Today’s heavily segmented marketplace has increased the need for companies to effectively target their audiences. Content marketing and branding efforts can be broadly successful at times, but scattershot efforts are a heavier drain on resources for a minimal return. For the best value per dollar spent, companies should always seek to target their efforts directly at those consumers that are more likely to engage with them and purchase their services and products.
While this does not mean that companies should completely ignore subsets of the overall market, defining a target audience is a crucial aspect of creating a coherent content strategy. It is also an excellent way for businesses to better understand their products. When getting started in defining their target audience, companies should always ask themselves these questions:
What is the Target Audience’s Demographic Profile?
The best place to start when trying to define the right audience for a company’s services is the customers themselves. Companies should attempt to create a profile of their ideal customer starting with the most basic details. This includes understanding their ages, locations, income levels, gender, marital status and more. Demographic information can endow businesses with significant insights about their customers, from their needs to their interests and the trends popular in their age groups.
What are the Target Market’s Lifestyles and Attitudes?
Demographic information is vital, but it is only a starting point. Once companies have zeroed in on their customer profile, their focus should become more granular. A broad cultural or age group can still be highly segmented, and products that are appealing to some may not be appreciated by others. Companies should understand their product enough to find those customers whose lifestyles and attitudes are most akin to their selling points.
What Does the Market Look Like?
The key to standing out in any crowd is to understand the underlying trends. Most markets feature products that while holding some distinctive characteristics – price points, unique features, and more – tend to be very similar. To hold an advantage, the best companies understand these market trends and work to either differentiate themselves, or create a product that can outperform competitors on multiple levels.
Who is the Competition’s Target Audience?
One of the benefits of working in a crowded industry is that different companies are built to meet unique needs. For a strategy to be successful, companies should always begin by understanding the parts of the market that are already being served. Next, they should define if those customers could be swayed toward a new alternative, or if the company should find an underserved niche. For saturated industries such as social media, trying to compete for market share may be the only option, but for industries with less competition, identifying a special niche could prove to be the winning strategy.
What Problems Can the Product Solve?
This is an important question that every business must ask and answer themselves once they understand their competition. In a highly crowded market, comparable products are inevitable. The key for a successful business is to find the areas where they can claim a distinct competitive advantage such as a lower price point, higher quality, or value-added features. This focus on distinct features that differentiate the offering enables companies to better match their services to the customers who need them most.
Is the Target Audience Too Broad or Narrow?
Definition is important, but in some cases companies can go too far, or not far enough. A major step in establishing a target market is finding the right balance between specific and broad. If the chosen audience is too wide, efforts will seem scattershot and will lose effectiveness. If they are too narrow, companies risk losing out on parts of the market that are being outright ignored. The right balance changes from industry to industry, but companies should always strive to find the right mix of specialization and broad appeal.
Where Does the Target Audience Spend Their Time Online?
Having the right audience is a key part of the equation, but it is not the only one. Companies can succeed at identifying their demographics, but fail when it comes to effectively reaching them. The problem is that in some cases, businesses ignore the specific places their audience frequents online. Be it in specific blogs or lifestyle websites, companies should identify the ecosystems their target audience is most familiar with. By recognizing the right traffic hubs, companies have an opportunity to partner, collaborate, and interact with popular destinations to become more visible and appear more in sync with the market.
Building a strong understanding of their customers empowers businesses to carve out their niche while creating strong content and a powerful brand identity. Explore how Motif Content can help with in-depth strategy and market research, helping your company take the next steps towards maximizing its outreach.