Target Audience

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You Aren’t for Everyone; Identifying a Target Audience for Your Brand

Who does your brand solve problems for? Everyone? Sure, maybe. But you can’t start there. Promoting your brand, your services, and your products to the world at large, will never be economically viable for your marketing budget, or effectively deliver news about what you offer to the right people.

Bigger isn’t better…

When it comes to targeting audiences, especially for a brand, service, or product, just starting out or wanting to revise its marketing strategy for greater ROI. While a brand may want to believe they’re here to serve everyone, and that every demographic can benefit from its products or services, spending time and money to validate hunches about most likely and most valuable audiences will pay off in marketing dollars spent, share of consumer spend, and repeat business. Taking the extra step to speak with, listen to, learn about, and ultimately define your target audiences, is worth the front-end investment.

Identifying a target audience goes back to the basic questions behind all good investigations: ask who, what, where, why, and how, of a larger population sample in order to determine the people who most want and need what you bring to market.

Who? Demographic and psychographic information, how they like to spend their time, what most interests them. The basics.

What? What are their needs in your category? What are they missing and what frustrates them within your industry right now?

Where? Not just their location physically, but where you can find them in terms of media and technology. What types of media do they ingest most, and what specific media providers do they spend time with?

Why? This question goes the deepest – what values inform the above choices? This is key to understanding your audiences’ decision-making.

How? Taking all of the above into account, consider how your brand, product, or service, interacts with different groups. Determine which groups most readily fit, not with your ultimate goal of what you could bring to everyone, but what you’re offering right now.

Who wants to know more? Who is naturally interested, given their current activities, category experiences, media habits, and values? Essentially, the above research is an exercise in determining your low hanging fruit.

Some primary benefits of taking the time to identify a target audience include:

  • Increasing share of consumer spend
  • Increasing brand loyalty and repeat purchase
  • Increasing likelihood of consumer advocacy
  • Determining competitor pool
  • Refining and trimming advertising spend
Don’t waste time in early stages of marketing trying to convince people to be intrigued.

The key to growing your eventual audience is to start small and targeted – to know your niche and prioritize. Who’s already there, ready to engage with and invest in, what you’ve brought to market? Who’s almost there, but needs a bit more educating or convincing? They can wait until the first group is solidly in your camp. Finally, who’s the long-game? It’s just important to determine your reach audience as it is to determine your niche audience. It gives you a goal to build toward while satisfying your core.

This essential step of determining parameters for your audience outreach will return dividends. Rather than shouting to everyone, scattershot, employ research in a tactical approach: hone in on a target, craft your message, and take careful aim. That niche audience will appreciate the tailored communication that meets them where they are, and addresses their specific needs. Your marketing budget, in turn, will appreciate the careful spend and greater returns.

Brooke Edge, PhD
  • Consumer and Brand Research

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