Building Your Marketing Foundation: Your Audience

Any marketing foundation starts with an understanding of your overarching business goals. Once those are well understood, they will help you shape your company’s marketing goals and start addressing your marketing foundation, beginning with your audience.

Identifying and understanding your audience is the third step in building your marketing foundation, and it’s essential for creating effective marketing strategies that can resonate with your audience’s needs, wants, and preferences. By tailoring your message and communication channels to a specific audience, your marketing efforts can increase the chances of converting targeted groups of people into your loyal customers.

Too often, we talk to entrepreneurs and small business owners who say “just about anyone would benefit from my product/service!” And that might be true. But if you approach your marketing with that assumption, the results will be disastrous. It’s a little like dating: You might be open to meeting lots of new people, but you would never hold up a sign saying “Will date anyone: Ask me out already!” Everyone has preferences that make certain partners—or certain clients—a better or worse fit. It takes honesty and self-awareness to know what those are.

So what is this “audience” you need to design your marketing plan for? And how do you discover yours?

What Defines an Audience in Marketing, and Why is It Important?

An audience in marketing refers to a group of individuals or potential customers who will benefit the most from your product or services. For your marketing strategy to be effective, your audience needs to be clearly defined, based on a few major factors.

Demographics

Components like age, gender, education, and income will allow you to understand and engage with your target audience, which ultimately leads to increased revenue. Reaching specific groups of people who are most likely to be interested in the value you have to offer should be the focus of your marketing efforts.

Geography

Geography is a crucial element in marketing because it can greatly influence if and when a marketing campaign reaches your ideal audience. For example, analyzing geographic data can help break down your demographic data (see above) and make your targeting more focused. It also can be used to analyze your competition in a specific area; understanding the competitive landscape can help you identify gaps in the market so you can tailor your marketing efforts to fill those gaps.

Psychographics

Psychographics in marketing refers to the study of consumer’s interests, values, personality traits, and lifestyles. For example, consider their…

  • Pains: What challenges do your consumers face, and how can you help mitigate these challenges?
  • Gains: What would improve your audience’s lives? What value can you offer them that other businesses cannot?
  • Industry and Role: If you are a B2B company, a person’s job title and industry will say a lot about their role in making or influencing purchase decisions.
  • Values: What do they value more than anything? (Is it family? Flexibility? Fun?)
  • Attitudes: Do the people in your audience avoid, or seek out, risks? Are they concerned with looking cool? Appearing successful? Do they want to be seen as reliable, or safe?

Note that these psychographics go well beyond the more-obvious qualities such as age and gender. Psychographics delve deeper into the motivations and preferences that drive consumer behavior. Analyzing your audience’s behavior can provide valuable insights for improving your marketing strategy.

How Marketing to the Right Audience Can Grow Your Business

Marketing to the right audience is crucial for the growth of your business. By understanding who your target audience is through demographics, psychographics, and geographics, you can create a more-effective marketing strategy that speaks directly to your potential customer’s needs and interests, which can lead to increased sales and revenue.

  1. Effective Communication: By understanding your target audience, you can communicate with them in a way that really resonates. This means using language, messaging, and channels they are most likely to respond to. For example, social media might be a great way to reach customers for a hair care product, but it might be a waste of time if you are trying to reach IT security folks.
  2. Improved Conversion Rates: When you market to the right audience, you are more likely to attract people who are interested in your product or service. This means they are more likely to convert into customers. By focusing your marketing efforts on the people who are most likely to buy from you, you’ll fill your sales pipeline more quickly and fuel growth.
  3. Customer Loyalty: When you create marketing campaigns that speak directly to your target audience, you can build a sense of loyalty because people will feel like your brand “gets them.” You can also create a more personalized experience that makes them feel valued and appreciated—for example, through a loyalty program, referral program, and targeted deals.
  4. Better ROI: Marketing to the right audience can also help you make the most of the money you spend on your marketing efforts. By targeting your campaigns more effectively, you can avoid wasting resources on people who are less likely to be interested in your product or service. This can lead to a more efficient use of your marketing budget, which can help you grow your business without overspending.

Marketing to the right audience can help your business grow by improving communication, increasing conversion rates, building customer loyalty, and improving ROI. It’s important to take the time to understand your target audience and create marketing campaigns that speak directly to what they need, what they may be missing, and what they’re interested in.

Starting to Define Your Audience: An Exercise

Let’s assume that you’re sold on the idea of defining your audience as part of your marketing strategy. How should you go about it?

First, don’t assume you know who your audience is. You probably have a good idea, but validate what you think you know. Too often, a business owner or leader will assume that they know who their audience is, and what that audience’s motivations are, based on who they’ve worked with in the past. But that might be a small piece of a bigger picture.

To avoid this kind of mistake, do this:

  1. Look at your list of clients and identify the top 20%. You can decide what puts a client in that top bracket, based on your business goals. For example, you can identify the top 20% in terms of overall revenue, gross profits, or even growth potential. Whatever metric you choose, it should be in service of your marketing goals and strategic business goals.
  2. Look at those clients and try to find commonalities. Once you’ve identified your top clients, your goal now is to figure out how to “replicate” or “clone” those clients—in other words, to find others that are like them in terms of demographics, geography, and psychographics. Do they fall into similar industries? Do they cluster by geography? Or size? Do they experience similar hurdles?
  3. Make a point to speak with those top 20% of clients. Now that you have some idea of what makes your best clients tick, it’s time to validate what you know—and discover what you don’t know. To do this, set aside time to speak with each of the clients in your top 20%. Or better yet, hire an outside firm to conduct the interviews. (Trust us: Clients will be more candid with a neutral third party.) The point of these interviews will be to go deeper and uncover things that might not be obvious. What keeps them up at night? What goals do they have? What do they value?

    It’s important at this stage to let the conversation go where it will; don’t lead the conversation. You don’t want to inadvertently bias the outcomes or miss something important just because it was unexpected. This is another reason to have a neutral third party conduct the interviews.
  4. Divvy up the decision-makers and the influencers. Some products or services are bought by individuals, or are impulse purchases. But most are not. When there is an actual purchase decision to be made, it’s important to discover who is making the decision…and who can influence that person.

    For example: Mattresses are usually bought by couples. While the purchase will typically go on one partner’s card, both will have input into the choice of style and brand. Another example: Fun breakfast cereals. Although a parent typically buys the cereal (and is the one worrying about its nutritional value, perhaps), the kids have a say in what gets purchased…and cereal companies design their boxes and their promotions with that in mind. In both cases, there are people influencing the purchase decision beyond the person making the actual purchase.

Once you’ve taken the above steps, you should have a much clearer idea of who your audience is, where they are, and what you need to say to them to prove that you understand them.

Pace Marketing Strategy

Our marketing strategy is all about accelerating your business growth and helping you achieve your goals. We make this possible by building you a tailor-made plan of action that aligns with your objectives, engages your target audience, builds awareness around your brand, and ultimately grows your business.

Whether you use an agency like ours or try this on your own, you’ll want to think long and hard about your audience. Who is the group of people you need to market to, and how do you go about doing it effectively? The more narrowly you can define your audience, the more easily you can zero in on the marketing plan that will be most effective in reaching them—and that will make the best use of your precious marketing dollars.

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