Every business has a target audience—a specific grouping of individuals who will respond most enthusiastically to its marketing message. This grouping encompasses both existing and prospective customers who share certain fundamental traits and behaviors. In the marketplace, some businesses do a better job of identifying and reaching out to that audience than others.
In fact, precise knowledge of customers is the starting point for all marketing strategies. Here are three tips for narrowing your research and to focus where it really counts:
1. Capture customer demographics and psychographics
The logical starting point to better know and understand your target audience consists of gathering two types of information:
Demographics. This describes the typical traits of your customers—everything from his or her age, level of education, annual income, job, what part of the country they live in, and how many people comprise the household.
Psychographics. Here, the key elements are a customer’s lifestyle, as well as his or her buying (and other) behaviors. Do they enjoy traveling? What entertainment interests do they have? What are their personal values? How do they prefer to shop, and what are their preferences in terms of online purchases?
As AllBusiness notes, “demographics help you understand who buys your product or service, while psychographics helps you understand why they buy.”
2. Conduct focused research.
While it’s important to know everything you can about “who” your audience is, the next step in targeting your audience draws more from psychographics than demographics. Of course, it’s important to acquire thorough knowledge of your customers, but grasping the reasons behind their lifestyles and buying behaviors will lead to more accurate marketing efforts and a bigger potential pay-off.
Focused research is the key to gaining this crucial information.
Start with your existing customers. Using every method at your disposal (such as surveys, focus groups, opt-in information, etc.), gather data about:
- Age. Knowing your customers’ generation is generally more useful than any one customer’s specific age.
- Stage in life. This can be an outgrowth of the “age” bracket, with the focus on where customers are in their lives. Entering college? Becoming parents for the first (or third) time? About to buy their first house or downsize?
- Interests. What types of activities or hobbies do your customers enjoy? Do they like watching television and, if so, which channels and programs do they follow? This category can encompass everything about the customer beyond buying and using what you have to sell.
The more information you can compile, the clearer a “portrait” will emerge that moves you to the next step in getting to know your audience.
3. Create a customer persona.
To guide your marketing message, it helps to create a customer persona that most closely captures the who and why of your target audience. As Entrepreneur notes, a persona “is basically a fictional character who exhibits all the traits an ‘average’ member of your target audience is expected to have.”
This persona is the end-result of all of your research—an easy-to-understand picture of your ideal customer, including his or her likes and dislikes, buying habits, online behavior (such as social media activity), and other relevant facts about the way they live their life. Now you can tailor your message to connect more effectively with the right audience.
After all, as advertising guru Mary Pomerantz notes, this audience “needs to feel that you understand their needs and are going to provide them with a product or service that will make their lives better.” A detailed customer persona lays out the path by which you can achieve this goal.
Some businesses make the mistake of attempting to market their products or services to everyone, regardless of demographics or psychographics. This often leads to duplication of efforts, as well as costly marketing initiatives that go nowhere.
By contrast, a business that takes the time and resources to learn all it can about its customers can craft a message that genuinely touches those people and moves them forward on the purchasing journey.
If you’re looking for help identifying your target audience, or any other additional business growth strategies, reach out today to learn how TAB can help you.