What is the target audience?
Do you want your marketing strategies to work as effectively as possible? Start with the basics of the basics: correctly and accurately define your target audience. The integrity and completeness of understanding the specifics of your target audience directly affect the quality of sales of your products and services.
Defining the concept of the target audience
First, let's get acquainted with the term itself. There are different definitions of the target audience, we offer you an extended version of this concept. The target audience is all possible potential and real customers of your organization who have a set of certain characteristics, are united by an interest in your product, service or information, and also have a potential desire or specific intention to purchase a product or service for similar reasons. That is, the target audience is a set of people united by the same criteria, interested in a particular product and ready to purchase this product under certain conditions.
The value of the target audience cannot be overestimated. Proper use of information about it directly affects the success of the enterprise:
- the effectiveness of advertising campaigns increases;
- in the long run, the brand becomes more recognizable;
- the number of regular customers is growing;
- one-time buyers willingly move into the category of regular ones;
- advertising costs are cut and optimized;
- profit increases;
- marketing strategies are successfully adjusted;
- advertising channels are unmistakably determined;
- quality advertising materials are selected for each group of customers;
- The products and services of the company are being improved, taking into account the real needs of specific consumers.
The cycle of a marketer working with a target audience
How do you get started with your target audience? First, we outline a hypothetical portrait of a particular user. You can even take a description of one of your real clients as a basis. Secondly, we select certain parameters of future or real consumers, using existing data, accumulated experience or your professional experience and ideas about the target audience. Thirdly, we collect the necessary additional data about the target audience. Fourthly, we analyze all the information received about the audience, highlight important points, the main problems and desires that your customers have. Next, we define and highlight the characteristics of the audience that will be key to the marketing strategy. Segmenting the audience. For example, if you are planning to hold a one-day webinar for sales managers in the field of IT services, then you can choose one of the following characteristics as the main one, to focus on it: salespeople who do not have a higher education in the field of IT, but who would like to improve their IT sales expertise, or online service vendors who want to improve the efficiency of selling online courses. Finally, having done the necessary colossal work on studying and analyzing the target audience, dividing the target audience into several segments, we develop a marketing strategy.
Schematically, your work with the target audience will look like this:
Identification of the target audience → Collecting data on the target audience → Analysis of the desires and characteristics of the target audience → Determination of environmental factors → Market segmentation → Development of a marketing strategy
Types of target audience
Before you begin to describe your target audience in detail, you need to have a clear understanding of what types of it generally exist. There are several approaches to determining the types of target audience. We have selected for you some of the most popular and "working" options that marketers often use in their daily practice.
Real audience. Clients with whom you already work, who have bought or are buying your goods/services, are loyal and friendly towards you, ready to get acquainted with your new products.
Potential audience. Customers who in the future can become your real ones, as they are interested in the possible purchase of a product / service similar to yours.
Direct target audience. Clients to whom your goods and services are directly intended. This is the highest priority group of customers, as they are the ones who make purchasing decisions.
Indirect target audience. Customers who are involved in the purchase of your goods and services, although they may not be directly interested in them. They are not the initiators of purchases, but they participate in them.
Wide target audience. The maximum possible number of your customers. For example, all possible participants of an online automotive exhibition.
Narrow target audience. A certain number of your customers who are united by some important common criterion. For example, participants in an online automotive exhibition that specializes only in sports cars.
You can also divide your potential audience by subject. Your target audience can be both end users and institutions. The classic division of all possible clients on this basis looks like this:
The consumer market is the market of individuals or entire households who purchase goods, services and information for personal use. In the consumer market, you are always selling your product to the end consumer. It is necessary to take into account the specifics of the consumer market, the conditions for its change and development for the proper organization of marketing campaigns.
Producer's market - in this case, individuals or organizations purchase goods and services for use in the further process of producing their own goods and services. For successful functioning in this market, it is necessary to have a very high quality, and at the same time, a creative approach to the distribution of their goods and services. You sell your product like professionals to professionals.
Intermediary market - wholesale and retail trade. Organizations purchase goods for resale. If you are distributing your products or services in this market, you will need to consider who you want to sell the product to and who your buyers are going to resell it to.
Government market. All types of government organizations that purchase goods and services for government agencies, utilities, or to provide goods and services to those who need it. This market is also very competitive, price and quality are always important, the ability to sell the necessary goods and services on time and in large volumes.
International market. All possible buyers outside the country, operating both in the consumer market and in the markets of manufacturers and intermediaries, government agencies. When working on the international market, you should always take into account sociocultural differences, you need a deep understanding of the socio-economic processes of the country where your business activity will be directed.
Determining your target audience
Knowing what types of target audience exist, then you proceed to the stage of drawing a detailed portrait of your future or real target audience. Ask yourself questions that require an answer to represent your abstract client. The more questions you use, the more accurate the final portrait of your abstract customer will be. Answer the questions as detailed and detailed as possible.
For example, who are the future buyers? All indicators are important: gender, age, profession, education, income level, marital status, place of residence, native language, likely hobbies and hobbies. What are the client's fears and objections? What selection criteria are guided by the client when buying? Are there any questions about what difficulties and pains future clients have? Answering the question: “What are the pains and needs of your target audience, your particular client?” you will find a golden key that opens the doors to the prosperity of your company. Outline several hypothetical situations, describe in detail the history of the problem. How are all these problems and difficulties solved? How can your company help get out of a difficult situation? Can your company solve this particular problem? Are there obstacles to solving the problem and how can they be overcome?
Studying the target audience
If you have already decided on the general picture of who exactly is your loyal customer, regular customer, know how to find information about potential new ones, then you can proceed to the next stage of studying the target audience, deepening and expanding knowledge about its key characteristics.
There are several sources of access to obtaining information about the target audience.
Study of competitors and their target audience. Additional information to think about how to work with the target audience can be provided by studying the websites and advertising materials of competitors. It is important to take a critical approach to the research here: competitors can make mistakes, so it is necessary to double-check the available marketing materials of a third-party organization. You can use a proven way to pretend to be a potential client and call a competitor, come to a service point. When communicating with a competitor, be sure to pay attention to what questions you are asked. This is the same information that you may need to develop your own questionnaires for further work with your target audience. Also, information for know-how and insights will be provided by studying the promotional materials of a competitor, communication with competitors' customers.
Studying business sources. All sorts of databases on a specific topic can be in the public domain. Also, you can connect business analytics to your site and track the behavior of your customers, subscribers. You can conduct an interview, a business meeting with business representatives who have key positions in your business niche or are representatives of your target audience. There are also special Internet services, such as Google AdWords and similar ones, which help to assess the demand for a product, and such as Google Trends will tell you whether interest in a product is growing or falling. To study the target audience, also use the personal experience of the owners of a similar business, the opinions of your employees about your customers: sales managers, call center operators.
Research of open sources. Marketing researches of markets and target audiences are regularly posted in open access. All sorts of statistical data on the tastes and preferences of consumers, on the population, on the economic situation of specific regions are constantly updated. Thematic and business communities, social networks can also serve as a good information base for understanding your client. An analysis of the behavior of your potential and real customers in social networks, on the Internet as a whole will help determine the answer to the important question “Who does your target audience trust?”. You can collect a variety of information, such as: what blogs and celebrities your potential customers subscribe to, what reactions your consumers have on various publications, which bloggers and their public statements matter to your client. The study of analytical articles, forums of interest and reviews of various experts will also help to advance in understanding the characteristics of the target audience.
Direct study of individual representatives or groups of the target audience. No one better than the client himself will tell about his pains and problems. Interview with a client, questionnaires, study of communications (tracking of telephone conversations, analysis of e-mail correspondence with clients, a phone call to your client in order to get an opinion on the quality of goods or services, to offer a new product). The available method of online questioning, online surveys, enjoys a great advantage. Also, one of the most effective ways to study the target audience is an in-depth interview. Usually it is held face-to-face, asking a lot of questions in order to obtain the most useful information about the product, the activities of the company, and so on.
Target audience segmentation
Segmentation of the target audience is the division of the entire target audience into different groups of customers according to any characteristics: gender, age, economic, cultural, and others.
We segment the target audience using certain criteria:
- Geographic. The audience can be divided according to the principle of residence in a particular place. You can take into account both the country or city of residence, and the district and even a specific street. Sometimes the time zone, the presence of water bodies, climate change, air temperature at a certain time of the year and other factors matter. For example, if you are hosting an online conference and you are planning to have many participants from different countries, then the specific time and time zone in which your future participants live is of great importance.
- Demographic. Population density in a certain place, age of a certain group of people, presence / absence of higher education, marital status of the studied group, population growth or outflow in a certain geographical area.
- Social. When segmenting the target audience, you need to pay attention to the presence of a family, social status, social roles, position in society. What important social and political movements, phenomena or events influence or can influence the target audience. You can use the strategy of division into social classes in society. You can also identify reference groups - these are groups that influence the behavior and actions of a person.
- Economic. You can divide the target audience into groups according to the level of income, the amount of expenses for a certain unit of time. Economic factors also include profession, position, availability of loans, in a broader sense, you can use the economic development of a particular region, economic prospects.
- Cultural. It is important what cultural environment the target audience is in, what possible subcultures they may belong to, what cultural stimuli will have the greatest impact on a person. Remember that “cultural factors have the biggest and deepest influence on consumer behavior” (Kotler).
- Psychological. According to this criterion, the target audience can be divided, taking into account the motivation of actions and desires, beliefs, habitual ways of obtaining and assimilating information, perception of the surrounding reality and relations between people, a person’s attitude towards himself and to the world at large.
- Personal. You can segment your target audience using personal factors such as age, education level, lifestyle, family life cycle, occupation, personality type, and self-image. Interests, hobbies, leisure, values, fears - all this is important to consider when drawing up a detailed individual portrait of the consumer.
Because people do not make their decisions in a vacuum, many of the factors described above influence their decisions. The task of a marketer is to correctly determine a set of criteria for a clear segmentation of the target audience. By dividing the entire target audience into segments, you can draw a holistic portrait of the target audience. Based on this, you will be able to effectively set up your advertising, improve sales techniques and increase the profitability of the enterprise.
The core of the target audience
Once your target audience has been researched and segmented, you can easily identify the core of your target audience. The core audience is the group of people who are most interested in your products and services, as well as the most actively interested in your new products and the most purchasing your products and services. The core of the target audience brings the most profit from sales, so it is on this group that a powerful marketing influence should be directed to stimulate new sales and maintain loyalty.
Remember that the target audience is always the starting point for building and developing your successful marketing strategy. Do not neglect in-depth study of the target audience. Craft key messages for your target audience. Choose your advertising channels carefully. If necessary, please contact us for advice. We can advise you on capabilities of our platform, as well as suggest what data you need to collect and provide practical advice on collecting and analyzing this data for further study your target audience.
We also recommend reading our article about the methodology for evaluating the effectiveness of online events.