On Project Runway, judges will frequently ask contestants about the customer who will purchase their designs. “Who is this girl? Where is she going?”
The judges know the designers need to identify who their customer is; otherwise, their outfits will be unfocused and without purpose. And most importantly, they won’t sell.
In other words, the judges are asking the contestants to define their target audience. It’s an excellent question, and a question every business owner needs to ask themselves.
Your target audience can act as your North Star, guiding your product lines, marketing, social media, and content strategy on your eCommerce website.
Through target audience analysis, you can start to narrow in on the people most likely to convert. You need to know if you’re aiming for retired seniors in Florida who love to golf or high-salaried, single men in their 30s buying their first home.
In this guide, you’ll learn:
- The definition of a target audience
- Why your target customers matter
- How to conduct a target audience analysis to find yours
- Making the most of defining your ideal market
What is a target audience in marketing?
A target audience consists of the people most likely to be interested in your service or product. They fit a specific demographic or exhibit a set of behaviors that make them a perfect fit for your offerings.
The key factors to consider in target audience analysis are:
- Socioeconomic status
- Interests and activities
- Stage of life
- Motivation and priorities
Target audience vs. target market
A target audience is a subset of a target market. A target market might be teenagers who can drive, while the target audience is female teenagers in Florida who can drive and want a new car.
Your target audience can be broad or narrow, depending on your target audience analysis. And there are advantages and disadvantages to both. The more specific you get about your ideal customer and your potential market, the more tailored your business strategies can be.
A broader selection of target customers can reach a larger audience. But casting too big a net might mean you overlook the handful of potential customers in your ideal market who have a higher chance of buying your product.
Target audience example
Netflix is a brand with a broad target market. But their strategy changes when they try to appeal to a particular target audience. The presentation, language, and tone of their content are all suited to its target customers.
An Instagram post featuring the coming-of-age stories in Enola Holmes and Never Have I Ever are likely targeting a younger, female audience, while a list of Nigerian films would be appealing to foreign film enthusiasts in a wider age range.
The posts have contrasting approaches. For instance, each caption’s language is slightly different. The post aimed at a younger demographic has more casual phrasing compared to the straightforward style of the post designed for a wider audience.
Target audience analysis: Why it matters
You change your tone when you’re talking to a child versus talking to someone in their 70s. So it makes sense that you’d change the copy you’d write to sell a product depending on the audience.
Business is all about connecting people to your company. You don’t want to shout into the void telling people to buy your product, and customers don’t want to search the void for the products they need.
If you want your business to succeed, it’s crucial to understand who your target customers are to get your product in the right hands.
Your target audience will influence:
- What platform you use
- Where you market
- How you market
- Product updates
- Price point
- Design of your branding and product
- Tone and language
Appealing to your target Ccustomers
Your target audience can inform every decision you make, showcasing the importance of target market analysis.
If your blog aims to convert a potential customer, you need to create content that will appeal to them. Target audiences should influence the content you post. By running a “Would You Rather” quiz on Buzzfeed, Geico can reach a Millenial and Gen Z audience.
By performing target audience analysis, you can refine your approach. You don’t want to learn the hard way how important it is to analyze your target market. There’s nothing worse than spending money on an advertising campaign that didn’t reach the right audience.
If your product is trying to reach baby boomers, but you announce a product release on Snapchat, you’re not choosing the best platform for your customers. Since only 16% of boomers use Snapchat, your campaign might have a lackluster return on investment.
The CEO of Commerce Signals, Tom Noyes, estimates that 40% of media spending is wasted, which means it doesn’t lead to significant sales. You can avoid those numbers by investing time and money into specifying your target customers and the ideal market.
How to Identify Your Target Audience
- Analyze your products
- Investigate your audience
- Engage your audience
- Think outside the box
- Check out your competitors
- Do some social media listening
- Use analytics software and internet tools
Analyze Your Products
What problem does your product or service solve? The answer can give you a clear insight into your audience. And if you don’t know who your customer is, it might be time to clarify your offerings.
Who can your product benefit? Are they your current customer? If there’s a discrepancy between your target customer and the people buying your product, it might be time to pivot.
Do a Deep Dive Into Your Current Audience
Who are your customers, and where do you get the most engagement? Are there similarities between those customers?
Get curious about the people buying your products. They’re already in your ideal market, and you can use their demographic information to find more people like them to become new customers.
Engage With Your Audience
If you’re struggling to assess your customers, increase your engagement. Ask them questions or monitor which posts see more likes and comments.
Consider asking customers to fill out a survey. Surveys are a great way to do potential market research. You can glean the information you need from your customers quickly and easily. Make sure to sweeten the deal by linking the survey with a giveaway or discount.
Brainstorm Different Audiences for Your Products
Your target audience doesn’t have to be your primary audience. Your ideal market can shift with a new advertising campaign or promotional discount.
If you run a massage studio, you could market yourself as a relaxing spa for stressed-out professionals. But you can also run a campaign targeted at athletes or people recovering from injuries.
Check Out Your Competitors
See who your competitors target with their campaigns. Analyze their social media and engagement rates. If you find any inconsistencies, ask yourself if you want to make any changes to your strategies or see what’s working better for your company.
A tool like Followerwonk lets you analyze your own social media presence and compare yourself with competitors or other industry leaders.
Social Media Listening
Consumers are having public conversations on social media all day long. Social media listening entails paying attention to what customers are saying about your brand by monitoring social media channels (yours and others) and analyzing the data you get.
Hearing feedback about your brand is supremely beneficial. It will help you understand if your outreach is getting to the right people or you need to rethink your target customers.
Analytics and Other Tools
Most major platforms give you helpful tools, and many let you analyze your web traffic.
These are just a few that can come in handy:
Make sure your target audience fits in your ideal market
Once you pinpoint your ideal market of customers, then it’s necessary to take the time to ask yourself some questions:
- Are there enough people in your audience?
- Can your customers afford your product?
- Do you understand your audience?
- Is this audience sustainable?
You might realize your customers are suburban, middle-class families, but your price points are for high rollers in the upper class. If your products target women, but your staff is mostly male, it could make sense to hire more women to understand your audience’s perspectives better.
Also, don’t set it and forget it. Revisit your target audience analysis from time to time. Your audience may stay consistent, or it may grow even narrower. Or your company might have evolved, and you need to make a new game plan.
A target audience is the specific group of consumers you want your product and services to reach. By doing target audience analysis, you can find the segment of consumers that would be the ideal market for your business.
By analyzing your current customers, engaging with them on social media, using different tools, and doing social media listening, you can define your target audience.
When you do the research, you can tailor your offerings to the people who will want to buy them the most — helping both you and the consumer.
Common questions about target audience
A target audience is a specific group of people identified as the intended recipients of an advertisement, message, or product. They’re selected based on various factors like demographics, behavior, interests, and needs
Target audiences are critical because they guide the direction of your marketing strategy, allowing you to tailor messages, offerings, and outreach to engage the right people, thus increasing effectiveness and return on investment.
Examples of a target audience can range from ‘millennials interested in sustainable living’ to ‘busy parents looking for quick meal solutions’. Your product, message or service determines your audience.
While they’re often used interchangeably, target market refers to the entire set of consumers a business aims to reach, whereas a target audience is a subset within that market for a specific message or product.
A psychographic profile analyzes a target audience’s attitudes, interests, personality traits, values, and lifestyles. It complements demographic data, offering a more holistic understanding of consumer behavior.
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