Defining your target audience is absolutely crucial for any business - it allows marketing investment to be streamlined effectively and can even aid in the development of your products and services to better engage the people who will most want to buy from your business.
The following guide by UK specialists in this field, Kantar Media, offers top tips to help businesses get started with identifying their target audience.
Always keep returning to your Business Plan as this will help you keep your goals clear, which in turn will let you ask the right questions about your audience. For example, looking at your products and services as well as what you are trying to achieve will let you hone in on how this translates to fulfilling a customer's needs. Also think about how your products or services differ from your competitors since this is key in steering your marketing efforts forward.
Your USPs (unique selling points) need to be defined and succinctly highlighted to consumers, plus they should be the first indicator of what type of audience will be interested in what you offer. An example would be a company that has developed a new energy drink that is healthier than others on the marketplace - this would immediately tell you that you are after active people that are health conscious. If your energy drink is more expensive than others due to better quality ingredients, this points to your target audience as being busy professionals who want and can afford superior products, rather than a younger demographic such as teens who are cash poor.
Research Is Key
You may get lucky and find that research has already been done on the wants and needs of your target demographic - unless you do this secondary research you will never know. Resources such as the following could be just the ticket for understanding the consumers you want to reach:
- The Office of National Statistics (ONS)
- Chambers of Commerce
- Industry and trade bodies
- National Press
- Competitors Annual Reports (these can be downloaded from the Companies House website if they are registered as a limited company).
If you're not getting the facts and figures you need, you might want to consider using market research professionals who specialise in undertaking primary research through surveys to understand your target audience, no matter how niche they may be.
Building a Customer Profile
Once you've gone through the research phase you will have honed your target audience. The next step is to develop a customer profile - an in-depth description of who your typical customer is, both demographically (gender, age, location, income etc.) and psychographically (a customer's inner world such as interests, hobbies, values and lifestyle).
Tracking Down Your Customers
Now that you know who your typical customer is, you need to find out where they spend time so you can get their attention with engaging marketing. For example, does your typical customer spend a great deal of time reading emails and visiting their Facebook page, or are they more likely to be found browsing certain types of brick and mortar stores?
Vigilance Secures the Future
Defining a target audience is in fact just the start of the game. Any experienced marketer will tell you it's all about consistently monitoring a type of audience to learn how their interests and buying habits evolve over time. In addition to ensuring you are always on top of what your customers want so they don't turn to a competitor, this yields valuable information about customers that will in turn help steer your business forward correctly.
The above tips by Kantar Media will get the ball rolling on understanding your target audience. Nevertheless, having information about a certain demographic is not always enough - to make the right data connections and to maximise details effectively, it is best to enlist the help of experienced professionals in media analytics.
Information Shared by Kantar Media