A target audience is a particular cohort of consumers within a target market, identified as the receivers for a particular advertisement or message.
In a marketing communication a.k.a marcom campaign, identifying a target audience is crucial as it helps focus the individual advertising and promotional efforts.
Listed below are the steps to follow while identifying a target audience:
STEp:1 CREATE A CUSTOMER PROFILE
Usually, a customer profile is created using classic demographics like age, gender, and geography. Now marketers across the world are witnessing a shift in the type of demographics used. With access to large amounts of data, demographics such as consumer behavior, consumer attitude, life stage are used in creating a customer profile and identifying a target audience.
Companies that hitherto grouped the population based on gender and age are shifting to more specific targeting. For example - Target groups of first-time mothers, first-time car owners.
Here is a basic customer profile template. To download it as a word file, click here.
STEP:2 SELECT a LEVEL OF TARGETING
Through the process of identifying a target audience, marketers have the options of targeting at different market levels:
- Undifferentiated Market
- Differentiated Market
- Concentration Market
- Micro Market
The below descriptions will help you choose a level of targeting based on your product and its market segment.
Identifying a Target Audience in an Undifferentiated Market:
This approach does not need any detailed identifying of a target audience as the goods and services marketed are of mass appeal. Products of mass consumption like soap or milk are marketed in this manner. Marketers tailor marcom campaigns that will appeal to a wide range of audience.
Although, there is an inherent disadvantage: Marketers identifying a target audience in the undifferentiated market segment will face stiff competition from focused marketing efforts of other companies.
Identifying a Target Audience in a Differentiated Market:
In this approach of identifying a target audience, marketers target several audience cohorts with products and services customized for each cohort. This approach can be seen in the marketing strategy of companies like PepsiCo which has different audiences for its various brands such as Mountain Dew, Mirinda, Tropicana, and Aquafina.
Like every approach, this too has its disadvantages: Identifying a target audience for every iteration of a product will be an expensive task that will involve separate processes of market research, forecasting, sales analysis for each product.
Identifying a Target Audience in a Concentrated Market:
The philosophy of identifying a target audience here is simple:
Going after a large share of a small segment also known as a niche segment (as opposed to going after a small share of a large market).
An example of this approach: Lefty’s is an e-commerce site that sells products designed for left-handed people. As 90% of the population is right-handed, this company targets the niche group of left-handers.
With this approach of identifying a target audience, a company will hold a dominant market position as they know the intricacies of serving the particular niche they are in.
Identifying a Target Audience in a Micro Market:
Here, a marketer strives to customize their product and services for each customer. An example of this approach can be seen in the marcom campaigns of companies like Nike which promote Nike ID, a platform that lets a user personalize his shoes however they would like.
STEP:3 CONSOLIDATE YOUR RESULTS.
Combining your ideal customer profile with the level of your target market will help in successfully identifying a target audience.
A customer profile helps you create an audience, which is accomplished using tools like Facebook and LinkedIn that have access to huge amounts of consumer data.
Depending on your level of targeting you can use sales automation tools (Eloqua, Outreach, Klenty, Freshsales, Salesforce) to plan your campaigns to reach the target audience that you have identified.
Identifying a target audience is a single step in a marketing communication campaign. To understand the following steps in the marketing communication process check this blog out.