3 tips for knowing your target audience

Having a true knowledge and understanding of your target audience is vital to any marketing strategy. Without it, companies are in jeopardy of advertising to the wrong people.

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Knowing your target audience is vital to any marketing strategy as, without this knowledge, companies could be advertising their products or services to the wrong people, and potentially missing out on the audience most likely to convert into sales.

Here are three useful tips that can help ensure your marketing campaigns are suitably tailored to the audience you’re trying to capture:

1. Keyword research is your friend

Keyword research is integral to understanding what your target audience is searching for within Google, but it can also highlight instances where companies are using the wrong language to speak to their intended audiences. Take football for example, you won’t get very far selling a round football to an American market without referring to it as a soccer ball.

Sticking with the football example, a company selling footballs will likely struggle in search engines as the competition for relevant terms is so high; Google’s Keyword Planner suggests there are over 1 million UK searches for ‘football’ each month. But ‘soccer ball’ on the other hand, has 99% less UK monthly searches in comparison. So while ‘football’ appears to be the obvious keyword for the UK, it is in fact a little more complicated when it comes to SEO, thus highlighting that other options should always be explored.

There are various tools and techniques available for conducting keyword research, Google’s Keyword Planner is a popular method, but several paid and free tools do exist independently from Google. We recommend using a variety of these tools and cross checking the results for consistency. Once suitable keywords and search terms are determined, run them through Google yourself and analyse the results (and do a little competitor research while you’re there).

2. Collect the right consumer data

In 1993, Tesco wanted to upgrade its existing loyalty scheme to truly harness consumer data whilst also offering greater benefits to its customers. The end result was the Clubcard, which would help Tesco collect valuable customer data and open numerous marketing channels along the way. In fact, the future became very clear after only three months of testing, when during this period the chairman commented: ‘What scares me about this is that you know more about my customers after three months than I know after 30 years.’

That quote pretty much says it all; the insight created through knowing your target audience allows companies to understand far more than ever before. It can be the difference between a customer buying the same brand of tomato soup every week, and them being subtlety coerced into trying, and liking, a more expensive brand.

Of course, when it comes to using consumers’ personal data to personalise marketing and manipulate buyer behaviour, it’s important to recognise when less is more, a lesson that retailer, Target, learnt the hard way when a concerned father confronted a store manager about the baby-related marketing his teenage daughter was receiving…

The two examples covered are both major supermarkets, but the takeaways from each can be applied to any industry, providing the correct approach is taken. Customer surveys, competitions, newsletters, and purchasing data are just a few of the methods available to collecting data on your current, and potential customers.

3. Use consumer data to target the right people

No matter how good your product is, there will always be those who are not interested in what you, or your brand, have to say. Take hypercars, for example; marketing any high end car to me would be a complete waste of money, because I drive a white Hyundai i10 with three cup holders, a spacious boot, and enough head room to where any hat I desire. Actually my postcode says it all, it’s the only piece of data needed to see that I am not in the market for a hypercar. The point is that knowing where your target audience lives, works, and socialises will help you to understand the kind of products most likely to pique their interest.

A recent example of marketing designed to target a very precise audience is that of the British Army. No doubt the majority of the UK have seen the ‘snowflakes’ ads, which have understandably led to quite a discussion over how appropriate they are. But, the British Army wanted new recruits from a specific target audience, and according to statistics that’s exactly what it received. Sometimes, diluting the message behind your marketing campaign in order to appeal to as many people as possible is not going to be the best game plan, instead reaching out to a relevant, concentrated audience is what leads to results.

Image via Twitter

Assuming you have collected and organised the consumer data at your disposal, the next task is to understand what makes these people your customers. Perhaps the majority of them are parents of a specific age bracket, or lead active lifestyles. You may even notice a trend of people you’d never considered to be your customers, possibly even representing a small proportion of a much bigger market which can be tapped into.

It goes without saying that there are many more factors involved in truly understanding a target audience, and the three options explored in this post do not cover everything, but will help to set you on the correct path.

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