The first step with any marketing plan or strategy is determining who your target audience is. If marketing is a house, think of your target audience as the foundation. Knowing who you’re targeting is the key to reaching, connecting with, and convincing them to buy your products or services. While it’s tempting to go full-steam ahead into marketing campaigns, it will benefit your company in the long run to stop, think about, and identify your target audience first.
Whether you’ve been in business for decades or are just starting out, you should always be asking yourself “who am I targeting?” Even general products with broad appeal can be targeted to different groups in different ways. In short – specifics sell. The more clearly you can identify who you’re targeting, the more effective and focused your marketing can and will be. The key to a strong marketing campaign is understanding your audience and what they’re motivated by.
People who use your product or service for the same thing may have different reasons for using it, or they may use it in different ways. If you can segment your customer base by how they use your product/service, you can gain a lot of insight into your target audience. If your current customers love your company for a specific reason, then potential customers who are similarly motivated will be likely to respond to a campaign geared toward that same issue.
This may seem obvious, but before you can identify your target audience, you have to first know what you’re selling (especially if you’re a new company or are changing what you provide). Different products and services appeal to different audiences, so even small tweaks to what you’re selling can have a big effect on how your marketing works. “What am I selling?” should be one of the first – if not the first – question you ask during the marketing process.
The narrower you make your target audience, the easier it is to create specific, highly targeted messaging. However, if you’ve narrowed it too much and can only target a few people with that messaging, then you may need to expand your targeting.
It’s easy to assume you know who your audience is and what they’re looking for, but it greatly benefits you to take the time to really think about what you’re selling, who you want to sell to, and how you can best sell it. It may not be the most exciting part of marketing, but it’s the key to laying a good foundation for any good marketing campaign.