The importance of target audience in marketing and branding isn’t something we can ever overstate.
Put simply, without the audience there is no brand.
The brand exists to serve the audience and it’s in their mind the brand is built.
In this article, we’ll look at how target audience shapes brand strategy, how to segment your audience and the critical key to connecting with them.
Target Audience Importance In Marketing
[The Video Breakdown]
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The Importance Of Target Audience In Marketing[Target Audience Definition]
“A target audience is a specific group of people most likely want or need what your brand offers”.
When a brand is born, it’s born from the idea of a visionary.
This person has identified a problem in the market that they can solve alternatively to some of the existing options available.
Maybe that visionary is you or maybe it’s a client.
Maybe the idea was born by chance or maybe it was on the back of extensive research.
Regardless of how the idea to solve a problem was born, one of the very first tasks for this brand leader, is to identify who the most relevant people are, most likely to benefit from the brand’s solution.
Why Defining Your Target Audience Is So Important
Often a business idea is born from the experience of a problem.
A person (the visionary of the new idea) has a problem. They reflect on the experience of that problem and how it could be better mitigated.
In this case, the target audience are people exactly like or similar to the visionary who are likely to experience the same problem in a similar way.
This puts the leader of the brand in an advantageous position, to be able to tap into their own experiences to better understand the target audience.
Whether or not the brand was born in this way is irrelevant.
Understanding the people who experience the problem you solve is without doubt one of the most critical tasks in the entire realm of branding.
This understanding is the key to bridging the gap between that audience and the solution your brand offers.
Your Target Audience Has A Problem
Understanding the audience has many levels and certainly doesn’t end when you identify where they live and the car they drive.
This task starts broad and becomes narrower with every layer of categorization.
What you’re left with is a highly detailed representation of the person (or people) who needs the brand’s solution most.
At a broad level, you know the basic information about your audience, but the narrower you go, the more you understand about:
Who they are
The problems they have
How they experience these problems
The impact these problems have
The emotional connection to this impact
At the core of what you need to understand most is the problem they have that you solve.
A laser focus on this problem and other challenges that are linked to this problem will arm your brand with vital tools when it comes to brand communication.
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Demographics And Psychographics
[The Starting Point]
The importance of target audience in marketing starts becomes even clearer when you begin defining it.
Demographics and Psychographics are two of the usual suspects when it comes to defining your target audience.
Most articles you’ll find on “the importance of defining your target audience”, will list these two categorization tools as the secret weapon.
The reality is however, that both demographics and psychographics only give you the starting point for understanding your audience.
These tools are more about filtering out the people who are not your customers than defining who they are.
Defining Your Target Audience With Demographics
Demographics are like the ultimate categorization tool, which focuses on the basic detail of your audience.
If you start with your audience as “everybody”, demographics quickly filter out people who you’re not targeting.
if you’re selling women’s shoes then the “gender” demographic will quickly help you filter out men, narrowing your audience by half.
As you apply each demographic filter, you filter out more what aren’t your audience until you’re left with a large group of people who are more likely to want what you have.
Defining Your Target Audience With Psychographics
Psychographics are another layer of categorization, which focuses on the behaviours of your audience.
While demographics helped you to filter out the least likely people to want what you have, psychographics help you to further refine your audience based on these behaviours.
If the shoes you were selling weren’t your average women’s shoe, but a climbing shoe, then psychographics will help you to categorize your audience based on this behaviour.
Women who are active, adventurous and love the outdoors are more likely to want what you have than women who prefer comfort, luxury and pampering.
Once you’ve filtered out the people who are least likely to want what you have, you can then begin to refine and dig deeper to find the people who are most likely be your ideal customer.
The Emotional Connection Is The Key
Understanding the problems of your audience is only the beginning when it comes to closing the gap between your audience and your solution.
Simply pointing out these problems is not enough.
In most cases they’ll know they have a problem and will be no better off by you pointing it out to them.
But behind every problem, there is both external and internal conflict.
The External Struggle Of Your Audience
The external struggle is with the actual potential outcomes for both solving and not solving the problem.
“If I don’t solve this problem, we may miss our targets.”
“If I solve this problem, this could be our biggest year.”
The Internal Struggle Of Your Audience
The internal struggle is with the broader impact and emotional connection for both solving and not solving the problem.
“If I don’t solve this problem, I might lose my business and security for my family.”
“If I solve this problem, I might be able to sell the business and retire early.”
How Target Audience Shapes Brand Strategy
It’s obvious that in order to connect your brand with your audience, you need to have a high level of understanding of your audiences’ wants and needs.
If you’re not crystal clear on these basics, you’re never going to be able to resonate with them through your messaging.
An added layer (or multiple added layers) of the importance of understanding your target audience is the impact this understanding has on the entire brand strategy.
Once you’ve defined who your audience is, there are multiple brand strategy development tasks that are built on the back of the detail of your audience.
Each of the following brand strategy elements are developed from the understanding of who your audience is and what they want:
Human Brand Persona
Brand Personality & Archetype
Brand Voice & Language
Brand Identity System
Each of these elements leverages the understanding of who the audience is.
If the right level of time and attention has not been taken to define the target market correctly, the entire brand strategy development will be misaligned.
The chances of your brand resonating with your intended audience in this case, are significantly diminished.
What Is An Audience Persona?
The more defined your audience is, the better positioned you are to build a brand that will resonate with them.
Creating an audience persona (or multiple personas), allows you to get highly specific with who you are trying to help.
Each persona represents the market segments in most need of the solution your brand offers.
In other words, your persona is a fictional representation of a person who most accurately represents that group.
The more detailed each of these persona are, the more accurately you can extract meaningful information you can use to resonate with your audience.
When you understand what they’ve been to en route to realizing they need help with their problem, then showing them empathy and understanding of their situation and how it has impacted them, will go a long way to building the trust that every successful brand is built on.
The importance of target audience in marketing and branding is highlighted often though the impact on the broader brand strategy is not.
Your target audience is not just a foundational pillar…
It is the very foundation on which the foundational pillars are built.
When you get it right, your brand has the tools to resonate at every touch point.
When you get it wrong, your intended audience will walk right past you as you attempt to communicate with someone else.
Are you building your own brand or building a brand for a client?
What are some of your favourite techniques when defining your target audience?
On the flip side, what are the biggest challenges you’ve come across?
Let me know in the comments Right Now!
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