I was sat in a meeting recently with a major regional company that has been established for over three decades and squirmed when the CEO could not succinctly describe the company’s target market.
Relaying this moment to other business owners highlighted that knowing your business’ target audience is a fundamental element of business practice that is consistently neglected by businesses of all shapes and sizes, ages and sectors.
The inability to describe your target market in a succinct manner is just as detrimental to a startup as it is an established multi-million-pound turnover business: if someone asked you now ‘what is your ideal client or customer?’ could you answer and really mean it?
Read on to find out why it is so important that you can.
What is a target audience?
Google tells us that the definition is: A particular group at which a product such as a film or advertisement is aimed.
In fact, it is entirely the opposite.
A business should not create a product or service then say, we’re going to aim it at X group of people. Instead, you find your target audience and create your product or service to meet their needs or solve their problems.
If you’re already an established business, it is likely that you know what problems you solve or needs you meet for your customer base, but do you really understand where they are? How they buy? What other needs they have that you could meet?
Why your target audience is so important
1. Is your product or service valuable?
We have already established that in order for your business to be successful and sustainable, your product or service must meet the needs of your customers.
If you are starting out in business or feel like you have a great product you want to develop, the first step is identifying if there is an actual need for it. Just because your friends all say it’s a great idea does not mean that your business is definitely going to be successful.
Understanding if there is a need for your product or service is the first indicator that you are starting to tap into your target audience. Acknowledging them is crucial; knowing them is imperative.
2. Enables you to define your value proposition
In the same way as solving problems, understanding your target audience also allows you to decide what your value proposition is going to be – what can you offer them? Why should they visit you over your competitors?
Your value proposition can be seen to define what your business does, uniquely. If you find this difficult to do, it means you don’t understand your audience because, when you do understand them, it’s easy. You know what you want, therefore you can package it to them. And what you give to them depends on what they want.
3. Marketing Campaigns that succeed
Marketing is so frequently regarded as a cost to businesses.
This is because so many campaigns are a waste of money as they are saying the wrong things to the wrong people at the wrong times via the wrong channels.
Knowing your target audience and understanding them allows your business to undertake targeted, cost-effective marketing campaigns and initiatives.
You need to know who you are talking to, where you can reach them and what they want to hear. When you do, marketing will no longer be seen as a cost as the return will outweigh the initial outlay. In fact, you will probably find that you can spend less and still see the results you want!
Don’t forget to implement suitable marketing metrics from the beginning though or you won’t know which areas are working and which need improvement!
Fixating on your target audience as a primary marketing principle
Understanding your target audience is an on-going task and if you ensure you stay in touch with who they are, you are far more likely to be successful, achieve a better return on marketing investment and survive the rapidly changing trends in consumer behaviour that we are currently seeing.
It is vital to remember that your target audience just six months ago is likely to have already changed – keep up with them and you may be lucky enough to have them stick with you!
At MAMA Marketing, defining your target audience is one of the first steps we undertake, and changes in their behaviour are considered at each stage in the life-cycle of our relationships with clients.