Target Audience Focus



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mmWritten by:29 May 2024

Is your target audience focus sharp enough?

One of the most impactful things you can do in marketing is to develop an obsessive focus on your target audience.  Commonly target audiences are defined in pretty blurry terms. Or the focus can soften over time.  Here’s the proven tool we use for sharpening up your own target audience focus.

Focus your target audience on your ideal customer

Just because anyone CAN buy your product or service, doesn’t mean a broad audience is best for your organisation. Yes lots of people MIGHT find it useful, and you don’t need to turn anyone away. But you will have more success by focusing on your IDEAL potential customer – who is it that will buy from you most readily, and repeatedly, and who will sing love songs about you to other potential customers?  Determine that group and make them your target audience.

How to focus your target audience

Once upon a time, the target audience for communications or marketing was described in terms of ‘ages and stages’.  Or in business-to-business marketing, focused on industry sectors and job titles.

Target audiences would be defined based on broad demographic segments of the population, often based on how TV viewers were categorised, for advertising.

These days, a stronger determiner of someone’s likelihood to choose your brand, heed your story or buy your product can be the attitudes they hold and the values they try to live by.

In business buyin, organisation culture, as well as structures, determines how procurement processes work and the priority placed on different supplier selection criteria.

Of course, the job title someone holds might still determine the role they play in business buying.  And someone’s age may well skew them to being more likely to buy certain services. But if you’re relying just on ‘ages and stages’, or job titles and industry sectors, you’re focus isn’t sharp enough to succeed.

Attitudinal and values-based target audience focus

If you don’t have the time or funds to invest in your own, primary market research into the attitudes and values of your target audiences, there is a wealth of freely available third-party research that can help focus your planning and decision making.  Organisations such as IPSOS and Nielsen commonly share reports segmented by country and by demographics and reported attitudes. A great example is this April 2024 IPSOS international study into climate change that gives detailed insights into 33 countries.

It’s also important to draw on our human capability for empathy in doing this focus work. As humans we can intuit a lot about other humans. Although it’s also really important not to just assume our target audience thinks like we do.  To get some diversity of views, why not pull your sales, customer service, marketing and management team together to pool insights from your own dealings with customers and prospects?  (If you’d like us to facilitate this for you, please get in touch.)

If together you can define your target audience, you’ll be more able to co-operate to attract that audience to buy from you.  When your target audience support your purpose as a brand and understand how buying from you aligns with their values and beliefs, they are more likely to become more loyal advocates.

Focus on ‘where’ – but also on ‘what’                                                                                                Understanding more about the attitudes and values that define your target audience can give you powerful insights into where you’ll find them – the marketing and media channels you can use to reach them. It will also let you craft marketing and communication messages that resonate more strongly.  The best messages don’t just promote your benefits but also embody your brand personality and values. When these line up for your audience, your appeal becomes clear to them.

Remember the target audience’s capability to buy

A further factor to sharpen your target audience focus is their capability to buy from you. They might love what you stand for but be constrained by a range of factors in choosing you. Things to consider include:

Can they afford what you’re offering? If not, could more creative pricing, or rental, or  budget options widen your appeal?  Or might an older group with the same values have more disposable income?

Can they access your product or service through your distribution channels?  If not, could third parties or online services help you broaden your availability?

Is their capability limited by other factors beyond their control? For example in business-to-business procurement, financial years drive budgets and buying can have other specific cycles and seasonality.  If you don’t understand these, it is important to learn.

Recency, Frequency and Value

Any focus on your target audiences, for any organisations beyond the start-up stage, needs to consider your previous and current customers.  By and large it is much easier and cheaper to inspire someone to buy from you again if they have bought from you before.  The more they have spent, the more often they have bought and the more recently they have done so then the more likely they are to buy again.  It’s good practice to include both former and current customers in your target audience focus work because in our insatiable human quest for the new it can be easy to overlook them.

Try the free GoodSense target audience focus tool

Please pop your details here to download our free target audience planning tool. It’s suitable if your target audience is individuals or businesses / organisations. We’ve developed this through years of working with values-based businesses to sharpen their target audience focus and we’d love you to use it to increase your own impact.

Target Audience Tool

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If you’d like a free informal chat about your own target audiences, the content in this article – or any other aspect of your marketing and communications – please do get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.

At GoodSense, we use marketing and communications to help grow a healthier, fairer, zero-carbon world. We only support organisations whose work, products or services benefit people or the rest of nature, as well as their bottom line, so we’re not compromised.  We strive to deliver ethical marketing excellence in everything we do:

  • As your strategic sustainability marketing and communications team, we can help your work have more impact.
  • To get you the best results, we use proven, creative co-design methods in planning. Plus, we have the skills and sustainability knowledge to implement marketing, content and media relations, on your behalf.
  • We’ve been leaders in marketing sustainability since 2010 and in July 2022 we became a Certified #BCorp.

If you think we can help you make waves for good please get in touch.

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