Businesses love to think that anyone can and would use their product, and they famously say “my target audience is everyone.” However, this simply isn’t true, and honing in on the group that’s most likely to buy your product helps you sell more and sell better.
What is a Target Audience?
A target audience is a group of people at which you aim your product or service. Your business’ target audience will be determined by a variety of factors — essentially, by data — which you’ll use to create an ideal buyer.
The Factors of a Target Audience
A target audience is defined by factors such as age, gender, race, income, location, interests, lifestyle, education level, and more. But these factors alone are meaningless by themselves. Marketers need to understand the consumer behavior that’s born from these factors.
Consumer Behavior is Everything
Consumer behavior refers to how people of different groups use and buy certain products to fulfill their needs and desires. Defining a target audience means understanding those needs and desires, which vary according to demographics, which is where these factors of age, gender, and so on come in.
Before, people were more similar in their preferences, something experts call a Mass Culture. Now, our world is more diverse than ever — not only is it more obvious how different everyone is, but we have more choices and preferences than before. Understanding consumer behavior is key to finding your audience among a sea of unique buyers.
To make the most of your strategy, you should segment your audiences. This means that once you understand which consumers you’ll target based on their characteristics, you should divide them into groups with commonalities and then create an approach for each group.
Alongside data, you can segment audiences based on things like the stage of the buyer’s journey, the benefits your consumer’s looking for, how and why they use your product, the occasion, and more.
How Do You Choose A Target Audience?
Choosing a target audience requires data and research. In the US, data is being gathered constantly, about everything, giving marketers and businesses plenty to work with. However, knowing how to interpret the data and turn it into a marketing plan requires knowledge and training.
A target audience will depend largely on:
- What you’re selling
- Where you’re selling it
- How you are selling it
Your data will tell you how different people in different places respond to and choose to purchase your product, allowing for more successful marketing efforts.
Why Do Target Audiences Matter?
Target audiences are essential for understanding consumers and their behavior, specifically, how they purchase. While businesses used to believe that consumers would make rational decisions about their purchases, it’s been proven that consumers make irrational decisions based on emotions, and sensory stimuli, like colors.
This is important because each person, depending on their age, gender, race, etc, will make those irrational decisions differently. If we understand consumers, we can better understand how they come to purchase. This process allows businesses to maximize their return on investment by knowing the trajectory of a consumer’s journey to buy, and create better marketing strategies that fit that audience.
Defining an audience doesn’t limit it, but actually increases your sales and your return on investment. Instead of spreading your marketing budget too thin by trying to appeal to everyone, you’ll quickly gain the trust, attention, and dollars of those most likely to buy.
Marketing to Your Audience
The internet has created consumers that are much more informed than before. We will read reviews, watch videos, and do research before buying. We’re also influenced by packaging, colors, brand reputation, and more. Therefore, a marketing strategy requires an understanding of the factors that may influence your audience to target the right demographic and have a bigger ROI.
Once you’ve defined an audience, your marketing plan should take them into account every step of the way: what colors do they respond to positively? How will they relate to the product and your brand? Where will you target your ads? What approach will you implement in one city versus another?
Time and again in your marketing journey, you’ll find yourself going back to that audience to help define your strategy.