The importance of really knowing your target audience

By Chris Brencans, Guest Contributor
When it comes to business and marketing, you need to know who your target audience is. While it might seem like targeting as many people as possible is the best strategy, you may end up going after people who may not be part of your target audience, thus wasting time and resources. Even the biggest companies can’t realistically target everyone, which is why small and medium sized companies should instead define their target audience and focus their marketing efforts solely on them. That way they will be using their time and resources in the most efficacious way possible.
One of the best ways of getting to know and understand your target audience is by using behavioral segmentation. It helps you to divide your audience into smaller groups so that you can more easily analyze them to find out their buying patterns, what it is they like or don’t like about your product or service, their lifestyle, and more information that can help you to better cater to them. Once you have defined your target audience, you will be able to carve out a profitable niche full of loyal customers.

Take a Closer Look at Your Current Customer Base

Who are your current customers? Why do they use your product or service? What do they have in common? Which customers bring in the most business? Once you get the answers to these questions, you are well on your way to gaining a better understanding of your current customers. You can use that knowledge to target them more directly, which will help in customer retention. You can also use that knowledge to find more people like them who may not know about what you have to offer but would be interested in it.

Use Segmentation To Find Out More About Your Customers

As stated in the intro, segmentation is a very useful tool that helps you to get to know your audience a lot better. There are two types of segmentation, descriptive and behavioral, the differences are as follows:
Descriptive Segmentation – This is all about learning characteristics of your target audience like their demographics, age, gender, marital status, and so on.
Behavioral Segmentation – This is more about the psychographics of your target audience. That means it is more personal because you will be learning about their lifestyle, hobbies, personality, purchasing habits, personal values, and more.
Both types of segmentation allow you to learn a lot about your customers so that you are able to serve them more effectively.

Take a Closer Look At The Product or Service You Provide

You might think that you know everything about your own product or service but you need to look at it from different perspectives to get the full picture. Think about it from the customers’ point of view; ask yourself what benefits it offers them and why those benefits are good in the first place. Think about your product or service from your competition’s point of view; what do you offer that they don’t? Why would someone choose you over them? Once you examine your product or service from all angles, you will be able to create a more focused campaign that emphasizes the benefits of your services and you will know how to target those services to the right people.

Knowing Your Audience is the Key to Better Business

Once you get to know your target audience better, you will be able to serve them better. It’s as simple as that. Some might find the time it takes to gather all that information about their customers too time consuming to be worth the effort, but that knowledge pays off in the long term.
That is because you will be able to focus your time and resources on marketing strategies that reach and connect with people who you know have an interest in what you have to offer them. Instead of casting a wide net trying to catch everyone, you can instead focus your efforts on those who you know for certain will be receptive to your product or service. That is just good business.
Chris Brencans is Chief Marketing Officer of On the Map Marketing, an Inc. magazine “5000 Fastest Growing Companies.” He has launched dozens of highly-successful internet marketing campaigns for his company’s clients.