The Target Audience
Each article in this series covers a different section of your marketing plan. We will offer you tips and advice to help you complete each section well. Part 1 covered the Executive Summary. In Part 2, we look at the Target Audience.
Your marketing plan is an integral document for your business. It will make the difference between success and failure.
A well-constructed and thoroughly researched marketing plan will act as a roadmap to take your business forward. Therefore, it will help you understand which steps to take to reach your goals.
But there’s more to it than that. Not only will it act as a guide for you, your staff and your partners, it’s also a valuable document to give to investors. Your marketing plan gives allows them to evaluate your project so they can decide if their investment is likely to pay off.
The more comprehensive your marketing plan, the easier it is to reach your goals successfully.
Together, this series of articles form an in-depth marketing template for you to follow. Consequently, it will help you to map your project, get a much deeper understanding of product and market, and provide partners and investors with proof of your project’s viability.
What You Need to Include in This Section
You will need to spend time researching the type of people who will buy your product and look for similarities between them so you can use this information to define your target audience.
Your research will help you build an audience persona, which outlines your customers’ key characteristics, include:
- Cultural/ethnic background
- Education level
- Income bracket
- Disposable income
- Relationship status
- Lifestyle choices (e.g. health-oriented, fashionable, etc.)
- Their communication style (so you know how to talk to them)
- Interests and hobbies
You might not find all of this information, and some of it could be irrelevant for your product/service, but the more comprehensive you can make your audience persona, the easier it will be to target them.
Products and services can have more than one target audience, so you may have to create several different personas.
How To Research Your Target Audience
Researching your target audience requires some initial guesswork. A good place to start is to think about who you think will buy your product.
Once you have this information, you can use it as a springboard for deeper research.
For example, if you know your product appeals to a specific gender with a specific disposable income, you can use this information to find out where this type of person lives. As a result, you’ll know where to find them (i.e. their location) and will be able to set search parameters when targeting online and offline.
Here’s a list of resources to help with your research:
- The Office of National Statistics – People, Population and Community
- The UK Data Service
- Your existing customers and people who engage with your social media channels
- Your competitor websites & social media channels
- Trade and networking events in your industry
At this stage of your marketing project, you are creating an initial target audience. So, it won’t necessarily stay the same throughout your entire project. As you start to roll out the project, you should keep an eye on who is engaging with your product and thus make tweaks to the persona where necessary.
For instance, you might initially define the age bracket as 25-40, but later discover the age range is closer to 20-35. Think of this part of your marketing plan as dynamic and potentially changing. Therefore, you will need to keep testing and measuring your target audience.
As you do this, you’ll hone into an increasingly specific target audience, which is exactly what you need to do to attract the right people.
How to Make the Most of Your Research
People buy products because they solve a particular problem for them – these problems could be anything, from being bored to wanting a healthier lifestyle. Therefore, once you know your target audience, you can work out their problems and present your product as a solution.
You’re effectively finding ways to tell them why they need to buy your product so that you can use this information in your content.
Answer these questions to help you understand how to frame your product in the right way:
- Which problems does your product solve for the audience persona?
- What does this type of persona need and expect from your product?
- What sort of things do they want from life?
- How do they spend their money?
- Where do they shop?
- How do they prioritise spending? E.g., are they impulse buyers or responsible buyers?)
- What does your product offer them that your competitors’ products do not?
- What sort of information do they need from you to make a purchasing decision? E.g., responsible buyers need to trust your product and therefore require more information than impulsive buyers do.
- How much time do they spend contemplating the purchase?
- Are they the main decision-maker in the buying process?
- How big is the demographic (i.e., market size)?
Again, you might not be able to answer all of these questions, but the more information you can glean, the better it will be for your bottom line because it helps you work out the best people to target for the greatest ROI.
Once you understand these questions, you’ll know how to write and produce content that appeals to your target audience. And so, increase engagement rates and, hence, sales.
Your target audience is the people who you want to buy your products and describes their behaviours and characteristics.
A successful marketing plan involves thorough research of your target audience so that you can build an audience persona.
Once you have this information, you’ll understand how to create the content they need in order to buy your product (or move onto the next step in your sales funnel).
Additionally, you’ll understand how to set targeting parameters to find them.
In conclusion, by thoroughly understanding your target audience, your product is more likely to succeed and offer a greater return on investment.