Define Your Target Audience

Put on your empathy hat folks because it’s time to identify your target. What do I mean when I say Target? I mean your ideal customer – your customer avatar, if you will. Whether you’re starting a new business or considering a new product offering, or hell, even revamping your current business and suite or services, you need to be laser focused on who you are talking to­—and hopefully who you’re creating solutions for.

I recently saw a great question: Is it OK if you don’t have an experience with a target audience?

The answer is yes! With my years of both agency experience and working in corporate, identifying and working with unfamiliar target segments was a fact of life. There are a few things you can do to understand this target and perfect your products, services and communications you serve to them.

Start With Those Closest to You

Is there someone you know who you think fits your ideal target? Make note of who they are, not just in uninspiring demographics (gender, age, geography, etc.) but in psychographics: What is it they really want? What are their fears? Interview them and make the word “why” your best friend.

Example: Your friend Denise doesn’t want to go on a diet to lose weight. She wants to lose weight so she can be more active…so she feels better…so she can play with her kids…so she can feel like she’s a good parent. Drilling down into the why makes insights about your target so much stronger.

Figure out their fears. What’s holding them back from accomplishing that thing? Does Denise fear she won’t have time to devote to herself? Or does she fear that in 10 years her kids won’t see her as a good parent? Or that she won’t be here in 10 years?

Dig Into Research

If you don’t personally know someone who fits your target or you just need more insights, dive into primary and secondary research to learn more about your target.

Really quick: Primary research is a body of first-hand research done by a group or organization, meaning they conducted the surveys, the focus groups etc. to develop a set of data and culminate insights from that data.

Secondary research is using research someone else has already done to cull insights.

In addition to primary and secondary research, there’s also qualitative and quantitative methods.

Quantitative is numbers focused. It includes customer attitudes, brand usage and the demographics.

Qualitative is just like it sounds – it’s really about the quality. What are a customer’s motivations, values or emotional connections?

What does all that mean for you? It means there are lots of people out there who have probably already done research around your target. You just need to find it and identify your own takeaways.

When I recommend social media platforms for a client, I often go to PEW Research Center for quantitative data around the target on each platform.

Nielsen also puts out a lot of wonderful research around a variety of topics.

I deploy tools like SEM Rush for keyword analysis to get a handle on what people are searching for around any given topic.

The amount of research can be overwhelming. Start with a Google search that describes what you want to know. Go from there to refine your search.

Develop Your Target Statement

Use all this information to develop a target statement that gets laser focused on your target is. I recommend formatting it something like this:

Do-all-the-things-Mama who wants to feel like she’s a parenting rock star but fears she won’t be around to see her kids graduate high school.

Sounds more meaningful than:

A woman who wants to lose weight but fears she won’t.

Don’tcha think?

This post just brushes the surface of what’s possible when learning more about your target audience. If you have more questions, I would love to hear them. Just add them to the comments below.