Audience First: Why Learning Your Target Audience Must Come First
Nothing will kill a campaign quicker than not taking an audience first approach to marketing.
Remember when Pepsi thought it was a great idea to have Kylie Jenner solve police brutality and racism by handing a cold one to a cop? Or when Bic released Bic Cristal For Her pens for our dainty little woman hands?
There are hundreds of other marketing disasters out there, but these two are excellent examples of why a thorough understanding of your audience is crucial.
What do we mean by that? Well, an audience-first marketing approach uses data to remove bias and assumptions and truly learn about your best opportunity consumers – their characteristics, lifestyles, motivations, attitudes.
Habits and behavior of different audiences vary widely. This in-depth understanding puts the audience at the forefront of your planning and strategy so that you can meet them where they are spending time throughout the day and approach them with a message that breaks through (in a positive way).
Different media platforms call for different creative strategies – requiring consideration to both format and messaging. Many companies take the route of “creative first,” which can mean creating a gorgeous 30 second TV commercial to play during Jeopardy! even though a quick bit of research shows that the target audience is not in that space. So, while the commercial looks great, you just wasted thousands of dollars to get it in front of people who could not possibly care less about your product or service.
How do you make sure your marketing is in the right place at the right time?
More specifically, collecting and using data about your audience to make informed decisions about where to put your marketing dollars.
Here’s how to make sure your marketing audience is at the forefront of your campaigns:
Do Your Market Research
Tap into your arsenal as much as possible to unlock insights. There are myriad tools and platforms out there for you to research your audience and learn more about them.
To name a few, Google Analytics, native social analytics, syndicated research from Nielsen and MRI, and your own customer database all can tell you a ton about your current audience.
While you may think your potential customers are middle aged white men, your analytics may tell you that your most engaged users are millennial women. When creating your marketing plan, you want to be specifically targeting those women where they are (Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest) with content marketing and social media targeting.
You don’t want to waste your money on the above mentioned 30 second commercial at 5:00 on a weekday evening that they very likely won’t see.
Know Your Value
What are you offering to your ideal customer that’s going to change their life? (Or at least make it a little better.) Most businesses already have this in writing somewhere, but to really hone in on your target market, take some time to write down your business’ value proposition.
- What are the benefits?
- What problems can you solve for them?
- What sets you apart from your customers?
Look at your data and really tease out what the specific segments of your audience wants, needs, and likes. Consumers want brands that help them get to where they want to be.
Perfect Your Buyer Persona
Once you’ve figured out your business proposition and you’ve done your research into your customer base, you can then create a buyer persona. A buyer persona is a caricature of your perfect customer. While your broad marketing audience may be women ages 25-40 who live in big cities, your buying persona may be:
- Named Amanda
- Age 28
- Works in real estate
- Lives in Manhattan with her partner and two dogs.
- Loves rock climbing, knitting, and anything involving pumpkin spice
- Greatest time spent daily reading local news online, listening to podcasts, and watching Hulu.
The more specific you can get, the better.
Create Your Marketing Campaigns
Now that you’ve got the data you need, you can then begin to plan the creative part of your marketing campaigns. You know what, where, when, and who your marketing efforts are trying to reach, and you won’t waste money trying to reach those who may be interested in your product where they aren’t looking.
One thing to keep in mind through all of this is to be patient. Seeing results from marketing takes time, and sometimes even one month is too short of a window to see if your marketing approach is working.
Sounds like a lot of work, right? It is, and it’s absolutely worth it. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you discover the consumer behaviors of your company’s market segments.