of marketing collateral that you can use to understand your customer's pain points and sell them the right product accordingly.
Numbers are meaningless on their own and need analysis to convert them into real-world information. With enough data, you can make educated guesses about your target audience and create a fruitful campaign around it. Tap into data surrounding demographics and psychographics to form your hypotheses. If your business scales, keep in mind that you'll have to store high volumes of this data in a sustainable data center.
Demographic data categorizes people based on numerical and tangible factors like age, location, shopping habits, and more. These are some demographic questions:
Creating demographics-based correlations won’t give you the perfect target audience but will help narrow your decision.
Psychographic data will teach you what your customers value, which is crucial in targeting the right people and how you target them. It isn’t numerical data; it focuses on non-tangible factors like your customers’ family values, whether they are family-oriented or not.
It can be influenced by factors such as their preference for pets, whether they like vacations or staying at home, and their affinity towards social media, among other factors.
The psychographic correlation will give you the tools to create a relatable brand marketing campaign for your target audience. Without such data, you could miss out on crucial moments to tap into your audience’s emotional chords.
Once you form correlations based on the above data, you can start creating hypotheses on who your target audience is and how you plan on catering to them.
The best part about brainstorming to find your target audience is that you can be as absurd as possible. While common sense is a great gift, it can falter when pitted head-to-head against numerical data.
For example, Burger King Singapore learned that their customers dipped fries in ice cream. They took the data, dropped common sense, and released a dish with fries mixed with ice cream, which got positive reviews!
Similarly, if your data points to your target audience as being different from what convention dictates, it might not be a bad idea to create a campaign around it.
Chances are, competitors and brands from other industries have created campaigns for a target audience similar to yours. Once you’ve hypothesized who you think your target audience is, do the following secondary competitor research to refine your campaign:
With all the research done, you should go ahead and create your campaign around your new target audience. If your research is thorough, you have little to worry about, but it probably won’t be perfect on the first approach.
Your audience may not resonate with some aspects of your campaign, but the best you can do is keep refining your approach till you strike a chord with it.
If you have the time and money, you could test your campaign on a small group of people before putting it out to the public. You could start with one city or town and take it from there. The results from said test will give you the initial learning you’ll need to better target your audience.
If you have existing customers, have you ever wondered why they stuck around? If you haven’t, you should because it is a helpful indication of your key demographic.
Don’t shy away from getting to know your customers. They were once consumers before they hitched on to your business services. Taking the time to learn about your existing customers gives you an idea of your target audience and how to reach them.
Closely examine your website and social media analytics to better understand the demographics that gravitate towards you and go from there. Which website pages are they visiting the most? What kind of people view your social media accounts?
Knowing the answer allows you to modify your profiles in a way that would suit them the best. Eventually, these actions reinforce your brand placement, and your target audience may eventually start finding you on their own.
If you’re looking for brands that have successfully found their target audience, look no further! These big players did everything right and have set examples for every business to take note of.
Before its recent brand revamp, Old Spice was considered an aging man’s brand. With a declining customer base, things had to change; the brand needed to appeal to a younger audience. Old Spice’s research showed that women made 60% of all the purchase decisions for body washes.
Their solution was to make women their target audience and appeal to them with aspirational versions of how the men in their families could be.
With Terry Crews and Isaiah Mustafa as the faces of the marketing campaign, the brand was bound to succeed in its endeavors.
Netflix has done a phenomenal job of building a marketing ecosystem around its target audience, which are liberal millennials with an annual income less than than $50,000. Netflix learned that this age group consumes standup comedy regularly, every week.
Netflix used this information for a recent campaign, Netflix Is A Joke Fest, and got a hold of young comedians like Pete Davidson, Jimmy Yang, Gabriel Iglesias, and others to attract millennial viewership.
It shows that Netflix understands its audience and wants to compete with the likes of Comedy Central for their regular attention.
McDonald’s is the most recognized fast food brand amongst Gen Z, the generation most in tune with sustainability.
This is part of what prompted McDonald's recent sustainability campaign, which aims to source meat sustainably, provide youth with professional opportunities, and move toward recyclable packaging.
By catering to its target audience, McDonald’s has ensured its business’s success for years to come.
One would assume that the best-selling item for a brand called Dunkin’ Donuts would be donuts, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Coffee is the most sold item at Dunkin Donuts, which competes with the likes of Starbucks to get the attention of coffee lovers.
Seoul happens to have a rich coffee culture, and Dunkin’ Donuts wanted to capitalize on this by making regular coffee drinkers their target audience.
With their ‘Flavor Radio’ marketing campaign, the brand created a machine that released the scent of coffee when the Dunkin’ Donuts ad played on the radio.
This clever marketing exercise informed pedestrians about Dunkin’ Donuts’ coffee and increased product awareness for coffee lovers during their commute.
Why is determining your target audience so necessary?
The ultimate goal of most businesses is to have a strong base of loyal and committed customers. You get to sleep at night knowing that you provide optimal customer satisfaction, hone a connection with your happy customers, and receive a return on investments (ROI) to keep your business growing.
It isn’t merely about having people make purchases. The more you understand your target audience, the more you know the pinnacles of where your business can reach to. Not only is it a practical move, but it’s also a pretty fulfilling feat as a brand owner.