Why Target Audiences are Important for Successful Marketing
I’m sitting across the table from a business owner who wants us to help them refresh their marketing campaigns. They are ready to move forward – all I have to do is hand them a pen. But there’s a problem. Earlier in our conversation, I asked them to tell me about their ideal customer. Their response was “just about anyone!” - as if it was a good thing. This is almost as bad as saying they don’t have any competitors (which is for another blog post).
See there are two questions we ask our clients as it pertains to understanding who they sell to:
1. Who is your target audience?
2. Who is your ideal customer?
While these two questions sound very similar, they are dramatically different.
Understanding Your Target Audience
When we ask, “who is your target audience”, we are asking for broad behaviors and demographics of individuals you want to do business with. For example, for an IT company, there are three buckets of people they primarily work with: CEOs, IT Directors and Office Administrators. It’s important for us marketers to have an idea of these three buckets so we can create targeted campaigns with accurate messages that these people can relate to.
Understanding your target audience also helps us utilize a marketing budget effectively. If we are marketing to anyone and everyone between the ages of 18-65 that live in the United States (because technically anyone in the United States could buy from you), your marketing budget of $300 isn’t going to go very far at all. It’s like throwing a pebble into Lake Michigan – you’re not going to make a splash.
Understanding Your Ideal Customer
A target audience is very different than an ideal customer. An ideal customer can live within a target audience, but a target audience cannot live within an ideal customer. When we ask, “who is your ideal customer”, what we’re really asking is who is your dream client? Even though your company may be able to service anyone and everyone, doesn’t mean that you want just anyone and everyone. But we can’t really answer the second question without identifying a target audience first.
Going back to the example of the IT company. We determined that they are looking to reach more CEOs. Knowing that, we'll want to know more pain points and behaviors of CEOs. What size company does the CEO run? How many employees do they have working for them?
Furthermore, what are the traits of your ideal customer? Are they micromanagers? Are they passive? Do they make decisions quickly? Are they penny pinchers or do they see the value in what you have to offer? Are they advocates for your company or are they naysayers?
It’s important for you to know the answers to these questions, but it’s really important for us as marketers to know these answers as well. Once you have a laser focus on your target audience then we can create specific marketing messages that speak to those people. If we go deeper and know exactly who your dream client is, then we can put more effort into finding people or companies that fit the mold. And trust us, when you have more of your dream clients, your team will be happier, you will be happier and your clients will be happier!