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Target [Audience] Practice

 

The Power of Precision in Your Marketing

24  NOV 2023 | by mark macLean

Here at Insight Studio, each day can look very different. We could be developing (or enhancing) a client’s brand strategy to help them stand out from the competition, we could be crafting a digital marketing campaign that strikes the right tone and chord to motivate people to take action, or we could be refining a content strategy using performance data to produce even more effective content.

As unique and multi-faceted as each of these activities are, there is one crucial element that can make or break the effectiveness of our efforts in all areas of marketing, and that’s identifying and understanding the target audience.

When working with our clients, we ask a lot of questions to gain better clarity of the landscape they’re working within, and something that I’ve noticed far too often is that when we ask our clients questions around target audiences, their typical response is “everyone” [or, considering PEI is our home, “Islanders”].

4x2 grid containing photos of different types of people different ages ethnicities occupation gender etc
From a business perspective, I get it. Why wouldn’t you want to sell or promote your product, service, campaign, or cause to anyone and everyone? It makes logical sense. But with this blog post, I’d like to talk a bit more about target audiences, why they’re such a vital piece of the marketing puzzle, and how casting too large of a net can actually be a detriment to your marketing efforts.

The Essence of Target Audiences

At its core, a target audience is the specific group of individuals or entities that a brand’s content aims to engage, influence, or serve. It’s like having a conversation tailored to the preferences, needs, and interests of a select group rather than speaking in a one-size-fits-all manner.

Picture this scenario: you’re preparing a banquet, and you decide to cook a dish that caters to every conceivable palate on the planet. The result? A chaotic menu that pleases no one because it tries to please everyone.

This is the pitfall of pursuing mass appeal in content marketing. When we try to speak to too many people at once, our messaging loses its focus and impact.

Identifying Target Audience

So, how do we identify a target audience? It can take a bit of detective work. We look for clues in the behaviours, traits, and interests of potential consumers. Here are some markers that categorize audiences effectively:
        • Demographics: Age, gender, location, income, and education can be foundational elements in understanding your audience.

     

        • Psychographics: Lifestyle, Values, Interests, and Personality traits. Are they adventurous, eco-conscious, or tech-savvy?

     

        • Behavioural Patterns: What actions do they take online? Do they prefer video content, engage more with social media, or actively seek out educational resources?

     

        • Problem-Solution Fit: Identify their pain points and align your content to offer solutions. It’s akin to handing them the key to a locked treasure chest.

     

        • Content Consumption Habits: Where do they consume content? Is it on social media, blogs, podcasts, or traditional media outlets?

     

        • Feedback and Interactions: Listen to what your audience says. Their comments, reviews, and feedback can be treasure troves of insights.

     

crowd of people viewed from above
This in-depth insight enables us to tailor your marketing efforts with laser precision, creating content and solutions that speak directly to the hearts and minds of the target audience. It’s a roadmap to resonating with your audience, building trust, and ultimately, forging lasting connections that drive business success.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about.

Scenario

Imagine you’re running a coffee shop, and you need to create content to promote your new menu addition: an artisanal caramel macchiato. In an attempt to appeal to all target audiences, your content might sound something like:

“Introducing our new caramel macchiato, a delightful blend of rich espresso, creamy milk, and luscious caramel sauce. It’s perfect for a morning pick-me-up or an afternoon indulgence.”

A freshly brewed caramel macchiato with whipped cream and caramel topping on a vintage wooden table
Now, consider content crafted for a very specific target audience, say, college students, who are regulars at your coffee shop. It could sound something like,

“Calling all students! Say hello to your new study buddy – our Caramel Macchiato! Crafted to fuel your late-night study sessions, it’s the ideal blend of bold espresso and caramel sweetness, ensuring you conquer those assignments with a smile.”

In the first example, the content attempts to cater to a broad audience, diluting its message to the point where it lacks a clear, compelling voice. The second example, however, speaks directly to the specific needs and lifestyle of college students, making it more engaging and relatable to this particular target audience.

When you shift your content strategy to focus on the needs, desires, or pain points of your target audience, you’re positioning your offering as something that they can benefit from. Instead of relying solely on listing product features, you’re engaging in a conversation that resonates deeply with that audience. It’s a shift from talking about what you offer, to how you can enrich their lives – making your content not just informative, but genuinely valuable.

Efficient Allocation of Resources

Another reason target audiences are so important is because your marketing resources are finite. Identifying your target market enables you to direct your efforts where they have the potential to yield the highest return on investment. Whether it’s through social media, content marketing, or traditional advertising, understanding your audience allows you to choose the channels that align with their preferences and behaviours.
 hand holding cellphone with like icons
For example, if your target market consists mainly of tech-savvy individuals, investing in online platforms and digital marketing may be more effective than traditional print advertising. This targeted approach ensures that you’re not only reaching your audience but doing so in the places and mediums they frequent.

Building Brand Loyalty

When you understand your target audience more deeply, you are going to establish a deeper connection with them. Customers are more likely to remain loyal to a brand that understands and caters to their needs. Identifying your target market enables you to build a brand that resonates with your audience on a personal level. When customers feel understood, they are more likely to trust your brand and become repeat buyers.

Consider the success of companies like Apple, whose products are designed with a deep understanding of their target market’s preferences. By consistently delivering products and experiences that align with their audience’s values, Apple has cultivated a fiercely loyal customer base.

Dial it In

Target audiences are the linchpin of effective content marketing, and failing to connect with them can lead to an echo chamber effect. Your message becomes just another voice in the noise, drowned out by the multitude of competing messages. It’s like having a meaningful conversation at a rock concert – an exercise in futility.

Being ultra-specific in your marketing approach means narrowing down precisely who you’re speaking to. When you tailor your content to a well-defined audience, you’re speaking a language they understand fluently. This level of specificity doesn’t just attract an audience; it magnetizes the right audience – those who resonate with your message, engage deeply, and become advocates for your brand.

It may sound counterintuitive, but being ultra-specific isn’t a limitation; it’s the golden thread that weaves a narrative tailored for those who matter most to your business or cause.

So the next time you’re posed with the question of who your target audience is, take the time to dig a little deeper and paint the picture of the ideal client, customer, donor, etc., and get inside their head. Then make sure you’re giving them content that they can benefit from. The trust and loyalty you’ll generate over time will be well worth the effort, and will make all the difference when it comes to reaching your marketing goals!

Mark MacLean

Mark MacLean

creative director
Combine equal parts creative & strategic thinker, pair it with a background in design & film production, and add a deep desire to move the needle for our clients and you’ve got Mark, Insight Studio’s Creative Director.
Mark MacLean

Mark MacLean

creative director
Combine equal parts creative & strategic thinker, pair it with a background in design & film production, and add a deep desire to move the needle for our clients and you’ve got Mark, Insight Studio’s Creative Director.

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