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Establishing a target audience is a critical step in making sure the correct tone and messaging techniques are being used during your campaigns.
The primary reason for addressing target audiences is that not all products can be consumed or offered to all customers. That is, every product or service has its own ideal market demographic, and not chasing the right segment can have negative effects on your bottom line.
It is in your best interest to understand what, how and why you need to address target audiences during your campaigns.
Your “target audience” is the overall audience you want to sell to or reach — it’s that simple.
Your target audience may include a specific group of demographics, such as men in their 20’s, parents, or grandparents; location, such as people who live in NYC; or behaviors and interests, such as dog owners or sports lovers. Every target audience has specific interests and may engage differently with your campaigns. For some marketing campaigns, you want to get as granular as targeting males in their 20’s who have dogs and make over $30,000 a year.
So why do you need to concern yourself with these classifications?
Consider this. You have put in the long hours and finally finished making that killer product or service. You think your work is done, but no — it is only beginning. Now, you need to introduce people to the work you have spent so much time on. You need to show them why your product, publication, or service is so unique and why they should choose you over your competitors. You probably already have some idea of who you want to reach, your ultimate customer. In the same way you agree on or work with achievable business goals, it is essential to set a target-able, reachable audience. You must choose who the primary consumer or customer is for your product — otherwise, you won’t be able to measure success, let alone obtain it.
By finding that target audience, you can tailor or craft messages that appeal specifically to that group, to ensure that it is striking a chord with them, and ultimately gain their attention.
Once you know who you are targeting, it is also that much easier to make decisions on media allocations. If you are specifically targeting women in their 20’s, you don’t need to place an ad on EVERY site. You can choose to advertise only in those that resonate with the specific audience. By doing this, you will save money, get a better ROI (return on investment) and reduce wasted audience.
Sometimes, it’s necessary to consider the number of audiences you’re targeting. It’s not always as simple as a one-size-fits-all approach. Your target audience can be several — dozens or even hundreds — of groups of people, who have different goals, needs, characteristics and points of view.
People tend to claim that, “Any business is good business.” But, is it? Are you losing money in messaging campaigns because you’re following this idea?
Generalizing your campaign or trying to appeal to a much larger group — also defined as the mainstream masses —will likely turn out to be a big mistake when it comes to marketing. That is because marketing tends to be a very specific, creative and focused process. Once you know who your target audience really is, you’ll be able to hone in on and convey a stronger, more direct message, which will ultimately lead to more conversions for your company and an impressive ROI.
It’s also important to clarify that it’s okay to come up with separate marketing campaigns for each segment or target audience. In fact, it’s downright necessary when you’re working with multiple groups or segments. You don’t want to build a generalize strategy or campaign that isn’t effective with either group, because then you’re just wasting resources.
So, how do you define your target audience? How do you find the true “perfect” customer for your product or service? Better yet, how do you know your campaign is going to resonate with that group or demographic?
Let’s start with the basics. Ask yourself this: who is the audience at the receiving end of your marketing efforts?
As much as your product or service may appeal to a large group of people, it doesn’t make sense to market to everyone. You obviously want as many people to know about your business as possible, but the more potential customers you want to reach, the more time, effort, and money it is going to cost to do so.
Depending on your brand or the objectives of the campaign, specific audiences may hold a higher value to you. Targeting high-value groups for your business and customizing messaging to reach particular audiences leads to a higher ROI. Rather than digging through a haystack in hopes of finding a needle, you can adjust your campaign messaging to be like a magnet that brings the needle, your target audience, to you.
Even today, marketing digitally without knowing how to find your target audience can waste time and energy, which can affect your bottom line significantly. A target audience is an audience that, when you reach them, are more likely to convert to sales because their purchasing interests coincide with what you’re selling.
By selecting different target audiences, and focusing on the portion of the people who would be most interested in your products or services, you are allowing yourself to communicate and engage with that segment more personally.
Follow this step-by-step process to identify your target audience, based on where you are now, and where you want to be in future campaigns.
When you are identifying your target audience, it is important also to determine the features of your product or service. What needs does your product or service fulfill for a potential customer? How does your product or service differ from other product or services in your industry? Is your product more affordable? Is it more effective? You must take many of these things into account before figuring out who will be on the receiving end of your marketing efforts. Think about who might be interested and who may benefit from having access to what you offer. These are the people that will make up your target audience.
Keep in mind when thinking about how to market to your target audience that today’s consumers don’t like to be “sold to.” They are much savvier than consumers of the past. Between television advertising, print ads and all the various forms of advertising on the internet, they’ve seen it all. They want to be informed and entertained. They want to be in control of their buying experience. By learning how to identify your target audience and marketing to that group, you are giving them that control.
If you are already in business, defining your target audience can be as easy as looking at your best customers. Who are they, and what traits do they have in common? Do you have more success selling to a particular demographic? Who do you want to get in front of, and what do you already know about this group of people?
Regardless of marketing, you must know your competitors well to make an impact in your current market. But to find your target audience, and what they want, you’ll also need to better understand the competition. Pull together relevant information about your industry, the market, your competition, and most importantly, the broad potential customer you have identified. How have your competitors marketed their products/services, and to whom?
Another source to finding your target audience is your existing or best customers. If you want to find more of these people (and grow your customer base), find out what makes them tick. What interests them? How did they find out about your product/service? What did they like or dislike about it? The more information you have, the easier it is to identify and reach your target audience.
If you already have access to a data management platform, you should consult the audience analytics you have available to learn even more. For example, Lotame’s Audience Profile Report can give additional insights into your target audience’s behaviors, interests, actions, and demographics across screens. All of this information should be combined as you build your target audience for a holistic view and understanding of the consumer. You’re essentially creating a comprehensive or nearly complete profile of the kind of customer you’re targeting.
As you might expect, it helps to identify and understand the broader market you’re after, before narrowing it down to specifics. The process is as follows:
You could skip right to defining your target audience, but there’s a chance you’ll make a mistake and focus on the wrong customers. That’s why it’s always a good idea to discover your market first, then move on to your target audience.
As an incredibly basic example, let’s say you’re looking to target one group only. Right away — without considering your market — you could narrow things down using specifics you already know, such as males who enjoy football. Naturally, you get right to creating and managing a variety of marketing campaigns and promotions tailored to this audience.
Successful or not, this is a problematic approach. Why? Because really, you should be focused on a much broader group, like males who enjoy sports as opposed to a single activity. Unless you already have collected the necessary data, you don’t know whether you’re missing out on other audiences or customers just because you narrowed down your focus too quickly.
Males who enjoy basketball, soccer or even golf may also be interested in your product or service, but you ignored them by closing in on only the football group. Specifics are necessary as a last step, yes, but you want to be as accurate as possible when choosing your focus, which includes looking at a broader audience to start.
Who are your “buyer personas,” or ideal customers? You need to get right to the nitty-gritty of your typical or perfect person. The more granular you can get with the information, the better. Look at traits such as:
All types of information are essential in developing your customer profile(s). The demographic information will help in identifying the kind of person who will potentially buy your products and services. The psychographic information takes it a bit further and helps you to understand the reasoning behind why the customer may make the purchase. Lastly, the technographic piece helps you learn where to reach your different audiences and on what device.
Speaking of where your audience spends their time online, it is essential to find out where they hang out. What websites do they visit? Which social networks are they spending most of their time on? Do they prefer email over other forms of communication?
This helps you create the right message, and place that message in the right setting. Chances are, if your audience is not checking their email a lot, they won’t see your email campaign. The information you put together for your customer profile, combined with knowing where your audience hangs out online will improve the delivery effectiveness of your message.
Consider giving your buyer personas actual names. This will help you further distinguish them and inform your marketing plan as you create it. If you think of these personas as real people rather than a collection of traits, you will have an easier time understanding whether or not people like your buyer persona are a part of your target audience and exactly how you will target your marketing to them.
If you have access to a DMP and have already begun running marketing campaigns, you should already have a lot of information about the people who are interacting with those campaigns. By tagging your campaign creative, you can build an audience of “clickers” or “converters” (or both!) and look at the audience profile reports of both of these groups.
The DMP will provide demographic, behavioral and interest data about each group, and will also provide you with the option to reach more of these audiences via lookalike modeling. If your’e not sure where to start with targeting, using these “seed audiences” as a jumping off point could be a simple idea. Test it out and see how the performance goes compared with a non-targeted campaign.
Should you focus on all potential target audiences, or only a few? Are they all equal in regards to value and ROI? No, absolutely not, because some just won’t have the impact or influence on your business that others will.
Therein lies the problem with chasing a niche or specific group. Sometimes, it’s possible to get so precise that the overall impact of a group is minimal at best. Before actually honing in on a particular audience, you want to make sure the investment is worth it for your business and team.
The best way to understand the value of your target audiences is to compare them on an even playing field. At this point, you’ve already done a majority of the work and research and know which segments are ideal for your product. Now, it’s time to consider how those groups will impact your bottom line. If you’re pouring a ton of resources into targeting a specific audience, yet you see no adoption or return, it’s nothing more than a waste.
So, how do you understand performance or potential, before actually marketing to said audiences? The answer is analytics, or predictive tools. During your research, you should have also come across similar data that reveals what your customers are interested in, as well as the kinds of things they resonate with. This will provide you with a more informed approach — you’ll know before entering the market whether your product is going to succeed or fail. No, you may not know total impact, influence or revenue before taking action, but you will have some idea of how you’re going to fare, and that’s just as important.
Lotame’s Insights tool is a remarkably useful platform for gathering this kind of information.
Once you begin marketing to your target audience, you may feel that your work is essentially done in this regard. Unfortunately, the task doesn’t end after you launch your campaign and send out waves of advertising.
It is essential that you monitor the campaign performance to keep it competitive. How are people reacting to your ads? Are they clicking? Are they converting? You need to adjust your strategy if your marketing isn’t practical for your target audience. Or, perhaps the people you thought were your ideal customers aren’t the ones you should be trying to reach?
The great thing about data is that it evolves continuously. As time passes, you can bootstrap your data to make your audience targeting more precise. The information you collect now will give you a good starting point for how to identify your target audience and find the best ways to market to them. Once they start responding, you will have even more information you can use to break down your customers’ need and desires further. When you see this process in action, it can be extremely exciting — especially when you see the effect good data management has on your company’s bottom line.
Before you start your marketing, you need to make sure you know how to track sales, interactions, requests for information and more. This way, you can stay ahead of the game, especially with your messaging and advertising environment.
As your business matures, keep following these steps. Your target audience may change as your business grows, and finding your target audience should be a continual effort. Regardless of where your business is, identifying your target audiences can push you one step closer to maximizing your ROI and reaching your overall business goals.
So, you’re ready to embark upon your marketing journey. You’re armed with plenty of research, information and data, and you know exactly who to target in your future campaigns — that’s great! It’s undoubtedly taken a lot of work to reach this point, as well as a lot of resources. You’ll want to make sure all that work wasn’t for nothing, though, which means finding a viable tool to help you achieve your goals. What target audience software will make a difference for you?
That’s where a DMP, or a Data Management Platform, comes into play. Once you have the necessary data, it’s all about putting it to work. DMPs are the backbones of data-driven marketing campaigns and provide a central, unified dashboard to work with audience data. They can do things like collect, organize and activate audience data from any source, including third-party, second-party, first-party, online, offline or even mobile users.
The best way to describe a DMP is as a “pipe” or movement system for advertising tech. They’re designed to make data available to other platforms, such as a DSP, SSP or ad exchange. It will connect all the platforms you need to carry out a strong marketing campaign, into one convenient place.
Having the correct data and managing it efficiently will lead to a better ROI through targeted campaigns. Using data-driven strategies brings you closer to hitting your business objectives, and an established data management system can help you manage and optimize your data.
Lotame’s Precision Audiences tool can help you get right down to specifics when targeting a particular market. All data is validated for accuracy, globally scaled and proprietary — you won’t find it anywhere else. These are data segments that exceed industry on-target benchmarks and improve targeting, insights and analytics. In fact, we’ve already seen excellent results for those using the tool, and we’re confident you will, too.
If you want to learn more about how Lotame can help you in your marketing efforts, contact us. We’d love to talk data or give you a demo of our platform.