As you embark on any marketing effort, there is one step you cannot skip. It’s the core of a marketing plan that can be the key to success or the reason for failure.

Yet, many brands fail to focus on this vital element. It’s often overlooked or rushed through.

Defining a target audience is an extremely important piece of the marketing puzzle, but brands sometimes skip it. They think they know their audience, so they don’t put in the extra effort needed to clearly define this audience.

We need to talk about why that’s a problem and what you can do to succeed when you hit this point in your own marketing efforts.

First — Why Does Target Audience Matter?

When you know why defining your target audience is so valuable, it makes it easier to put the right amount of time and resources into this stage of your marketing. You see that you shouldn’t rush through this vital stage because it positively benefits both your marketing and overall business model.

  1. If you are talking to everybody, you aren’t talking to anybody. When you clearly identify your target audience, you focus on connecting with them and only them. As a brand, you don’t want to weakly appeal to the masses; you want to strongly appeal to a specific group of people who are likely to do business with you. People overlook brands that don’t directly connect with them. But, they form deep bonds with brands that give them exactly what they want and need.
  1. When you know your audience, you know their problems. When you are clear about your target audience, you can put yourself in their shoes and see the world from their perspective. You can identify the problems they have and the specific obstacles they need to overcome to solve those problems. With this knowledge, you can pinpoint places of opportunity for your brand to provide solutions.
  1. When you know your audience’s problems, you know how to market your solutions. By seeing hurdles that lay in front of your target audience, you are in a better position to customers how you can help them over the obstacles. You can turn customer problems into opportunities by highlighting the unique value propositions, features, and benefits of your products and services and showing your audience how it will help them.
  1. When you know your audience, you know what language to use. To resonate with an audience, you need to speak directly to them. You must use their language and describe their lives and problems with the terms and phrases they use to describe them. This is how you form relationships with customers and create loyal fans that feel your like your brand “gets them.”
  1. When you know your audience, you can create better products and services. With a deep understanding of your audience, you can improve your marketing and your products and services. When you know what problems your audience faces, you can identify ways to improve your offerings to provide better solutions. You can also identify opportunities to create new offerings that serve their needs and wants.

As you can see, when you define your target audience, you create brand recognition and loyalty, deeply resonate with prospects, and improve your offerings all while creating better marketing campaigns.

So don’t overlook this crucial step. Use these tips to learn how to define your target audience.

Know What You Are Looking For

When you define your target audience, list both demographic and psychographic details such as:

  • Age
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Income level
  • Education level
  • Marital or family status
  • Occupation
  • Ethnic background
  • Personality
  • Attitudes
  • Values
  • Interests/hobbies
  • Lifestyles
  • Behavior
  • World View

Be specific and look at all aspects of the person who would be your ideal customer or client.

Consider Your Core Products and Services

Look at your core products and services and identify who would be most likely to use them. Look at your unique selling propositions and consider the demographic of people that will benefit from them the most. This will help you drill down your audience and start imagining the actual people who are using your products and services and for what reasons.

Look at Your Current Customers and Clients

In the last step, you created an imaginary idea of your target audience. Now, look at your customers in real life. Identify the traits and patterns that exist in your current customer base. You may find that who you think uses your products and services does not match the demographics of the people who actually use your products and services. Use these comparisons to create a more accurate depiction of your target audience.

Interview Your Current Customers and Clients

If you don’t have information about your current customers and clients, ask them. Survey and interview both your ideal and current customers. Ask them questions to help you identify both who they are and what they need. This will help you create a realistic characterization of who your audience really is.

Look at Your Competitor’s Audience

Looking at your competitor’s audience will help you identify shared qualities of your audiences and help you see how you differentiate from your competitors. Look for characteristics in your competitor’s audience that differ from yours. Consider how you can use those differences as a unique selling point to connect with and form a deeper connection with your target audience.

Create a Customer Avatar

Once you have information about what type of customers benefit from your products and services, what customers you currently have, and what customers your competitors have, use that information to create one customer avatar. Create an ideal customer and list all of their demographics and psychographics. Then, as you create any of your marketing materials, create it with this customer avatar in mind. It will help you create content that consistently sounds the same and always speaks to your target demographic.

Now, do you see why target audiences are such a vital part of marketing?

When you know how to define your target audience, you create lasting brand recognition and loyalty, you identify opportunities to expand your offerings, and you simplify and improve your marketing efforts.

It’s work to clearly define your target audience, but it’s work that is certainly worth it.