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  • Angela Dobbie

Know Your Audience - The First Rule of Marketing

Part 1 of Our 3-Part "In the Know" Series

Even if you don't know that much about marketing, you may already be familiar with its first rule - "Know Thy Audience". However despite this saying being fairly commonplace, even the most seasoned marketers can take it for granted from time to time.

Losing sight of your audience.

When creating a jazzy video, coming up with witty ads, or developing optimized website content, your focus can shift to (or remains fixed on) your company, as if to say "hey, look at us and how clever we are!" And when carried away by your own creative brilliance, you can lose sight of the purpose - the audience for whom the content is created.

The point is, it's not enough to just please yourself with the materials you produce; you need to create content that resonates with your audience (and they may not appreciate the same things you do).

This is why it's so important to know exactly who your audience is - the better you know them, the better your ability to reach them through the constant competing clutter of "ad nauseum".

Often customers base their buying decisions on an emotional response; they go with their guts more than they lead with their heads. So by demonstrating that you know your audience, you can build trust that makes it easy for customers to choose your products or services.

Simon Sinek's Golden Circle Concept

Leadership guru extra-ordinaire Simon Sinek may have summed it up best with his "Golden Circle" concept ("How Great Leaders Inspire Action", Ted Talk, 2009); he explains that bypassing the "what" and "how" of transactional relationships and speaking directly to a person's values creates a direct link between the action required and the end result.

In other words, nothing drives people to action faster and with more conviction that a passion for a common cause.

Getting to Know Your Audience

There are a variety of ways to get to know your audience. The truest, most direct way is to actually know them in person. This is done by developing relationships with your individual customers over time and showing an interest in the details that make them unique.

Knowing Your Customers By Name

This can be challenging however, particularly if you have an extremely large customer base, sell products online, or simply don't have time to get to know everyone on an individual basis. So what do you do in these situations?

If you need to understand your customers better but your customer base is too large, is principally online, or time doesn't permit in-depth conversations, you can use personas to represent each of your customer groups as a whole.

Creating Customer Personas

Superhero customer persona.

A persona (or avatar as they're also referred to) is an individual character you create to represent a group. For example, if you were asked to create a superhero, you would come up with a character that exhibits some kind of super power, has a few personal qualities, and can be labeled as a superhero for identification purposes. You could then use this character to represent all superheroes when considering the entire population.

This same concept applies to your customer base. While individual customers may have a broad spectrum of personal tastes, when it comes to making buying decisions even the most diverse members of the group can share certain characteristics.

It's the characteristics that are common among all members of a customer group that draws them to the same product or service.

When you create personas to represent your various customer groups, you can identify which aspects of your products or services appeal to each group, what factors will motivate each group to make a purchase, and how best you can reach them based on their customer behavior.

This helps you identify new customers in a larger audience based on the same common criteria, and helps you "separate the wheat from the chaff" more efficiently and effectively in your targeted ad campaigns. This in turn provides better campaign results and a better Return on Advertising Spend (ROAS).

Customer Targeting & Audience Demographics

Customer targeting is the process of directing your digital ad campaigns to reach your ideal audience by selecting key demographic criteria that aligns with your customer personas. For the purpose of targeting, audience demographic criteria can include gender, age range, location, annual net income, education, interests or behaviors.

Customer persona Didi.

So if you were a lipstick manufacturer, you may create a customer persona - let's call her "Didi" - for your coral lipstick product. Didi's persona might be female, aged 60+, is retired (or never worked), is still married, is interested in golf, pickle ball and book clubs, and she is not strong on the computer but has a Facebook account to stay in touch with the grandkids.

When your lipstick company wants to run an ad for its coral lipstick, it would target Didi (and women just like her) in its digital ad campaigns. It would likely select Facebook to run the ads and would set up the ad audience to target women who are 60+ years old who are retired, married, interested in book clubs and living in Palm Springs (or other resort communities with a high concentration of golf & tennis).

Benefits of Customer Targeting

Setting your aim to hit the bullseye.

By taking time to properly identify prospective customers in this way (and focusing ad campaigns directly on them), you have a far greater chance of success in achieving your marketing objectives as your entire promotional budget is used to show your ads to the people most likely to purchase your products.

And putting your advertising budget to work through effective campaign targeting to yield better results over a shorter period of time is definitely worth the effort!

If you'd like help with customer targeting and setting up personas, contact us today and we'll send you a FREE customer targeting worksheet.

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