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Mastering Some Audience Targeting Basics

Mastering Some Audience Targeting Basics

Written by enCOMPASS Agency

An effective marketing strategy always starts with the audience; you have to know who your audience is, understand their pain points, and be able to present your brand as a smart solution. As such, chasing a wide audience isn’t always recommended; in fact, it’s usually best to define your audience as specifically as possible.

Consider it this way: If your audience is all women, you’ve got your work cut out for you. That’s an incredibly broad and diverse audience, and finding a message that resonates with all of them will be challenging. But if you can focus more acutely on, say, moms between age 25-32 who are interested in living a healthier lifestyle, suddenly you’ve got more to go with. The fine-tuning helps you deliver a more specific message, and a more concrete sense of value.

This is an example of what’s called audience targeting, and it’s one of the critical marketing skillsets to master.

Different Types of Audience Targeting

One of the first things to understand is that audience targeting comes in several different forms:

  • There’s demographic targeting, where you segment your audience into different groups based on such variables as age, gender, income range, lifestyle, hobbies, etc.
  • There is also creative targeting—for example, creating a couple of different ads, perhaps using alternative logos or color schemes, and A/B testing them to see which is more resonant with your audience.
  • You can also narrow your focus by timing; running ad displays in the morning versus running them late at night, for example. Depending in your audience, one of these might prove more effective than the other.
  • It’s possible to target on the basis of technology, too—running ads that display only on a certain operating system or a specific kind of device.
  • Geographic targeting is also a viable option—segmenting your audience by zip code, for instance.

How to Find Your Target Audience

Knowing some of these basic options is helpful, but where the rubber meets the road is in finding your target audience. There are a couple of approaches you can take—either defining your audience in terms of your current customers, or defining a whole new audience.

Defining Your Audience Based on Current Customers

When basing your audience on those who have already bought your product or service, you have the benefit of existing customer data to rely on. A CRM system or the data from your customer loyalty program can provide you with key facts and figures about the people who buy from you. By analyzing this data, you can create a basic profile of your target audience—age, income range, customer location, etc.

There are other ways to glean information about your current customer base. One recommendation is to consult Google Analytics, which can provide you with a sense of who’s visiting your website, and how they’re referred. Extrapolating from this, you may be able to piece together further insights about your customer base.

Still another option is to send out a customer survey, and ask some of your profiling questions directly. This strategy is most effective when you incentivize participation—for example, offering a discount code in exchange for a completed survey.

Defining a New Audience

The other approach is to capture a whole new audience—and this can be a bit trickier.

A good starting point is through some basic self-inventory. Ask yourself questions about the product or service you offer: What problem does it solve? What benefits does it offer the end user? And who are the people most likely to seek out those benefits?

And, though it will be more of an investment, another approach is to hire a market research firm to help you identify your audience. If you have the budget for it, this can certainly provide you with some rich data.

Audience Targeting and People-Based Marketing

While audience targeting is nothing new, it’s arguably become more essential than ever, thanks to the rise of people-based marketing. If you’re not familiar with the term, people-based marketing means collecting data—ideally from both online and offline sources—and creating profiles of your audience members, then using those profiles to target individuals across platforms and devices.

One of the advantages of this approach is that it allows you to engage with a consumer across his or her buyer’s journey, from the initial research phase to the point of decision—but for people-based marketing to work, it’s vital that you have good, detailed profiles—the more finely-targeted, the better.

In other words, knowing your audience is the foundation for any successful people-based marketing effort. This carries over into programmatic ads, too—where, again, you’re not bidding on the basis of platform, but rather on the basis of audience.

The upshot of all of this is that you can display ads only to the people you really want to see them—people who are interested in what you’re selling. If that sounds like the good premise for a marketing strategy, we invite you to give us a call. The enCOMPASS team is available to help you strategize on the best ways to find your target audience. Reach out to us to schedule a consultation.