How to Define Your Target Audience

Atarodo
14 min readJul 28, 2023

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image source: Unsplash

In the world of digital marketing, there’s a saying that goes, “If you try to sell to everyone, then you’ll end up selling to no one.” This highlights the importance of targeting a specific market when it comes to online success.

While it may seem counterintuitive to narrow down your audience, targeting a specific market allows you to focus your message on the right people — those who are most likely to buy from you.

In this article, we will explore the significance of defining your target audience and provide actionable tips on how to do it effectively.

What is a target audience, and why do you need one?

In our childhood, we unknowingly demonstrate a natural grasp of target audiences by strategically asking one parent for a treat. We are fully aware that the other parent will likely refuse. We choose the one who is more likely to say yes because it’s the most straightforward path to achieving our desired outcome.

This elementary example of targeting becomes a fundamental principle applied in all types of businesses, including personal brands. Just like in the childhood scenario, understanding the preferences and behaviours of your target audience enables you to connect more effectively and efficiently. This enables you to achieve your goals with greater success.

Thus, your target audience profile consists of a group of customers that are most likely to respond positively to your promotions, products, and services. A target audience analysis will typically include factors such as location, age, income, and so on. For instance, a fashion brand might target young adults interested in streetwear and urban fashion.

Why is identifying a target audience so crucial? The answer is straightforward: the way you connect with your audience, the language you use, and the information you provide may not be equally effective across all demographics. Defining your target audience allows you to create a distinct tone of voice that truly resonates with your customers.

In essence, analysing your target audience provides direction for your marketing efforts and ensures consistency in your messaging. By understanding the kind of individuals you are communicating with, you gain insights into how to effectively engage with them, where to find them, and what they expect from your brand.

By understanding how your audience compares and selects products, you can adjust your marketing campaigns to position your offering as the most compelling solution in the market.

Additionally, creating a target audience profile centers around relevance. If your products and messaging align with what your audience seeks, you are more likely to attract and retain customers. On the other hand, appealing to a broad and undefined audience might make it difficult to connect with anyone on a deeper level. Remember, building strong connections fosters customer loyalty and advocacy and this can turn customers into devoted advocates of your brand.

The Difference Between Target Audience and Target Market

A target market is a much broader group of people that a company is looking to sell to, while the target audience is a subset of the market that the company is specifically targeting with its marketing activities. This allows the company to focus its efforts on the people that will be most receptive to its message.

Let’s consider an example related to a company that sells organic skincare products. The target market for this company includes health-conscious individuals who prioritize natural and chemical-free skincare.

Target Market: Health-Conscious Individuals Seeking Organic Skincare

1. Target Audience 1: Eco-friendly consumers.

This audience consists of environmentally conscious individuals who prioritize their own well-being but also care deeply about the impact of their skincare choices on the environment. They are likely to be interested in products with sustainable packaging and ingredients sourced ethically.

2. Target Audience 2: Sensitive Skin Users

This group comprises individuals with sensitive skin who have experienced adverse reactions to mainstream skincare products containing harsh chemicals. They seek gentle and hypoallergenic solutions that won’t irritate their skin.

3. Target Audience 3: Vegan and Cruelty-Free Advocates

The audience consists of vegans and those who oppose cruelty to animals. They are interested in skincare products that are entirely plant-based and have not been tested on animals.

In this example, the target market is health-conscious individuals seeking organic skincare products, but the target audiences are distinct subsets within that market. Each target audience has specific concerns and preferences, and catering to these preferences can enhance the company’s appeal to these segments.

Target audience and target market are often used interchangeably since both refer to specific segments within the broader market. However, it’s important to note that the target market doesn’t necessarily encompass the concept of target audience in all cases.

The Benefits of Defining Your Target Audience

Designing a target audience profile offers several benefits for your marketing efforts:

  • Relevancy: By understanding the kind of people you’re targeting, you can adapt your messaging to speak directly to their needs and desires. This ensures that your brand resonates with your audience and increases the likelihood of conversion.
  • Effective Communication: Different demographics may respond better to different channels, language, and information. By knowing your target audience, you can choose the most effective communication methods to reach and engage with them.
  • Optimised Marketing Strategies: Identifying your target audience allows you to tailor your marketing campaigns to meet their specific preferences. This includes adapting your value proposition to address their needs, adjusting your SEO strategies to rank for relevant keywords, and aligning your marketing campaigns to make your offering the most compelling in their eyes.
  • Customer Loyalty: Building strong connections with your target audience leads to increased customer loyalty and advocacy. When you connect with someone on a deeper level and provide them with what they are looking for, they are more likely to become loyal customers and even brand advocates.

How to Identify Your Target Audience

Now that we understand the importance of defining your target audience, let’s explore how you can identify and understand them better. Here are some actionable steps to help you create an effective target audience profile.

Step 1: Research and Identify Customer Needs and Problems

To create a target audience profile, you need to put yourself in the shoes of your potential customers. Start by identifying their needs, expectations, and pain-points. What challenges do they face in their day-to-day lives, and how can your product or service solve those issues for them? By understanding their pain points, you can position your brand as the solution they are looking for.

Step 2: Analyse Your Existing Customers

Your current customer base can provide valuable insights into your target audience. Analyse your existing customers and identify common traits or characteristics they share. This can include demographic information such as age, gender, location, income, or job title. By understanding who your current customers are, you can gain a better understanding of the type of people you should be targeting with your marketing efforts.

Step 3: Study Your Competition

Analysing your competitors can provide valuable insights into their target audience. Look at their marketing campaigns, websites, and social media feeds to understand who they are targeting. Consider whether their target demographic aligns with your business and whether there are any gaps in the market that you can fill with your marketing campaigns. Differentiating yourself from the competition can help you attract and retain customers who may be looking for something unique.

Step 4: Build a Community

Immerse yourself in the environment of your target audience by actively participating and engaging with them. Attend events or host your own events to interact with your preferred clients. This will help you understand how they speak and act, allowing you to tailor your marketing efforts to resonate with them. Social media platforms are also a great way to build a community and gather insights about your target audience. Conduct polls, competitions, and interact with your followers to learn more about their preferences and needs.

Understanding the Roles of Your Target Audience

To truly understand your target audience, you need to go beyond learning their demographics and understand what role they play in the purchase process.

Decision maker: A decision maker is the person who ultimately determines whether to purchase a product. Sometimes the decision-maker and supporter are the same, but sometimes they are not. It is important to acknowledge when there is a difference and gear ads towards the decision-maker. A good example is the transformation of Old Spice in 2010. The brand wanted to revamp their product to appeal to a younger audience. After conducting research their team discovered that although men may ultimately wear their product, women make purchases, which led them to concentrate their creative efforts on this group.

The Supporter: Supporters may not have the power to make the decision, but they will have a strong influence on whether an item is purchased. Children may not make a purchase directly, but if they want something for Christmas, they influence the decision. In this regard, it is vital to develop messaging that reaches and appeals to both groups of consumers.

Types of Target Audiences

To truly understand your target audience, you need to go beyond learning their demographics and understand what role they play in the purchase process.Here are some common types of target audiences to consider:

Age-Based Target Audience

Different age groups have different behaviours and preferences. Consider the age range of your target audience and how that impacts their purchasing decisions. For example, if you sell baby products, your target audience is likely to be parents rather than newborns. It’s important to narrow down your target market as much as possible to ensure you are effectively reaching the right age range.

Geographical or “Local” Target Audience

Consider your geographical reach and determine how far you can afford to travel to offer services or ship products. Unless you offer digital services, it may be more beneficial to focus on targeting customers locally. This allows you to concentrate your marketing efforts and provide more personalised experiences to potential customers in your area.

Personality-Driven Target Audience

Understanding the personality traits of your target audience can help you create marketing campaigns that resonate with them on a deeper level. Consider what your clients care about, how they spend their free time, and what issues are important to them. This information can help you craft messaging and campaigns that align with their values and interests.

Target Audience Demographics

In addition to the above characteristics, there are various other demographic factors to consider when defining your target audience. These can include income or job title, family or relationship status, needs and aspirations, problems and concerns, preferred social media websites, language, favourite websites, buying motivations, and gender. By combining these characteristics, you can create a comprehensive target audience profile that guides your marketing efforts.

Segmenting Your Target Audience

In addition to profiling your target audience based on their interests, it’s essential to further segment them into categories that encompass intent, location, and other relevant factors. By doing so, you can create highly personalised and effective marketing strategies. Let’s explore three key areas of segmentation:

1. Interest-Based Segmentation:

By categorising individuals according to their interests, hobbies, and entertainment preferences, you can craft personalised and data-driven messaging that fosters a strong emotional connection. This allows you to create content that resonates with the individual and appeals to their emotions, making them more likely to take action. Additionally, the data-driven approach allows you to target the right people, ensuring that your message will reach those who are most likely to be interested in it. This approach drives brand loyalty and establishes meaningful relationships with your audience.

2. Purchase Intent Segmentation:

Defining groups of people actively seeking specific products, like a new entertainment system or car, helps you understand their pain points and requirements. By understanding their motivations and underlying needs, you can create better marketing strategies that address their needs and increase sales. It also allows you to develop products and services that are tailored to their specific needs.

3. Subcultures:

Recognizing and engaging with subcultures — groups of people sharing common experiences or passions, such as music genres or entertainment fandoms — provides valuable insights into your target audience’s motivations. Subcultures provide an opportunity to really understand what drives a particular group of people. By studying the conversations and content they share, brands can gain a better understanding of what resonates with them, which can help inform marketing and product development strategies.

Designing Your Target Audience Profile

Creating an effective target audience profile requires a systematic approach and a deep understanding of your customers. Here’s how you can design a profile that helps you connect with your target audience effectively.

Step 1: Choose a Target Audience You Can Relate To

Select a target audience that resonates with your brand and values. The more you feel connected to your audience, the easier it will be to create compelling content and marketing campaigns. When you genuinely understand your audience, it becomes easier to build emotional connections and foster brand affinity.

Step 2: Decide Between B2B and B2C Customers

Determine whether you are targeting business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C) customers. The marketing approach will differ depending on the type of customers you are targeting. B2C campaigns often focus on emotional appeals, while B2B campaigns emphasise the logical ROI of products or services. However, there can be overlap in techniques used for both types of customers.

Step 3: Design a User Persona as a Team

A user persona is an avatar that represents your target audience. Collaborate with your team to create a detailed persona that incorporates all the relevant target audience demographics discussed earlier. This persona will serve as a guide for decision-making, ensuring that your marketing efforts align with the needs and preferences of your target audience.

Step 4: Look at the Long-Term Potential

Consider the long-term potential of each target audience segment. While immediate sales are important, it is equally crucial to focus on customers who will continue to support and advocate for your brand in the long run. Identify target audience demographics that are more likely to become repeat customers and explore ways to nurture and cultivate these relationships over time.

Step 5: Utilise Tools and Resources

Take advantage of the various tools and resources available to gain deeper insights into your target audience. Google Analytics, for example, provides valuable data on website visitors, their demographics, and interests. Utilise data-driven insights to refine your target audience profile and optimise your marketing strategies.

Examples of Successful Target Audiences

To provide further inspiration, let’s take a look at how some famous brands have successfully defined their target audiences:.

1. Netflix

Netflix recognized the need for a unique streaming experience in a market dominated by traditional video services. By targeting trendsetters and individuals seeking convenience, they differentiated themselves from competitors and tapped into a target audience that craved exclusive experiences.

2. Nike:

Nike has targeted not only athletes but also under-served markets within the athletic community, such as women and youngsters. By focusing on inclusivity and addressing the needs of these specific groups, Nike has successfully connected with a broader target audience. They focus on connecting with people who are passionate about fitness, sports, and outdoor activities. Nike’s marketing campaigns often feature top athletes and inspiring stories to resonate with their target audience.

For instance, in a recent groundbreaking advertisement titled “Until We All Win,” Nike featured Serena Williams. She championed the cause of encouraging and supporting women who often face barriers in the athletic world. The ad goes beyond the obvious markets, emphasising inclusivity and empowerment for individuals who may not fit the traditional definition of “athletes.”

By taking this approach, Nike has tapped into a powerful target audience that extends beyond the typical sports enthusiasts. The campaign resonates with a broader audience, inspiring and uplifting those who may have felt excluded or underestimated in sports and fitness. By promoting inclusivity and celebrating the achievements of diverse individuals, Nike has strengthened its brand appeal and created a profound impact, reinforcing its commitment to diversity and empowering athletes of all backgrounds.

4. Starbucks:

Starbucks’ target audience includes coffee lovers, urban professionals, and students who seek a cozy and inviting environment to socialise or work. They cater to individuals who appreciate high-quality coffee and a variety of beverages and snacks. Starbucks’ branding focuses on creating a “third place” — a comfortable space between home and work — where customers can relax and enjoy their coffee. Their seasonal beverage promotions and loyalty rewards program are designed to keep customers engaged and coming back for more.

image source: Starbucks

5. Indomie: Indomie, a popular instant noodle brand in Nigeria, targets children, teenagers, and young adults who seek quick and convenient meals. Their marketing is often directed towards parents and students, highlighting the ease of preparation and the variety of flavours available. Indomie’s fun and creative advertisements resonate with the younger audience, making it a go-to choice for quick and tasty meals.

image source: Indomie

6.Nigerian Breweries: Nigerian Breweries, a leading brewery company, targets adults of legal drinking age who enjoy alcoholic beverages. Their brands, such as Star Lager, Gulder, and Legend Extra Stout, cater to beer enthusiasts and social drinkers. Nigerian Breweries’ marketing focuses on promoting their products as a source of relaxation, celebration, and enjoyment during social gatherings and events.

image source: Nigerian Breweries

Reaching your Audience with precision

Optimising your marketing efforts to reach your audience at the right time is crucial in today’s consumer landscape. Beyond knowing where to connect with them, understanding when to engage can significantly impact your campaign’s success. This is particularly relevant when leveraging social media, which plays a vital role in modern marketing strategies.

Here are essential considerations to ensure right-time marketing across various channels, including

Television:

With the rise of DVR usage, viewers can skip commercials, making it essential to choose strategic time slots. Aim to secure the first commercial before a break or the last one at the end of a break. Live television, like late-night news or sports events, presents excellent opportunities since viewers are more engaged during these moments.

Radio:

Timing is key in radio marketing, as listeners often switch stations during commercial breaks. Book ads at the beginning or end of a break whenever possible. Additionally, be mindful of Designated Market Areas (DMAs) when planning your radio campaigns to ensure you target the right local audience.

Social Media:

On social media platforms, understanding the optimal posting times is essential for maximising engagement. Different platforms and target audiences may have varying peak usage periods. Utilise social media analytics and insights to identify when your audience is most active and receptive to your content. By posting at the right times, you can increase visibility and interactions with your posts.

Email:

Consider the timing of your eblast carefully. Utilise analytics to identify the best days and times to maximise engagement.

Remember, while target audiences are powerful tools, marketers should remain open to other opportunities. Brands may find new connections with different demographics or discover use cases for products not previously considered. By combining target audiences with analytics tools, you can identify missed opportunities and capitalise on them for greater success.

Final thoughts

Defining your target audience is a crucial step in creating a successful marketing strategy. By understanding the needs, preferences, and characteristics of your target audience, you can tailor your messaging, communication channels, and marketing campaigns to resonate with them effectively. Conduct thorough research, analyse your existing customers, and study your competition to develop a comprehensive target audience profile.

When you define your target audience, it is easier to craft marketing messages that address their particular needs and desires and it is essential to know your target audience before creating content for social media, email campaigns, or advertising materials. Additionally, defining your target audience enables you to choose the most appropriate communication channels to reach potential customers. As a result, your marketing efforts can focus on platforms and mediums where your audience is spending their time, therefore maximising your return on investment.

Finally, remember to continuously adapt and refine your target audience profile as you gather more data and insights. With a well-defined target audience, you can build strong relationships, increase customer loyalty, and achieve marketing success.

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Atarodo

Delivering Better Growth and Marketing Experiences and Results for Ambitious Brands, Startups, SMBs, and Businesses.