Unfortunately, there’s no effective “one size fits all” approach to market any product or service. Every brand has its own needs, and advertising content is always a custom job. The mistake that far too many marketing professionals make is to not define a clear target audience. Some try to be all things to all people, thinking that their offering and messaging will appeal universally to everyone.
Here is a roadmap to help you identify your target audience and move closer to a successful marketing strategy.
See Who’s Following You
A single customer view is invaluable to marketers, as they try to understand who values their brand and how to craft messaging that is relevant to them. This would have been a mysterious, daunting task even 20 years ago. Now, however, we can turn to SEO and social media analytics to gain insights about the consumers and potential customers who are seeking us out. This data is available to anyone spending money with search engines and social media platforms. Access it, analyze it, and utilize it to form strategy.
Start with Internal Discussions About Goals
Taking the external out of the equation for a moment, recognize how important it is for the key decision makers in your organization to be on the same page. The sales manager may have a different idea of what defines success than the marketing director, human resources manager, or CFO.
Before you can decide how to micro-target your messaging, you need to make sure that the everyone with “skin in the game” discusses and agrees on both the goals of your efforts and the metrics by which you will evaluate its success.
Follow the Money
For some products, the target audience is obvious. For example, pregnancy and maternity items are usually purchased by or for females between the ages of 20 and 40. In many other cases, however, your ideal customer may be harder to define. Start by going back to the social and digital analytics we mentioned earlier. Compare this to any internal research you may have, such as customer surveys or online reviews. This will probably paint a clear picture, but you may have to make decisions between key targets based on your budget or your advertising window.
In this case, put geographic and cultural demographics aside and focus on one thing: income level. Who has the spending power to by your top of the line items, or large quantities of your standard ones with repeat business? You can make some assumptions that older demos usually have more disposable income, but if you have a younger-skewing brand, this may not be helpful. In any case, consider who the most profitable customer to chase will be, and focus on them.
Create Brand Personae
Determining your target audience is the first part of the advertising puzzle. The second part is figuring out how to market to them. This is another situation where you must gather everyone involved and make sure they’re all in lock-step. This time, the focus needs to be on who the message needs to reach.
A helpful way to do this is to create brand personae that your marketing, social, and design teams can all easily reference. (Don’t worry, this approach is just as helpful for smaller operations.) Simply put, you personify your brand by creating a character that represents your target audience. If your product is a multi-tool, and you have determined that your target audience is adult men between 25 and 50, you might create a persona named “Chad.”
Describe Chad in detail. Determine his exact age, talk about what he does for a living, what he does for fun, what he values, likes, and doesn’t like. The more characteristics you can ascribe to Chad, the easier it will be to create advertising that will resonate with him.
From here, you’re off to the races. Select the right mediums and platforms that will reach your target customer, set your schedules and place your buys. You can do this confidently, knowing that you have identified the customer you need to reach!