No matter the business or industry you work within, the solution to an effective and successful marketing campaign will always be understanding who your target audience is. Neglecting the importance of target market intelligence is a common mistake made by businesses owners in a bid to appeal to everyone with their products and services. However, the reality is that no business anywhere can cater to everyone and your business is much more likely to succeed when marketing efforts are concentrated on a specific niche of consumers. Not everyone will want or need what you provide and that’s fine – it’s understanding the people who do, that will see your business thrive.
So, how do you define your target audience?
The most effective way to start identifying your target audience is through ‘persona mapping’ – a fail safe business exercise which involves creating in-depth profiles of your target consumers. Creating reliable customer profiles is a time-consuming effort and is done by collecting and analysing important data and statistics. Many businesses and companies develop their customer personas by using this technique, collecting demographic information such as gender, occupation, age group and social status, alongside more personal information including likes and dislikes through to personal values and motivators. Of course, there are many ways of accessing this information but today, it’s easier than ever, with most consumers using online platforms to connect with brands and to complete those all-important shopping transactions.
Platforms such as Google analytics and Facebook insights provide some serious scope for businesses to find out more about the consumers they are currently connecting with. Basic information such as geographic location is available, allowing business owners to discover where consumers are based and behavioural information including how they are accessing websites and social media pages (ie: through desktop or mobile platforms), the content they are engaged with and most importantly, which content is driving sales conversions, provides insightful intelligence on which marketing efforts are most effective. Particularly in the case of social media presence, taking consideration of comments, reviews and other engagement across social platforms both from established and potential consumers can prove imperative for marketers as this allows the provision to build a clearer picture of consumers, based on more personal insights and not just basic demographics.
Implement Perceptual Positioning.
Once you have a brief understanding of who your target audience are, it’s time to really take yourself from a marketers’ mindset and instead, become your customer. It’s a simple and effective method for strengthening marketing strategies and immersing yourself in a consumer-like thinking process will enable you to clearly develop the next steps for your marketing campaign. Brand positioning is heavily based on consumer perception – you may believe your products and services are the best on the market, but if your consumers aren’t feeling the same way, your marketing efforts will fail and your business plan will ultimately fall through.
Asking yourself questions as if you were the consumer is a great way to better understand how to meet your customer requirements. Ask questions such as:
‘Why does this product/service appeal to me?’ ‘How does this product/service provide a solution for me?’ ‘Do I work, and how do I commute there?’ ‘What do I care about? What are my personal values?’ ‘Where do I go, what do I do when I get there?’ ‘Do I use social media? Which platforms do I use most?’
Some of these questions may not seem that relevant at first glance, but on deeper contemplation, you’ll realise many of the answers to these questions will effectively inform your routes to market.
What route to market should you take?
You may have the perfect solution for your consumers. It’s quite likely your products or services are strong contenders against competitors but deciding how to sell and selecting the right route to market is essential for the success of any business.
Route-to-market is a strategy that determines which distribution channels you use to deliver a product to your target consumers. It is a strategy that companies use when they want to achieve a specific business objective or accelerate growth in a given market. Your decision here will depend heavily on your target audience knowledge, which is exactly why persona mapping is a critical element of your business plan.
There are several routes to market available to businesses, from opening brick and mortar stores to advertising through signage and billboards to traditional radio and television commercials. Digital routes to market may include search engine optimisation, email marketing, social influencer marketing and PPC (pay per click) strategies.
So how do you choose the one that’s right for you?
You digest the information you’ve collected through the persona mapping process and convert it into personal marketing strategies. If you’ve discovered your target consumers spend most of their time shopping online, then delivering your products through an e-commerce store is likely to gain you more sales conversions than a traditional brick and mortar store. If your consumers regularly commute to work or other places in the car, then billboards and signage may be an excellent way to project your brand. If your consumers are digital savvy, utilising the benefits of solid SEO, influencer marketing and social media management may work to increase sales. In contrast, if your target audience are an older generation, or less inclined to use the internet – marketing them through direct mail may be the best solution.
To conclude, your entire marketing campaign starts and ends with understanding your customer. Remember, your products and services are only ever as good as your consumers perceive it to be and targeting the right audience through the most effective marketing routes will help you achieve your overall business objectives.
If you could benefit from the support of an expert marketing agency, the team at Ouma are experienced in delivering powerful marketing campaigns for aspirational brands and businesses and we’d love to help you too.