Target Market. Target Audience. Ideal Clients. Your Niche.
These terms have all become business buzz-terms. It doesn’t seem you can have a conversation about business for more than a few minutes without one of these terms coming up, and for good reason.
A brand is a desired perception, which means it lives in the minds of your target audience. Therefore it is really, really important we understand what your target audience looks like and what is going on in their minds.
Understanding as much as you can about your target audience is instrumental in brand building and marketing.
But how do you define your target market? Who are your customers? What does their day look like, what do they care about and what are their purchasing decisions?
Below are 5 ways to define your target market. If you can gain clarity on these 5 areas, you will be on your way to understanding your customers better than they know themselves. When you can do that, you can create a powerful brand that resonates deeply with your target audience, target market, ideal customers, niche, or whatever the new buzzword of the day is.
Demographics seem to be passé these days but they are still very, very important.
Demographics are still very important because we can only start to understand how people think by first knowing who they are.
Singularly, and in isolation, these tell us very little about an individual, as our age, gender, race, etc, don’t drive our purchasing decisions alone. However, we can take inference on a larger group of people based on this information. How we sell to white women over 55 is very different from how we would sell to African-American males under 25.
Demographics don’t tell you everything, but they’re a great place to start. To understand your target market even further, lets dive into number 2.
Just like demographics, where we gain insights on our audience based on who they are, we can also gain insights on people based upon their personality traits, attitudes, interests and lifestyle.
By segmenting our audience on this deeper level, we can market to them in an even more focused manner.
For example, if we know that charitable work is very important to our target audience, this information can help us on multiple levels. For one, we now know that giving back is a core value, so we can craft messaging and marketing that appeals to this value. Additionally, if this core value is a major factor in purchasing behavior we could get creative, and incorporate giving back into our business model.
Psychographics are key to defining your target audience. Great brands always have an eye on their target audience’s behavior and thinking.
3. Wants and Desires
There is an old saying in marketing, sell them on what they want, give them what they need.
You MUST know what your target audience wants, and when we say what they want, we mean what they REALLY want.
For example, if you are selling skin care products, your customers don’t actually want skin cream. That’s simply the tool that delivers the benefit they want, which is smooth, clear skin.
And why do they want smooth, clear skin? Let’s dive even deeper. Let’s go deeper than “skin deep.” Why does someone want smooth, clear skin? So they can look great, and feel confident. They buy skin cream so they can look great, be wanted, and be admired.
When assessing your target audience, ask yourself what your customers are really buying. By effectively utilizing this knowledge of wants and desires, your audience will be yearning for your brand in short order.
4. Fears and Frustrations
On the flip side of wants and desires are fears and frustrations.
We want to know what is keeping our audience up at night so we can eliminate their worry and ease their concerns. For example, if our audience is weary of spending money, we can incorporate a money-back guarantee. Or if our audience’s biggest frustration is that the companies they buy from aren’t genuine or honest, we can highlight our integrity. Many times, people are driven to purchase more out of fear than out of desire. Going back to the skin cream example, do we really want to look young, or are we terrified of looking old?
Understand what keeps your audience up at night, and you will be on your way to creating a brand that speaks to them.
5. Key Purchasing Decisions
What makes someone actually pull the trigger on a purchase?
After all, we all have many wants and desires, fears and frustrations, and there are a myriad of products/services that appeal to these factors. So what is it that separates one company’s product/service from the other?
Many times it comes down to key purchasing decisions. Some people only want to work with the best, and will pay for that privilege. Others are more concerned with “value” and will search for the most bang for their buck. Other times a key purchasing decision comes down to how well you understand where your audience is coming from. Some people want to buy from someone who they admire, others want to buy your product/service because of what it says about them.
There are lots of decisions that determine whether someone buys your brand or not. You must understand them and focus your efforts on making these decisions as painless as possible for your audience.
All 5 of the areas mentioned above are inherently linked, and shed light on the others. When combined, they provide you with powerful knowledge that can be used to shape your audience’s perception of your brand, allowing your brand to resonate with them on a deeper level than your competitors. Take the time to know your audience, define them, understand who they are, what they want and what makes them tick, and you will be richly rewarded for it.