There is a common saying in the marketing world that “If you try to sell to everyone, then you’ll end up selling to no-one.”
This is not news to marketers, but what businesses sometimes underestimate is the importance of not just marketing to an audience—but targeting a specific audience, and then doing the in-depth research that is required to successfully reach these consumers.
According to Mandy Porta, owner of U.S.-based Success Designs, target marketing is a “much more affordable, efficient, and effective way to reach potential clients and generate business.” Therefore, creating and understanding your brand’s distinct and unambiguously defined group is key.
This means exploring everything from a group’s age to sex to personality, geography, culture and race, market type, and more. So demographics and psychographics (personal characteristics of a person) for example, but also researching your competitors, analyzing your products and services, and doing an overall data analysis.
“With a clearly defined target audience, it is much easier to determine where and how to market your company,” said Porta in an Inc. article.
According to a 2019 article posted on QuickSprout, Twitter and LinkedIn are the two networks typically used by professionals. Others like Facebook, Instagram and TikTok will cater more towards tweens, teens and young adults.
On the social media front, the research can extend to browsing the profiles of your target audience and also looking for online publications “that have readership demographics that match your target.”
“The writers on these sites hold great influence over your target, but also pay attention to the people included in the articles,” said QuickSprout, adding that the people in the industry included in the article (via quotes, interviews, or mentions) could help influence your main target.
Social media’s role in reaching your target audience should not be underestimated. Based on an article from Sprout Social, 91 per cent of consumers believe in its power to connect people, while 78 per cent want brands to use these platforms to do this.
Social media is also the main channel for brands to connect with consumers, and the more connected consumers feel, the more loyal they become—with 57 per cent increasing their spending on the brand, and 76 per cent willing to buy a product or service from the brand over a competitor.
With that in mind, target marketing should also focus on one brand or sub-brand at a time, and have its own boundaries.
According to a Harvard Business Review article by Kevin Lane Keller, “it can be dangerous to try to cover too much ground with one brand or to overlap two brands in the same portfolio.”
As an example, Keller said the Gap’s brand portfolio provides “maximum market coverage with minimal overlap,” thanks to its sub-brands: Banana Republic caters to the high end, the Gap covers the “basic style-and-quality terrain,” and Old Navy is aimed at the broader mass market. “Each brand has a distinct image and its own sources of equity,” said Keller.
The same can be said for Toyota and Lexus. Or BMW and its different sub-brands (such as the 3, 5 and 7 series), which Kelley describes as “well-differentiated” and offering a “logical order and hierarchy of quality and price.”
So how important is your audience to your brand?
It goes without saying that, without an audience, your brand is just a name; it needs culture and a community to thrive and survive—buyers that will breathe life into it, and help the company grow and evolve its dreams and goals.
Take the time to properly research and understand your audience, and save yourself a world of headaches down the road.
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