Your Target Audience is not an actual customer. Your target audience is a profile that you identify to help you better focus your marketing message and be more efficient with your marketing dollars. There may be a wide range of buyers your product or service could potentially appeal to. But the customer group your business will profit the most from is your target audience.
In a broad sense, your target audience consists of customers who want your product or service, who are willing and able to pay your price for it and who have the authority to purchase it. They are customers that you find attractive and that meet your company’s strategic objectives.
You develop a target audience profile by reverse engineering the most profitable of your existing customers or segments. It is easier and more accurate to profile existing customers because you know more about them.
Start by analyzing sales data and surveying existing customers about their purchase habits, product preferences, and demographic information. Look for common characteristics and interests.
Your target audience profile may include a specific demographic, such as a particular age group, gender, income level, occupation or education level. Your profile may identify a specific geographic characteristic such as a particular region, climate or city size.
Your target audience may match a certain psychographic profile, such as a particular social class, lifestyle or personality. They may also possess certain behavioral attributes, such as being a light, heavy, regular or occasional user of your product or service.
When you focus on selling to other businesses rather than to individuals you may define your target audience using characteristics such as industry, number of employees or annual sales volume. The possibilities and combinations are manifold.
If your company has a growth objective, then your profile is likely to include the customer’s ability to purchase in large volume or be part of a sufficiently large segment. If your objective is to maximize profit, you’ll profile customers that have high lifetime value.
Your profile should take the form of a small number of clear criteria about the desired characteristics of your target audience. The profile may also include attributes that the customer or segment should not have.
Developing a target audience profile allows you to focus your marketing efforts on prospects who you have determined are likely to buy your products or services – rather than wasting time and money courting the universe of prospects who merely could become customers. You can also craft your marketing message to have the greatest impact on those likely customers.
Concentrating on a target audience saves you money. Your advertising budget goes further because you only advertise in places where your target is, rather than anywhere you can find ad space. It is more cost effective to reach 100 people when 95% of them are highly likely to buy your product or service than to reach 10,000 when only 1% of them may be interested in the benefits your products or services have to offer.
It may be appropriate for you to develop unique profiles for each of your customer or market segments, or distribution channels to generate the best results from each. You may also need to develop target audience profiles for each of your products or services.
Targeting an audience does not mean that you have to turn away buyers that do not fit your criteria. It just means that you invest your marketing budget where it will give you the best return.
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