A target audience is the demographic of people most likely to be interested in your product or service. If you own a plumbing company, your target audience is property owners, both commercial and residential. If you own a toy store, your target audience is parents, grandparents, and anyone else with children in their lives.
Other examples of target audiences include single men in their 20s, tweens, working mothers, retired seniors, and dog owners. In some cases, the target audience becomes very narrow-focused. For instance, if the product is a pricey Italian men's business suit appropriate for up-and-coming Wall Streeters, then the market audience is single men in their 20s who live in New York City and earn over $200,000 per year.
In order for people to "buy into" a product or service, they need to relate to the tone and content of the message. By striking a chord with someone, a personal connection is made, and trust is established. Let's say the goal is to sell a product to working mothers. The advertising methods might employ digital and social media platforms and may have an energetic and empathetic tone. A better approach to reaching retired seniors is a marketing campaign using print ads in newspapers and magazines that carry a more subtle and relaxing tone.
The best place to being is by thinking about the specific needs your product or service fulfills. If your business is designing websites, you’re going to focus on selling those websites to business owners, not retired people. If your product is very general in nature (e.g., a common condiment like ketchup) less market research is needed because most people use ketchup.
A target audience is formed from the same factors as a target market, but it is more specific, and is susceptible to influence from other factors. An example of this was the marketing of the USDA's food guide, which was intended to appeal to young people between the ages of 2 and 18. The factors they had to consider outside of the standard marketing mix included the nutritional needs of growing children, children's knowledge and attitudes regarding nutrition, and other specialized details. This reduced their target market and provided a specific target audience to focus on.
“Before you start any business, you need to get your target audience down pat. Who do you want to serve? Who will your product/service benefit the most? Don’t worry about the rest.”
Common factors for target audiences may reduce the target market to specifics such as 'men aged 20–30 years old, living in Auckland, New Zealand' rather than 'men aged 20–30 years old'. However, just because a target audience is specialized doesn't mean the message being delivered will not be of interest and received by those outside the intended demographic. Failures of targeting a specific audience are also possible, and occur when information is incorrectly conveyed. Side effects such as a campaign backfire and 'demerit goods' are common consequences of a failed campaign. Demerit goods are goods with a negative social perception, and face the repercussions of their image being opposed to commonly accepted social values.
The most important part of "messaging" is paying attention to how well advertising methods are working. To assess the effectiveness of a marketing campaign, you can monitor sales, new customers, requests for information, phone inquiries, retail and web traffic, and click-throughs. If you don't want to do this on your own, the Nielson company is the oldest company that measures the total effectiveness of a campaign.
MThere’s no one-size-fits-all audience for all companies. The only real way to discover your true target audience is to conduct plenty of research. For instance:
The more research you conduct into your audience, the more you may discover that you don’t have just one user persona to target. Many businesses that sell more than one product or service also need to create multiple target audience profiles too. Your target audience may consist of dozens of different patterns and it will be up to you to cater your campaigns to those personas based on your goals.
Fortunately, the more you work on your target audience insights, the easier it will be to customize your campaigns. The information you have will even lead you to the right channels and strategies for sharing your message. For instance, a highly visual audience may respond well to an Instagram campaign. On the other hand, an older audience may prefer email and Facebook.