Back to the Basics: Who is your target market?


Like it or not, there always comes a time when you need to advertise. Be it by email, newspapers, magazines, online, billboards, whatever channels you think might reach your audience. Then you just buy the media, craft the message and design, and there it is – your ad. What’s worrisome is that ads are usually expensive, but their effectiveness could be improved with some basic planning. So, back to the basics.

Let‘s start with the target audience – the very foundation of focused communication. The most common mistake is to „target“ as many people as possible with a single message.

Whether selling electronic gadgets or used cars, marketers often mistakenly think that they will reach more prospects if they make the ad „generic“ (something for everybody). Fair enough if you have a very homogeneous target group – at least from the sales point of view. But as marketers know, no two buyers are alike.

There are a number of studies showing that untargeted or irrelevant advertisements are not only ignored, they can actually cause negative reactions. While a business can survive the former, it’s possible to do longterm damage to the brand with the latter.

So always better to choose your audiences carefully, identify any key segments, and craft your messages to suit the groups, not a wide audience.

A few points to have in mind when choosing the communication channels and crafting the message:

  • who is your audience? (demographics)
  • what are your audience like? (preferences, behaviors)
  • where does your audience spend their time? (online, on the road, etc.)
  • what is your audience emotionally connected with? (positive and negative sense)
  • what language (slang) is your audience using?
  • what are your audience’s social attitudes?
  • last but not least – it is not (not only) about demographics! Emotions and attitudes count!

The above is especially true when sending out emails. How many times have you sent a message to your whole list without taking the time to differentiate the message? Is your list THAT homogenous?

We know you’re in a hurry most days, but you’ll get higher response rates and much better ROI if you stick to the basics and „know your audience“.

Do you have any tips you’d like to share about targeting ads or segmenting lists more effectively? I’d really like to hear from you!