Target audiences and why they matter

by Alex MacDonald

Having a target audience is essential to the success of a business. You need to know the exact group of people that you are trying to provide goods, services or experiences for and why they want it.

How do you choose a target audience? Here are some questions for your to answer about your business that might help; try to use as little words as possible to answer these questions. That clarify your audience. 

  • What is my product/​service?
  • What problem does it solve? 
  • Who are the people that have this problem? 
  • Why do these people have this problem?
  • Do they already solve their problem in another way? (If so, does your solution differ?)
  • How much does my product/​service cost? 
  • Who can realistically afford that cost? 
  • What age are the people that can afford that cost?
  • Does their martial status impact their ability to obtain my product/​service? (Yes, they need it more — no, they need it less — not relevant)
  • Does their gender impact their ability to obtain my product/​service? (Yes — no — not relevant)
  • If these people have children does impact their ability to obtain my product/​service? (Yes — no — not relevant)

An example of a target audience might be:

Young working family, (a couple with 1+ children) between 26 – 35. Medium to low disposable income.

Some people ask, can I just try and talk to everyone? The short answer is NO. In another era, you probably could talk to everyone via your product. This is only because we lived in what Joseph Pine II describes as a goods/​service based economy in which, people were purely trying to buy something. For example, you go to the store and you buy a chocolate bar. Easy, right? But now, we live on the cusp of two different economies. These are called the customisation economy and the experiential economy. The titles speak for themselves, but let me break it down.

Goods Economy

I sell chocolate bars

Service Economy

I sell and deliver chocolate bars

The Customisation Economy

I make chocolate bars to your specified requirements

The Experiential Economy

I allow you to be part of creating chocolate bars to your specific requirements. 

So, if we are about to enter a world in which the customer is part of the process, then they must have some sort of interest in it right? Generally, a well executed target audience, is identifying a group of individuals that share the same values as the company. The biggest companies in the world don’t even bother advertising products anymore, they advertise their values. For example, Coca Cola. You don’t see many ad’s directing people to buy Coke Zero or Diet Coke. Coca Cola spends mega bucks on making coke bottles with people’s names on them. Why? Because Coca Cola’s values are loosely about sharing, family and fun. Their strategy is to engage you in a Surprise and Delight’ state, that makes you feel as though they are talking specifically to you. This is how brands create loyalty. Loyalty in our current economy is hugely important. Not only does it mean the business will receive repeating custom, competitor advantage, and word of mouth advertising, but the customer has an emotive connection. 

Ways to build trust: 

Pick a target audience and stick to it. Don’t assume your customers are stupid. They will know if you are twisting your marketing just to sell to a group of people that are more convenient to target at the time. Transparency is important. This is a bit of a buzzword’ but, In its simplest sense, business transparency means clear, unhindered honesty in the way that s/​he does business.” 

In social media, we have a 2 – 5 second window of time in which you can connect with someone scrolling down their news feed. So, the content has to be simple and effective, but more importantly, it needs to be honest and transparent to continue to maintain a trustworthy relationship with your specified target audience. 

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